Ok, so you’re a working mum, dad or other human being!
Despite all your many qualities and skills, forgetfulness intrudes into the equation more frequently than you care to admit! How can you be less forgetful?
The other week I was chatting with a young business-woman who runs her own business (es) and is raising a 2 year old. She’d made a priority booking for next-day collection of her new spectacles. She reached the end of her day and realised she’d forgotten to pick them up …
‘Why do I keep forgetting things?’ she asked me.
Well, when you are doing too much, a forgetful mind can be a classic sign of stress. This person didn’t feel she had the staff experienced enough to delegate and she’s juggling child-rearing while counting down the days until a nursery place is available for her daughter. Added to this are the constant concerns over finances, particularly when you run your own business.
The more you take on, the more inefficient it’s likely you will become. More chances for forgetfulness and mistakes are bound to occur. Frequently, humans rush round and don’t actually see what’s before their very noses. This is the basis of mindfulness – you either go about your day mindfully or mindlessly! It’s not surprising that you often find you’ve forgotten things – where you parked your car, why you went into another room, how you forgot that important anniversary…
So what can you do to improve your memory?
1. On waking, it’s essential to start the day feeling as though you are in command, relaxed and calm!
When you place your feet out of bed onto the floor, get a sense of being grounded and pause to check in to the mental chatter and physical feelings that are already starting to bombard you. By focussing on how you are in the present moment, you can slow down – not to snail-pace, but to ‘gliding like a swan’.
2. Remind yourself – you make all your choices.
So if you have taken too much on, are still not delegating, have placed demands of perfection on yourself – you might want to address some of these suggestions. Burn-out happens when you are stressed, busy and have no time to care for yourself. Stop!
3. During your day, however busy it is, forgetfulness will happen even if you’re super-organised.
But it helps to write things down with a schedule that includes enough time for breaks. Focus on one task at a time and work your way through methodically.
4. Ask for help.
Support and team-building really make work more efficient and life more enjoyable. This is a sign of good organisation, not weakness. Share the load.
Stop for a few mindful breaths between tasks – this gets you back into a present frame of mind. It’s a chance to ‘de-clutter’ your mind of all the busy-ness in there!
6. If you can:
Sit and focus on your breath for 5 or 10 minutes – you will then be meditating. Keep focussed on your breath, no other distractions. Meditation has been shown to improve memory, focus and attention.
In one study, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston showed that regular meditation causes the brain’s cerebral cortex to thicken. According to the study, thickening occurs because meditation increases the size of blood vessels and the blood flow in the region. The brain’s outer cortex is responsible for higher mental functions such as concentration, learning, and memory. See more about this here.
Another local business-woman I know has experienced this for herself. She runs her own successful business while also caring for her 12 year old daughter. Through regular trips to the gym and easing up her day’s schedule to include mindfulness, plus weekly meditation sessions, she is much happier and calmer now.
And if you think something like meditation might turn you into perfection and you’re not ready for that yet, don’t worry:
‘Meditation has made me happy, loving, and peaceful—but not every single moment of the day. I still have good times and bad, joy and sorrow. Now I can accept setbacks more easily, with less sense of disappointment and personal failure, because meditation has taught me how to cope with the profound truth that everything changes all the time.’
One last thought:
‘To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is itself to succumb to the violence of our times. Frenzy destroys our inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of our work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.’
Have I forgotten what the subject of this piece is? No! Next time you notice you’ve forgotten something, don’t be hard on yourself. Think of it as a reminder to slow down and be present!
Yvette Jane – Mindfulness & Meditation Coach
6-Week Mindfulness Courses are a great way to train your brain to focus, learn greater concentration and develop inner wisdom. Follow the link for our next dates.
If you liked this, read why multi-tasking is bad for your health