The big question of the day: How to overcome the absent-mindedness that creeps into our heads?
I know I am consumed by the preoccupied thoughts of relationships, finances, business, health, kids, (should I keep going?)…when I use my right blinker to make a left hand turn, then arrive at the store with the intent of paying for my groceries, and unhappily approach the register, remembering my wallet is sitting at home on the counter.
This is not proof that I need to take memory enhancers or a sign of premature aging… but they are all blunt hints of being heedless of present activities, something we are all challenged by daily. Our minds are always drifting to what will happen or to what has happened, leaving very little awareness to what is happening.
So are there on-demand tricks or behaviors that can alleviate the over-used muscle in our heads?
It is somewhat of a Catch 22, because we try to stop thinking with more thoughts… causing our burdened mind muscle to go into overdrive while trying to make sense of the tangled mess.
Successfully detaching from this madness starts by understanding the push-and-pull of our body’s relationship to itself. It is safe to think of our minds as an employee of ourselves…and as with any good employer, one must recognize that employees need time off. This doesn’t necessarily mean taking a nap or going on vacation, it means letting the other employees of our body take a shift. It means consciously engaging our minds and our senses by staying aware and observant.
Let’s take the situation above and apply this method of thought.
Before embarking on a new task, first ask yourself where you are going and what you need to do upon arrival and departure. Remove the thought of what needs to be done after this task until you are through with the task. This small action of directly engaging your mind in present activities will prepare you for its needs.
Next, as you get into the car, tuck your silenced cell phone away (with small tasks…just leave it home…less to think about), take a deep breath and remind yourself that you are the sole individual in control of a powerful vehicle that requires you to see and listen. This conscious behavior first accepts that your body is involved in a new activity and allows your senses to take charge, lessening the stress on your mind and leaving you with a feeling of relief and deliberate control.
This scenario, as uncomplicated as it is, will now be conquered successfully leaving you in a positive state of mind to tackle the next item up.
Point being, we must put ourselves 100 percent into the present circumstances to fully maximize our body’s ability to make good decisions. Fortunately, our bodies divide their responsibilities between our mind and senses, but it is up to us to recognize the situational needs for which to apply. And often it is not a matter of either/or, but an opportunity to let our bodies interact and work as a team.
I realize this is not groundbreaking advice, but it is a simple reminder to pay attention… often a buried task. Our bodies will thank us for it…not to mention the other drivers on the road and the clerk at the grocery store!