Did you ever end up at work or another destination and think, ‘how did I get here this morning? I don’t even remember getting out of bed!’ We are not always attentive to what we are doing in any given moment, and our minds may drift off even as we complete tasks – we may daydream, or be distracted by unwanted and disagreeable thoughts. This is a fact of life, a normal part of human nature, and you are not the only one! We all suffer from everyday lapses of memory, absent-mindedness being the second phase in the ‘Seven Sins of Memory’ sequence, according to Dr Daniel Schacter.
Absent-mindedness has been described by some scientists as “action slips”, or, “mental lapses”, and one in every seven adults, aged 18 to 39, will experience lapses in memory. What is more, psychologists have revealed this happens a lot more than we realise, and that we may experience these lapses up to 30 times each week! Maria Jonsdottir stated it is often while carrying out daily routines requiring little thought that this happens.
How are we affected by absent-mindedness?
Although a natural occurrence of the mind, being absent-minded can still have an adverse impact on daily life. The following impacts have been identified by researchers:
- Trouble beginning and completing tasks
- Exhaustion of the body and mind
- Mental instability; being inattentive
- Continual and repeated lateness, reduced time perception
- Considerable moodiness
- Stubborn unpleasant thoughts
- Low executive function; inadequate time management and organisational skills; inability to plan
- Physically agitated and restless; impatient
- Working memory is inadequate
Absent-mindedness can result in these effects, and more, so we well may ask how we reduce absent-mindedness and become more attentive and mindful in our everyday life?
Ways of reducing absent-mindedness
Being mindful is the key to reducing absent-mindedness. These little tricks can teach you to fool your brain into mindfulness!
The beginning of the day is crucial to setting up mindfulness until you return to bed. Rather than rising as soon as you wake, relax, stretch, and take some time to reflect on how you feel and how you slept. Construct a morning mind ritual and brain work-out to keep yourself agile mentally.
When eating, focus on the act and experience of eating. Notice each taste, smell and texture, increasing enjoyment as you do. This enables you to avoid unwanted thoughts and increases your powers of concentration generally.
To hone your skills in observation and attention to detail, practice awareness of your surroundings. Pay attention to, and focus on the each piece furniture, and each area of your house when doing any housework.
Practise mindfulness when walking around. Pay attention to the pleasant feelings in your feet, legs and whole body. Don’t disengage from the world with headphones, take notice of the environment and people nearby. This increases social engagement and may improve your personal perspective on the world.
When bathing, really look at your appearance, taking note of both positive assets and imperfections. Acknowledge your own beauty, and let optimism in!
Take heed of the message a person is trying to convey, as well as the actual words spoken by a person, remembering to listen without interrupting. This will boost comprehension and presence of mind, improve attention and show the other person you consider what they are saying is worth hearing.
Meditation is a valuable and positive practice that can help you escape negativity and disagreeable thoughts. Meditation increases self-awareness and insight, and is capable of bringing happiness into your life.
By creating a state of relaxation, in body and mind, with the practices of mindfulness and meditation, you can expect some of these benefits:
- Heightened awareness
- Improved concentration and focus
- Reduced levels of anxiety
- Thinking and observation will have clarity and calmness
- Possibility of depression is lowered
- Improvements in coping with stress
- Positive outlook on life and happiness
Try one or more mindful practices today and feel the benefits!