Whether it’s a result of stress, overwhelm, multi-tasking, aging, bad diet, or just plain distraction, a gap in memory is uncomfortable. In fact, uncomfortable enough that a common reaction is over reaction, calling more attention and drama to the situation than it warrants.
That’s really the last thing that we want.
In my previous blog post What to Say, When You Forgot What You Were Saying, I shared phrases to guide you through these memory gaps. The suggested responses, or your own versions of them, will take the edge off and give you a minute to think. But there’s more; there are actions you can take, too.
Think of it like this: what your mind needs in the instant you forget is a mini-reboot. Your mind needs a pause, a time-out, a chance to regroup and then continue.
Drawing unnecessary attention to the lapse, or adding drama, or trying too hard will all generate added stress, giving you the exact opposite of what your brain needs.
Simplify, rather than exacerbate the situation. Here’s what that looks like:
- Breathe: Turn your attention on your breath. Simply become aware of your breathing and take a few slow gentle breaths. I can’t explain the mechanics of it, but I promise, this simple step is a trusted tool. You’ll be amazed at the effect it has and quickly.
- Stop Trying: When we forget what we intended to say, most of us try really hard to recall it. The result? More strain, stress and effort. Our best response is the exact opposite of trying. Our best response is to momentarily let go. In the letting go, words will come. Think of it like this: The information you forgot is in there. It’s in your mind, just like data on your computer hard drive. All that’s needed is a minute for the mind to search and locate similar to what your computer does.
- Don’t Rush It: Ever try to rush things on your computer, hitting too many buttons too fast? We all know from experience, it just doesn’t work. It overloads and we are forced to wait. Treat your mind in the same way. Give it a sec, pause, let it start again.
- Trust Your Brilliance: Trust in your ability to find your place and start again. Nothing has been lost. The information/thoughts/words you had before you lost your place are still in your head. Trust they will come to you. The more you do, the faster your “reboot” time will be, getting you back in the conversation.
A combination of phrases from Part I of this post, and the above actions won’t protect you from momentary loss of memory and focus. They will, however, make those moments less embarrassing and easier to move through, getting you back on track…with a bit of grace.