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Mental health conversations - The joy of staying in your lane

2021-08-13  Justine /Oaes

Mental health conversations - The joy of staying in your lane

If there is one thing we could learn from our Olympic silver medallist Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi’s outstanding performance, is the ability to remain focused.

As we have all witnessed, the race was tough; not only was it their first Olympics but they had to compete in an event that was not in their comfort zone, and their competitors were world-renowned and experienced athletes. One can only imagine the anxiety, uncertainty and confidence levels of these young athletes at the time.

Nevertheless, our Namibian athletes didn’t lose focus even though many of us may have lost faith in the race, especially at the start and the middle of the race when both girls were behind, despite having to witness their greatness on previous occasions. The beauty of focusing on one’s lane is that you rarely have time to be distracted and that’s what Christine showed us in the end when she earned the silver medal.

Inspiration is good, so is competition because it encourages us to dream and to believe in our abilities as we strive for the better. However, while these are all good, it’s important to find our individual purposes and set our goals and focus on them.

Often times as people, we tend to distract ourselves by being preoccupied with the progress others are making. In the meanwhile, we are discrediting our efforts and depriving ourselves of growth because our time is invested in others.

How to enhance our mental concentration in order to help us accomplish our goals:

-Judge your mental focus – for e.g. are you a habitual daydreamer or someone who can easily stay alert? Are you prone to distractions instead of setting goals and dividing them into smaller tasks? Do you lose track of your progress as opposed to taking short breaks and then returning to achieving tasks?

-Remove distractions – this includes both external for e.g. social media and internal distractions, such as pondering on unpleasant thoughts.

-Limit your focus – though multitasking is applauded, focusing on a single goal produces better results as attention is limited to that specific goal.

-Be in the moment – it’s challenging when we are constantly thinking but mental exercises, such as meditation, is helpful.

-Have a grateful attitude – when we are thankful for what we have, our attention is less on others and our inadequacies.

-Practice – building mental concentration doesn’t happen overnight but when you do, you’re able to achieve more and focus on the things in life that bring you joy, success and satisfaction.

Even though the journey to focus on a specific goal may feel time consuming or unending, the rewards are worthwhile.

It’s not how we start, but how we finish the race that makes the difference.

Justine /Oaes

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2021-08-13  Justine /Oaes

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