Brain Fitness Article

What Did I Go to the Kitchen For?
And Hey, Where Are My Keys?

 By Linda Schaumleffel

If you are like most people, getting older year by year, one of the things that can drive you absolutely nuts is trying to figure out what you went to the other room for?

Where did you leave the keys? Why can't you find your glasses or the remote? Where did you park the car?

It's even more discouraging when the answer everyone gives you only complicates things even more.

Well, get ready to celebrate, because I am about to reveal the secret that will solve this excruciatingly frustrating problem for you once and for all.
And...relax! It doesn't involve any weird supplements or mystic incantations!

The problem is that your focus of attention is not working for you. Take a moment to think about this: How often are you thinking forward to the things that need to be done in the future?

How many times do you catch yourself worrying about events in the past or mentally re-doing tasks already completed?

You need to have your focus of attention in the present moment to record a thought in short-term memory.

Let's say you get the idea to go to the kitchen for a cup of coffee. At that very same moment you are wondering how the mystery on TV will be solved, or figuring out how you are going to get Johnny to his soccer practice while getting dinner ready for the rest of the family, or feeling badly about how you botched your business presentation earlier in the day.

When you get to the kitchen you don't remember what you came for. You look into your short term memory and the idea of coffee did not get recorded.

Why? When you thought about coffee, your mental focus was either in the past or the future. Your focus of attention needs to be in the present moment to record that idea in memory.

Whoa! Stop! Don't even think about it!
Let's just jump to the simple secret that will save you hundreds of hours of time wasted trying to remember where you left the keys.

Just Practice Being in the Present Moment

Here's a simple way to do it. Just stop what you are doing and listen to your breath go in an out three times.

Now, say out loud what you are going to the kitchen for. Look at the surface where you are putting your keys. Find a landmark to relocate your parked car.

Your focus need to be in the present to do this.

Take three more breaths. Then answer the question: what am I going to the kitchen for, where did I put the keys, what landmark is by my parked car?

If you can answer the question, the thought was successfully recorded in your short term memory! Carry on!

When you get to the kitchen, you'll know what you came for. When you need your keys, you will pick them up straight away. When you're looking for your car, you'll find it straight away!

Now take another deep breath.

I really want you to get this: Working harder is NOT the solution to your short term memory glitches. After all, your memory got lost because your mind was working too hard!

Simply follow the steps outlined above, get in the present moment, and you will be on your way, easily doing what it takes to make sure your short term memory is working for you.

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