However, this loss of recall starts to really get in the way of quality living when, for instance, we can’t find the keys you were positive you left on the table by the door, or we don’t remember where we last saw the cell phone or credit card, and we have not a clue where, in the large parking lot, we left our car. We may have said to ourselves, “I can’t find it; I feel like I am losing my mind.”
No longer is this a fleeting inconvenience. Carelessly losing something we need wastes our time and takes our effort and so it does require we put some of our attention on the problem. The good news is we do have some control over feeling aged and worrying over future declines.
The concept and practice of “mindfulness”, inherited from the Buddhist tradition, is increasingly being recommended and then followed by those seeking to relieve anxiety, addictions, depression and chronic pain. But, in truth, anyone can benefit from practicing awareness.
“Watch your step”.
This was good advice probably told to us first when we were kids. Now, as we move along in the years, it behooves us to develop mindfulness (meaning: awareness) so that we stay healthy and we continue to grow. It is beneficial, in one’s day to day life, to be awake and aware of the body and its sensations, and to notice the thoughts and feelings that come up, and to watch the words we speak and the actions we take.
Although this is no easy task, staying aware, this quality of mindfulness can be nurtured and developed.
When we put our mind on the task at hand (like not loosing the keys or the cell phone, again) it requires consciously and deliberately placing the object where you know it will be when you go to look for it.
I have learned, to save myself from wandering around endlessly in a large parking lot, by saying out loud,
“I am aware that I am parking the car in the fourth row on the left side of the building”.
Practicing mindfulness also comes in handy when we are preparing a meal (“did I already add the salt?”) and certainly it is important while driving a car. At long last our society is becoming aware of the danger of talking or texting while at the wheel and laws are now being enforced to stop this reckless behavior.
We as boomers are perhaps starting to see our physical balance is not what it use to be. We trip and fall more easily, especially in icy conditions. More and more we have to put our mind on our body and watch our step, paying attention to where we are as we move through space.
Another area where mindfulness is crucial is in our personal relationships. We all have seen how a careless word or a thoughtless action can get us in big trouble. Instead, when we become mindful of how we speak to and how we behave with the important people in our lives, less friction can occur. When we notice something is bothering us, it is a good idea to learn and consciously practice our communication skills, so that we respond appropriately, rather than reacting irrationally, saying things we may later regret.
Minding the mind does take practice, but it is one more step on the path to creating a more peaceful and rewarding life.