Have you had a problem with absentmindedness or forgetfulness lately? Maybe you find yourself searching through your thoughts more often than you do your sock drawer! Before we determine if you need a little mental “touch up,” ask yourself the following questions:
- Have you had a recent loss, such as the loss of a loved one (which of course includes pets)? Periods of grief affect our minds to a great extent. Our entire body is in the process of addressing the tragedy at hand when we’re grieving. Our minds have little time left for sifting through details. During the months following a great loss, it’s natural to have trouble remembering things – from where you set your cellphone to what your friend’s phone number is. Give yourself time to process the loss and relax. Everything will eventually get back to normal.
- Have you been ill? Illnesses, and the stress that goes with them, will mess with your mind and thought processes.
- Is it around the holidays? When we get busy with Thanksgiving and/or Christmas menu planning, shopping, decorating, and so on, it’s natural for some things to get away from us.
- Have you been under stress lately? Stress can make it difficult to think clearly.
- Have you been losing sleep? A lack of sleep (like stress) messes with your mind.
- Are you taking any new medications?
If any of the above situations apply to you, take heart. Normal is just around the corner. Take a deep breath and try not to add any stress to what’s already on your plate.
If these situations DO NOT apply to you, don’t hit the panic button just yet. In fact, your personal memory monster may be easier to slay! You may need to arm yourself with a mere two words: Pay Attention.
We live in a very, very, very fast-paced society. We’re often, literally, headed in two different directions at once. If we’re PHYSICALLY this active, can you imagine the extra strain on our minds, just trying to keep up? Somewhere along the way, someone placed a particular word on the mantel and gave it godlike status. The word is “Multitask” and it, honestly doesn’t deserve the fame.
When we try to multitask, we’re basically splitting our mind in half. We tell the halves, “YOU go this way and YOU go that way. Divide and conquer!”
Does that not leave us operating as halfwits?! And we wonder why we forget things or lose our train of thought. Isn’t that what halfwits do? Obviously, we have to find a way to stop multitasking, start really living in the moment, and start paying attention to everything and everyone around us. I’m possibly the world’s biggest advocate of “In the Moment Living.” Just look at the words I’ve always used in my signature on this particular blog: “Make each moment count double.” I’ve been signing off and leading my life with these words for years. My primary infatuation with the words was this: Life is too precious not to slow down and bear hug even a tiny moment. After a while, I realized that this approach is as important to our health as it is to our happiness. What’s more, it’s as vital to our brain’s MOOD as it is to its MODE.
The person who regularly multitasks is just begging for absentmindedness and forgetfulness.
Think about this scenario: If I’m in the kitchen, baking my world-famous (well, they’re famous in my house anyway) buttermilk biscuits, which of the following will yield the tastiest biscuits:
- I stay in the kitchen, ever-mindful of the timer. I check on the biscuits a few minutes before the timer goes off.
- I try to squeeze everything I can out of the time by putting in a load of laundry, checking the mail, and feeding my cats.
Obviously, number 1 will lead to buttermilk biscuits that beg to be eaten. Number 2 would lead to buttermilk biscuits that beg to be thrown out to the birds.
If you are, honestly, so busy and covered up with work that you feel multitasking is the only way you’ll get everything done – reexamine your approach, your schedule, and the things you think are so necessary. If you take an honest look at how you spend your time, you’ll realize that there are a lot of things you could cut out.
Don’t look now, but a new year is upon us. Make a vow to start really and truly living in the moment and giving each task at hand your undivided attention – whether it’s reading the newspaper or brushing your teeth. I think you’ll be amazed at how fast your absentmindedness clears up.
Make each moment count double,