I’m Sorry, What Was Your Name Again?

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Even Happier QuestI’m bad at names. I get introduced to someone and promptly have no clue what their name is. It’s not so much that I can’t remember it. It’s more that I never hear it to begin with. I find often that I’m so busy focusing on what the introducer is saying about the person that I’m not even really listening to the actual name. This goes with being a multitasker to the extreme.

I also tend to do other things while I’m eating. I eat lunch and snacks at my desk. Sometimes I’ve been known to eat dinner standing up in the kitchen. This could be a dangerous recipe for overeating but I always make sure to get out only what I’m supposed to eat before I start eating. Everything else is put away so once the food is gone, I’m done. Unfortunately it means that often I don’t even remember what my food tasted like.

Since you’re just as busy as I am, I’m betting that you sometimes have these issues too. If not in these exact ways, then in some similar multitasking, forgetful fashion. Am I right? Lucky for us that the October theme in the Happiness Project is Pay Attention! In order to do that you need to be mindful of what is actually happening. No more auto-pilot. Life seems to work against us in encouraging us to zone out.

We have technology at every turn. Remember the days when someone would call you and then they would get a busy signal? Or when it would just ring (before answering machines) and they would just have to try later? We didn’t have to do several things at once. One conversation at a time. Now you’re expected to have your cell phone with you every moment and answer it whenever it rings.

I think we zone out many times and go on auto-pilot because our brains can’t handle the sensory overload minute after minute. It’s come up before on the happiness quest to pay attention to the little things and live in the moment. Studies show that it leads to calmer lives and greater happiness. Meditation or just plain relaxing is a great way to bring focus back to the present. I tend to look at my To Do List and start freaking out, then I furiously start several To Dos all at once and end with a few of them half done.

This weekend I made a conscious effort to take advantage of the rain and just focus on one thing – The Kid and having fun with her. I didn’t run errands, grocery shop, pay bills, answer emails, or any of the several other things I usually do. We spent both days shopping, hanging around the house, eating out, and just talking. It was one of the best weekends I’ve had in a long time! I don’t think we had a bad attitude or fought once. (This is saying a lot with teenage attitude in full swing!)

This morning the alarm went off and I took a few minutes to just breathe and stretch a bit while still laying in bed. I flexed my feet and ankles, stretched and unstretched like a cat, and just relaxed before jumping up. It made a huge difference in the cricks and cracks but also with my mindset. I’ve got to keep doing that in the mornings for sure. All it took was 5 minutes.

Make an effort this week to cut back on the multitasking and pay attention to what is going on around you. Fall is arriving in many places. The weather is cooling off so we can open windows and breathe in the fresh air. Take a few minutes each day to decompress and just breathe. Bring your thoughts back to what you’re doing. Set an alarm or email reminder if you have to, but make sure to squeeze it in.

Have you ever tried an actual meditation class to relax? What did you think of it? I’ve never tried one but they offer them at a yoga studio near here. I might give it a try.

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