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The ability to sustain attention over time is not just a central foundation for other cognitive functions but also is important in emotional control. Here I outline some of the underlying processes in sustaining attention, and the particularly strong role that the locus coeruleus/noradrenaline systems, and right hemisphere fronto-parietal networks, play in this. I further outline the role of these systems in self-awareness/self monitoring and end by showing how it is possible to improve the performance of these systems through behavioural methods as well as by brain stimulation.