Sunday, September 5, 2010



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Most employees experience discomfort in their personal lives in the form of relationship problems, financial difficulties, and life stress. Unfortunately, many bring those problems to work.

Employment related problems cost industry millions of dollars each year in time off, sick benefits, loss of employees, and loss of production. Substance abuse occurs over all segments of workers in an effort to self-medicate unwanted feelings such as guilt, anger, and nervousness. Less obvious and more “minor” problems such as loss of focus, difficulty with coworkers and supervisors, inhibited creativity, and procrastination stem from the tendency to take differences of opinion personally as angry acts and criticism rather than as points of view, and are usually not addressed until they become serious and sometimes debilitating conditions.

It is the decrease of awareness that automatically converts attention into negative anticipation, dwelling in the past, and concern for what others may think. These are the negative thoughts that stimulate troublesome behaviors.

The concept of Attention Training© is simple. If awareness of the present is not allowed to diminish, then attention cannot be converted into the negative thoughts which trigger personal discomfort, less effectiveness at work, and corporate loss.

Taught in large groups, Attention Training is easily understood by employees and administration. Without the need for background information, Attention Training is administered quickly, and, as a result, is cost effective. This breathtakingly logical technique, first offers employees a reasonable and believable source for the origin of their discomfort and an uncomplicated method to increase their focus that is pleasurable and therefore, easily learned.

The result of Attention Training is an immediate and noticeable benefit to the employee in the form of increased self-confidence, better concentration, attention, and memory, clearer thinking and problem-solving ability with more tactful expression, better and more intelligent problem-solving, less personal problems at home, less of a tendency to take differences personally as criticism but to see them as points of view and, most importantly, less procrastination and greater productivity.

Thursday, September 2, 2010



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Basically, Attention Training is a biological technique that employs the Pleasure Principle to produce desired results. The Pleasure Principle is a fact that states if you place any organism, even an amoeba, in a condition of pleasure and pain, and give the organism enough changes to learn the position of each, the organism will always gravitate toward pleasure and avoid discomfort.

This is the case with Attention Training. Through the Four Points and Taking Back Small Times, the body is given chances to learn the positions of pleasure and discomfort. With repetition, the body gravitates toward pleasure and avoids discomfort.

Different from what I believed when writing The Habit of Living, a new habit of awareness is not built through Attention Training. Instead, the automatic awareness that we are born with is “jump started” and continues to operate for life. The negative thoughts that the “Bad Habit” uses to distract the individual from spontaneous expression in the present lose the ability to distract since the individual views negative, out of present thoughts, as foolish and cannot respond to them as valid.

To view the problem of decreased awareness and negative thoughts differently, we may say that a person with the “Bad Habit” has too much attention “inside their head” and this attention is continuously being converted into negative thoughts outside the present that are used to justify the discomfort that decreased awareness produces.

When an individual consciously and deliberately uses one of the Four Points, some attention that was used to fabricate justification for the discomfort of decreased awareness is placed back in the present, where it should be. As a result, although the individual may not experience pleasure, he or she will feel some degree of relief. It is this experience of relief that will encourage the body to repeat the Four Points and with repetition, pleasure, defined as likeable stimulation to the senses, is experienced.

As a biological procedure, background information and individual differences are irrelevant. Attention Training is an educational system that may to taught in large groups or may be learned by reading printed material and through practice. What is necessary for an individual to benefit from the procedure is the desire to gain happiness, dedication to the system, and practice till completion.

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Please check out our new and improved website

The Attention Training Institute with the help of New Jersey Computer Doctors is proud to announce the new and improved website for Dr. Ernest Mastria.  Please visit us online at: The Attention Training Institute ~ Belmar, NJ 07719

Reflexive Attention Diversion and a Method of Attention Training

By Dr. Ernest Mastria

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The past two decades have seen an increasing acceptance of mindfulness as a core psychotherapy process and an increasing emphasis on attention regulation. The model presented here assumes that the development of an habitual flight response involving both intentional and automatic attentional processes is the core cause for the development of psychological problems. This dysfunctional habit consists of a reflex-like decrease in, and withdrawal of, attention from the here and now. The attention training program described here is aimed at building a new habit that restores individuals’ natural tendency to maintain sensory contact with their environment in the here and now. The first phase, The Four Points, focuses on object attention and conscious thoughts. Clients are taught to consciously monitor what they attend to and to increase their awareness of all sensory inputs in the here and now. The second phase, Taking Back Small Times, deals with receptive attention and orienting thoughts. Clients are asked to focus attention on everyday behaviors that are normally engaged in automatically and with little awareness. They are also asked to expand their attentional field by becoming aware of peripheral stimuli without losing their attentional focus. Attention training can be taught individually or in groups.

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