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Playing The Attentive Card. Monday December 16, 2013

Here's the fourteenth in the series of excellent blogs by Lex covering the adjectives on the 20 Moodscope cards. Please don't forget we'd love you to add any ideas, tips, insights or advice you may have that you'd like to share with other Moodscope members that might be of help. Many thanks. Caroline.

Today it's the turn of the "Attentive" card. Moodscope defines this as: "paying close attention".

If I had a Fairy Godmother (and perhaps I do), her most often said words to me would be, "Dearest, where is your attention?" This is because she knows about the magic of attention. I remember her saying to me over and over again as a child, "Whatever gets your attention, gets you!"

It took me a long time to understand this, but it's true. Wherever my attention would go would consume my thoughts. My thoughts would grow around my attention as if the attention was the seed.

This is most obviously so when suffering a minor cold. I found that if I shifted my attention to a comedy film, I would forget all about the runny nose for 90 minutes. When it was over, my attention would shift back to my symptoms and I would suffer as only a man can suffer!

This is meant to be a positive card for Moodscope. It's about being switched 'in' to the World, not switched 'off' like you can be when depressed. But I think it's a three-way switch: 0 = Attention Off; 1 = Attention on the Positive; 2 = Attention on the Negative.

To switch my attention strongly, I use a click of my fingers. A left click (sounds like a mouse) wakes me up to the fact that I've been drifting into negative attention. I then do a right click to command myself to find something positive to attend to. One of the joys of being human is that you can only 'attend' to one thing at a time. So this works for me.

Now, when my Fairy Godmother asks me where my attention is, I say boldly with a click: "On the positive!"

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our Blogspot:

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Alison Smith Mon, Dec 16th 2013 @ 9:23am

I find this a really difficult card to score. When I'm depressed it's simple, it gets a 0 as I couldn't care a less what is happening in the world or concentrate on anything. When I'm feeling better my attention is good, I'm engaged with my surroundings and able to concentrate. Lots of my attention goes to worthwhile things. But what if some of those thoughts are negative. Should it still get quite a high score, as surely that's better than when I can't be bothered to think at all? I hope that makes sense. Thanks, Ali

The Entertrainer Mon, Dec 16th 2013 @ 10:14am

Makes sense to me, Alison. That's why I like the three-way switch. When I catch my attention wandering into the wallow of yucky stuff, I look elsewhere. I do keep a collection of triggers too: images, sounds, memories that please me - and sometimes I will turn to this Psychological Scrapbook to access happy attention.
Of course, I'm obsessed by music, so that is always a part of my strategy - playlists for states of mind, I find, works.

Charlie Mon, Dec 16th 2013 @ 10:35am

Attention can become obsession, so rather than inclusive and positive can be exclusive and negative if one is not aware of one's state of mind.

Julia Mon, Dec 16th 2013 @ 12:03pm

If I score high on this card it usually means I am too wired up and anxious. I will jump if someone wants to command my attention. I know when I am relaxed (certainly not now with all the Christmas hype) it can take me a while to respond. "Laid back" perhaps could be a card (as an antidote to "attentive" I mean) but this would definitely bring my score down and it probably doesn't fit into the criteria used by the professionals. Actually we could all think of alternative card titles!

Anonymous Mon, Dec 16th 2013 @ 2:45pm

All interesting. I tend to look at this one as my ability to concentration and so to not procrastinate on the daily things that must get done but slide due to obsessing on the negative or just not being able to move!

Elizabeth Mon, Dec 16th 2013 @ 3:30pm

For me too attentive means my ability to concentrate (on learning or whatever I want to be concentrated on). Since I study physics, this is really crucial to me to be able to concentrate, and as someone said, depression pretty much destroys the ability to think about anything, but even if you can think, negative thoughts will destroy your concentration. For me, being attentive has a lot to do with proper sleep, and the number two factor is using caffeine wisely (it helps a lot, but just short term - addiction destroys concentration). I cannot really influence the depressive cycles, but switching attention definitely helps.

Samara Burnes Mon, Dec 16th 2013 @ 3:35pm

Really great post and exactly what I needed right now. Thanks for all the great posts and all the good you are doing for me and those like me!

Anonymous Mon, Dec 16th 2013 @ 3:56pm

Prior to the 'official' Moodscope card descriptors, I always associated the Attentive card with the ability to focus on the needs of others. This puts a slightly different spin on 'Attentive' but makes the card easier for me to score and helps to reduce negative associations. Generally speaking, if my mood is reasonable, I am more likely to pay attention to the needs of others; this then has its own positive knock-on effects.

The Entertrainer Mon, Dec 16th 2013 @ 6:16pm

Dear Samara
Encouragement works best as a two-way street... so, thank you for your encouragement.

Daren Tue, Dec 17th 2013 @ 12:03am

The "alert" card is one that I've struggled with playing... However, I very much like the 3-way switch. My active mind is typically 'on'; but, what I'm alert to is the more important matter, isn't it?

The Entertrainer Tue, Dec 17th 2013 @ 9:43am

Whatever gets your attention gets you! So let something good get your attention. I like this bit of wisdom: whatever is true, whatever is pure, whatever is noble, whatever is praiseworthy... think about such things. That's a paraphrase but I wish I'd thought of it... it just works. Have a lovely day.

Anonymous Wed, Dec 18th 2013 @ 6:37pm

picking up on your reference to having a cold, which I have just had, I scored my lowest score today. there is something very anxiety-provoking/depressing about being off work when you are sick, perhaps due to the multitude of 'unknowns'. Under the umbrella of wanting to be a 'good' employee, you try to keep in communication with your employers about when you will be fit enough to come back; whilst in the back of your mind, you know that others will be inconvenienced, to say the least, taking on your work and that you might get your prognosis for yourself wrong, inconveniencing your employers still further. On the other hand, if you do misjudge when you are better, and go back to work too early, you may, especially in my case, risk something as nasty as pneumonia, which condition would not be in your employers or your own interests. What I am trying to say, in fact, is that I would welcome any tips as to how to survive periods of physical illness, particularly when you are employed, as well as any psychological difficulties.

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