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How ‘scatterfocus’ can improve focus and attention span





You have read two sentences of this article without getting distracted.

And now three. And now four. And now five. And now, according to a study in The Journal of Science and Healing, your mind is ready to find something pleasurable, threatening, and novel to focus on right about now.

It’s not your fault. Nor mine, apparently.

Our brains just crave pleasure, threatening, and novel things, and we go where our brains go. So, drool drips down our chin as the YouTube autoplay keeps auto-playing, and our eyeballs develop a thin, invisible plaque over them as we endlessly click on Instagram hashtags without blinking.

So, what do we do about it?

Well, you are 12 sentences in right now and you’re still here. That means you’re committed. That means you know that attention is the battleground of the moment. And it means you want to win.

Enter my friend, Chris Bailey, who just wrote a great book to help us help ourselves. It’s called Hyperfocus: How to be More Productive in a World of Distraction, and, according to Chris, there are three ways to increase focus and improve attention span:

1. Simplify your physical environment

Look around you right now and what do you see?

Researchers found when working in front of a computer, participants only worked on one task for an average of 40 seconds before switching to another task. And if you used instant messaging apps such as Slack, it dropped to 35 seconds.

In his book, Chris argues you can increase your attention span by simplifying your physical environment. Shackle your cellphone to a loved one. Take a one-day vacation from email. Clean your desk. Dump the comic strips and candy jars and get simple. Less distractions means greater attention spans.

And if you’re feeling really brave, you could even take an Untouchable Day once or twice a week like I do. Go on Airplane Mode all day. Turn your cellphone off. Insert yourself into a bulletproof car, free from all devices. Nothing gets in. Nothing gets out. Meetings, texts, and alerts bounce off the windshield. Less access to outside, more work done inside.

2. Improve focus by unfocusing

What? Really. Remember J.R.R. Tolkien: Not all those who wander are lost.

The same can be said about your attention. Let your attention wander. Let it run off and run wild into the depths of your mind.

Chris calls this “scatterfocus.” When we let our mind wander, when we truly allow it to be free, and it can lead us to some incredibly productive places. Research suggests that engaging in effortless, habitual tasks leads to a greater number of creative insights.

Our best ideas rarely come when we’re sitting at our desks or in a stuffy boardroom that smells like printer toner with someone at the front encouraging us to do “a brainstorm.” No, ideas come when we’re walking in nature, daydreaming in the shower, and doing what we love.

Chris argues that scatterfocusing has three main benefits: replenishes mental energy, helps identify and accomplish goals, and provides you with space to dream up your most brilliant and rare ideas.

3. Quality is as important as quantity

We always talk about how long our attention spans are. That’s quantity. But what about quality? According to research Chris cites from journal Consciousness and Cognition, the more control we have over our attention, the more we remember, the more we feel in control of our lives, and the more we accept ourselves.

Sounds peachy! But how? Three steps:

1. Tame problem distractions up front. Chris suggests downloading “distraction blocks” such as Freedom or Cold Turkey. I personally switch my phone to Airplane Mode while I work.

2. Create an hourly “awareness timer” to remind yourself to check what you’re doing and get back on track. I use the free Momentum dashboard for this. Whenever I open a new browser tab, it clicks back to my daily goal.

3. Set intentions more often. You need to have clear goals in order to know where you want your attention to go. I use my journal 2 Minute Mornings for this exact purpose. Every morning, I spend two minutes writing down something I’m going to let go of, a few things I’m grateful for, and importantly, what my focus will be for the day.

So, does it sound easy? We all know it’s not. This is a war, and in many ways, it’s just beginning. Everyone’s trying to squeeze every last dime from your wallet and they will employ whatever singing potato chip cans and detergent bottles to pop up at you from every single app, tool, site, podcast, or piece of content you love just to get it.

The content is a sugar coating on the little nail they’re trying to fire in your head.

So, beware of the game. Put on a helmet. And I’ll see you in the trenches.

Neil Pasricha is the bestselling author of The Book of Awesome and The Happiness Equation. His new podcast 3 Books is a Top 100 Ranked iTunes Podcast where each chapter uncovers and discusses the three most formative books of inspiring individuals. Check it out at


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Post-vaccine surge? Michigan’s spring coronavirus case spike close to previous year’s autumn high




(Natural News) The spike in new Wuhan coronavirus infections recorded in Michigan over the spring is similar to a spike seen during the 2020 fall season. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, the state’s daily coronavirus case count averaged more than 7,000 for almost two weeks – before taking a slight dip to 6,891 on April 20. This echoed similar figures back in November and December 2020, which saw sharp rises in infections for those two months before plunging.

Back in autumn of last year, Michigan averaged more than 7,000 cases per day for a span of 10 days. New infections dropped slightly, then briefly spiked as the December holidays approached. It then fell to the low 1,000s for the succeeding two months – until ascending again in March.

According to University of Michigan internal medicine professor Dr. Vikas Parekh, the sudden increase in new infections could be attributed to several factors. Among the factors he cited was re-openings, which increased people’s interactions and mobility. Parekh said the loosened restrictions contributed to the spread of the highly contagious U.K. B117 variant.

“As the B117 variant spreads nationally, we will likely see other stats [with] their own surges – although I hope none are as bad as Michigan,” the professor remarked. He continued: “The milestone just tells us we are not yet in the clear, especially as we still have large portions of our population who are not vaccinated yet.”

Parekh also expressed optimism over the lower daily caseloads the Great Lakes State reported. He said he believes both cases and hospitalizations have plateaued and will likely decline soon. The professor commented: “[COVID-19] positivity has been declining now for one week, which is usually a leading indicator of case decline.”

