If you’ve gotten down here, you know that being zoned out isn’t the most pleasant feeling in the world.
And you’re reading to do something about it.
The question remains:
What do you do when the task in front of you is removed from your recent memory?
Because that is what feeling zoned out is–a removal of yourself and your task from your recent memory.
You’re going to see this world all over the Internet. It’s a bit of a buzzword these days.
But there’s a reason that mindfulness has been practiced for thousands of years.
Becoming more mindful is all about noticing. It’s about being aware of your surroundings. It’s also about being more accepting, of yourself and of what is happening to you.
I’ll tell you what.
My life changed forever when I started to read about mindfulness and meditation. And it changed even more when I started to practice it.
Start very small.
Download a free meditation app. I prefer Insight Timer
, although Headspace is the app that got me to start a meditation habit years ago. Both are good options.
Schedule 1 to 5 minutes in your day to develop this new habit.
Studies have shown that even a few minutes of meditation a day can rewire your brain in positive ways.
If you’re struggling to get this new habit going, stack it on top of another habit.
Habit stacking is when you take something you already do, and then you tether a new habit to it.
For instance, this is probably TMI, but I learned about neck stretches that really help my flexibility and ease my tension. I’ve been doing them while I wash my hair in the shower. I know I’m going to wash my hair, and now I know I’m also going to do this.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up Over It
This is not really a tactic per se, but it kind of is.
If you catch yourself zoning out, do NOT beat yourself up over it.
This will only associate the experience with negative feelings. And negative feelings drain you of your time and energy.
I started with mindfulness because being mindful helps you accept what is and not judge it. It’s about controlling your response to what happens to you.
You don’t have to get mad at yourself for zoning out.
Instead, practice smiling the next time it happens. Practice using a goofy phrase such as “You zoned-out zooper, you’re so good at that, buddy boy!”
It’s hard to feel bad when you’re using silly words and phrases to talk to yourself.
Repetition is the Key
The final key in this formula is repetition.
Just like a child must receive hundreds of consistent responses before he or she learns good behaviors and habits, you too must practice new skills before they become ingrained in your life.
Each time you catch yourself zoning out, practice your new skills, whether that’s meditation, saying a phrase to yourself, or simply taking a moment to pause and collect your thoughts.
Do this over and over.
What gets repeated gets reinforced.
As they say in psychology and neuroscience, “neurons that fire together wire together.”
When to Seek Help
But we must return to one very important thing: the matter of “dissociation.”
If you feel like you are losing very long periods of time, such as 15 minutes or more, then something else might be going on, especially if you are leaving your body due to horrible events in the past or present.
This might be a trauma response, and you should seek help for it.