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... Because it's All in Your Mind!


Memory Spring Monthly

Increase Mindfulness to Improve Your Memory

Mindful woman by homethods

Staying focused in today’s high tech social media environment sometimes feels impossible. There are so many pressures to get things done, and with every email, instant message, text, social media notifications, and every other beep and buzz our smart phones make, so many distractions. Add that to the regular interactions with the people in our lives, and it’s a wonder that we can focus on anything. In essence, instead of ADD ( Attention Deficit Disorder) most of us have BSOS (Bright Shiny Object Syndrome). 
The constant lack of focus makes it a struggle to remember anything. Recent studies have revealed that mindful attention can beneficially impact motivation and episodic memory, including helping with educational and occupational performance.  
 A recent study by Michael D. Mrazek, Michael S. Franklin, Dawa Tarchin Phillips, and others showed a direct relation between mindfulness training and success on the GRE (Graduate Record Examination)  and working memory capacity. In addition, they found that mindfulness training reduced the occurrence of distracting thoughts. Their results suggest that making mindfulness a habit helps improve cognitive function, with wide-reaching consequences.
“Improvements in performance following mindfulness training were mediated by reduced mind wandering among participants who were prone to distraction ...” 
What is Mindfulness? The concept of Mindfulness is relatively simple. It can be summarized with two questions of self-reflection:
• What am I intentionally being aware of right now? 
• What are the sensations in my body, my thoughts, and my feelings right now?
When we consciously pay attention on purpose and direct our thoughts and actions to a singular thing, we are being mindful. If we get distracted by a BSO (Bright Shiny Object), the question becomes, “How long does it take for me to return my focus?”
An important concept in mindfulness is managing distractions without judgment.  Buddhism teaches mindfulness by simply observing ‘objects arising in consciousness.’ As distractions occur, they are seen for what they are--distractions. They are simply a thought and quickly released. The result is peace and a return to focus.
Mindfulness helps us in four areas of your life: 
1. Improves your physical and mental well being, including your memory
2. Reduces or slows down symptoms of a physical illness
3. Minimizes negative emotions, which are contributors to stress and memory loss
4. Increases your productivity and satisfaction in everything that we do
Here are some simple steps to help you become more mindful:
1. First and foremost, notice what you’re paying attention to. 
2. Ask yourself, “Is this the most important thing that I can be doing now?”
a. If it is, congratulate yourself.
b. If it is not, refocus what is most important right now.
3. Once you are focused on the right thing, notice how long you’re staying focused on it.
4. Become aware of anything that distracts you from your focus.
5. Repeat steps 1-5.
A Practical Application of Mindfulness
You can practice mindfulness anywhere in your daily life. Here’s an example of of how to drive your car mindfully, by Scott and Barrie, authors of 10-Minute Mindfulness.
1. When you get into your car, take a few deep breaths. 
2. Before you start to drive, pay attention to your body and any tension you might feel. 
3. Feel your hands on the steering wheel, the way your body feels on the seat, and the weight of your foot on the pedal. 
4. Don’t turn on the radio or create other distractions while in the car. 
5. Turn your phone on silent. 
6. As you begin to drive, make an extra effort to notice your surroundings. 
7. Look at the houses, the trees, the other cars with people in them. 
8. Listen to the noises of your car, the wind, honking horns, etc. without judging or reacting. 
9. Maybe try driving a bit slower or just below the speed limit, which can take away a good bit of tension.  
So remember to integrate these mindfulness steps into your life, you’ll get more done and remember more.  If you have interest in Memory Spring’s Mindfulness in the Workplace, click here. For more information on memory and brain health contact us at (530) 297-6464 or to email us, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Robert "Bud" James, MA Div, is a PAUSE Certified Counselor and Instructor for New Vistas International, a training organization dedicated to teaching all aspects of the PAUSE Model.  PAUSE is an acronym that defines five essential Resource States that chart a Path to Wholeness through deeper levels of embodiment, personal awareness, physiological balance, guidance, and fulfillment.  P in the PAUSE Model stands for P-Present, the topic of this article.  For more information, visit