Meanwhile, the state cited younger populations and youth sports, such as basketball, wrestling and hockey, to increase new COVID-19 infections. Because of this, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called to suspend youth sports and indoor dining in the state. She also exhorted high schools to conduct remote class sessions for two weeks to curb the spread of the pathogen.

Michigan still experienced the spike in cases despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the country

During the opening stages of the U.S.’s immunization drive against COVID-19, Michigan boasted of having one of the highest vaccination rates nationwide. A report by Bridge Michigan even noted the initial “frenzy for vaccines” that “far exceeded the state’s limited supply.” But things have appeared to turn around for Michigan, as it now struggles to reach the 70 percent vaccination rate needed for herd immunity.

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Scottish mom’s legs turn into a pair of “giant blisters” after first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine




(Natural News) Sarah Beuckmann of Glasgow, Scotland, felt a tingling sensation in her legs and noticed a rash flaring up around her ankles a week after getting her first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine on March 18.

She also had flu-like symptoms right after the vaccination.

Beuckmann called her doctor to arrange an appointment the morning she noticed the rash, but by the afternoon her skin was already breaking out into blood-filled blisters. Blisters also appeared on her legs, hands, face, arms and bottom.

“I ended up asking my husband to take me to A&E,” said Beuckmann, referring to “accident and emergency,” the equivalent of an emergency room (ER). “When I got there, my heart rate was sitting at 160bpm, which they were very concerned about. I got put on an ECG machine.”

Doctors determine AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine triggers the rash

Medics carried out tests for HIV, herpes and other skin conditions to work out what triggered the rash, but all results came back negative. Doctors finally determined that the vaccine caused her rare reaction after carrying out two biopsies.

“Once they found that it was a reaction to the vaccine, they put me on steroids and that really seems to be helping my progress,” said Beuckmann. She had been advised by her doctor not to get the second dose of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine because of her reaction.

Beuckmann spent 16 days at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. She was discharged to recover at home. The 34-year-old mother of one is currently wheelchair-bound due to the bandages on her legs and blisters on the soles of her feet. She may need physiotherapy to help strengthen her leg muscles.

“They are starting to heal and they’re looking a lot better than they were but as the blisters started to get worse, they all sort of merged together,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

With the blisters merging, her legs have looked like a pair of “giant blisters.” Beuckmann admitted that at one point she feared her legs might have to be amputated.

Dermatologist agrees COVID-19 vaccine causes the blisters

Dr. Emma Wedgeworth, a consultant dermatologist and spokeswoman at the British Skin Foundation, agreed that Beuckmann had likely suffered a reaction to the vaccine.

“Vaccines are designed to activate the immune system. Occasionally people will have quite dramatic activation of their immune systems which, as happened in this case, can manifest in their skin” Wedgeworth told MailOnline. “This poor lady had a very severe reaction, which thankfully is extremely rare.”

It is not clear why Beuckmann, who works in retail, was invited for a vaccine. Scotland’s vaccine rollout was focused on people over the age of 50 when she got vaccinated, although vaccines are available to those who are considered at risk from the virus, or live with someone considered vulnerable.

At least 20 million Briton have had AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which drug regulators say causes a rash in one percent of cases. They say rashes caused by the jab tend to go away within a week.

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Trojan labs? Chinese biotech company offers to build COVID testing labs in six states




In 2012, BGI acquired Complete Genomics, a DNA sequencing company and equipment maker. The funds for the $117.6 million purchase were raised from Chinese venture capitals. The company has expanded its footprint globally. According to its website, BGI conducts business in more than 100 countries and areas and has 11 offices and labs in the U.S.

People are concerned about China’s access to American DNA data

Some said that with Complete Genomics providing an American base, BGI would have access to more DNA samples from Americans, helping it compile a huge database of genetic information. Some also worried about the protection of the genetic information’s privacy.

According to a 2019 report from the U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), BGI “has formed numerous partnerships with U.S. healthcare providers and research organizations to provide large-scale genetic sequencing to support medical research efforts,”

There are three main reasons why many people in the biotech community and government have expressed concerns about China’s access to American DNA data.

In the “60 Minutes” interview, Evanina discussed the very likely scenario in which Chinese companies would be able to micro-target American individuals and offer customized preventative solutions based on their DNA.

Evanina asked: “Do we want to have another nation systematically eliminate our healthcare services? Are we okay with that as a nation?”

The second concern is that China may use DNA to track and attack American individuals. As the USCC report states: “China could target vulnerabilities in specific individuals brought to light by genomic data or health records. Individuals targeted in such attacks would likely be strategically identified persons, such as diplomats, politicians, high-ranking federal officials or military leadership.”

The third concern is that China may devise bioweapons to target non-Asians. Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, discussed it in his article “What Will China Do With Your DNA?” published by The Epoch Times in March 2019.

He wrote: “We know that the Asian genome is genetically distinct from the Caucasian and African in many ways. … Would it be possible to bioengineer a very virulent version of, say, smallpox, that was easily transmitted, fatal to other races, but to which the Chinese enjoyed a natural immunity? … Given our present ability to manipulate genomes, if such a bio-weapon can be imagined, it can probably – given enough time and resources – be realized.”

An article from Technocracy said: “China’s aggressive collection of American DNA should be doubly alarming because it can only spell one ultimate outcome: biowarfare. That is, genetically engineering viruses or other diseases that will be selectively harmful to U.S. populations.”

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