Why Do You Sometimes Stumble?

Why Do You Sometimes Stumble?

Last update: 18 December, 2021

Think about the last time you lost your coordination and balance, your feet got tangled up, and you almost fell over. What were you doing at the time? Maybe you were going up or down some stairs or walking down the street. What’s certain is that your mind wasn’t focused on the present. In fact, the obvious answer to the question of why you sometimes stumble is that you often simply don’t pay enough attention to the situation.

It’s easy to draw a parallel between a physical stumble and a psychological one. For example, a psychological stumble might be when you’re writing a report and you type the wrong word. Or, when you burn your hand on the food you’re cooking. Or when you’re speaking and you get stuck and say a word that wasn’t the one you had in mind. However, why does this happen to you? Above all, what can you do about it?

Why do you stumble?

If you feel that you’re currently making more mistakes than usual, that you take longer to finish your chores, and the finished results aren’t as good as they should be, you might be interested to know why this is happening. Here, we’ll explain some of the most common causes.

Hurrying

As the popular proverb states, ‘more haste, less speed’. Indeed, if you walk fast you’re more likely to stumble. Furthermore, if you try to finish doing something as quickly as possible, you’ll lose your concentration and the results won’t be so good.

However, when this happens, it’s not always due to a lack of time. In fact, some of us, due to our personalities tend to always feel restless, impatient and rushed. Friedman and Rosenman classified this as Type A behavior.

These individuals need to be constantly on the move and hate waiting. In fact, they try to cover as many activities as possible in the shortest time possible. As a result, they may make more mistakes.

Wandering attention

Although it may not seem like it, most of the time you act almost as if you’re on autopilot. This means you’re not really fully aware of what you’re doing at the time. For example, when you’re working out at the gym you might be thinking about your date yesterday. Or, while you’re washing the breakfast dishes you’re thinking about what to cook for dinner tonight.

As a matter of fact, you rarely pay full attention to the activity you’re doing. You have the tendency to wander between the past and the future, maintaining a chaotic state of mind that jumps from one idea to another. This, of course, detracts from your precision and effectiveness.

Trying to multitask

Multitasking is another reason for stumbling. This isn’t necessarily because you’re in a hurry, but because you’re in need of constant stimulation. For example, you turn on the television or music while doing other tasks to avoid silence. Or, you check social media while talking to a friend.

This means you don’t really enjoy or get fully involved in any of your activities and you tend to neglect the one that really requires your attention.

How to avoid these stumbling blocks?

Have you recognized any of the previous scenarios? If so, here are some steps you can take to modify them.

Reduce stress

Stress has a major impact on cognitive functioning. Indeed, when you face sustained stress, your memory, attention span, concentration, problem-solving, and all your executive functions are affected. Therefore, it’s important to make adjustments in your daily routine, or in your attitude toward it, to reduce your levels of anxiety and stress.

Improve your rest

Your mind needs sufficient sleep of good quality if your body and emotions are to function properly. Incidences of insomnia and other sleep disorders have increased in recent years and have led to people becoming irritable, distracted, and not performing adequately in their work and personal life. Consequently, if you take care of your rest, you’ll be reducing the occurrence of these stumbles.

Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is an essential attitude that involves surrendering to the present moment. It’s not necessary to meditate on a mat or isolate yourself from the world. In fact, all you need to do is simply engage in each activity with your five senses and full attention. For example, when you’re cooking, don’t think about yesterday or tomorrow, but about the smells, colors, and sensations that you’re perceiving at this precise moment. When you play with your child, give them your full attention and forget about your cell phone and other distractions. That’ll prevent you from making mistakes and, above all, will allow you to achieve states of greater peace and fulfillment.

In conclusion, if you find yourself frequently stumbling in your day-to-day routine, this may be a sign that you need to slow down. You don’t need to be doing more things, but you must really get involved in what it is that you’re doing at all times. However, it probably won’t be easy because, unfortunately, the hectic pace of society today doesn’t tend to promote a healthy disconnection from everyday life.

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  • Rosenman, R. H., & Friedman, M. (1977). Modifying type A behavior pattern. Journal of Psychosomatic Research21(4), 323-331.
  • Sandi, C. (2012). Influencia del estrés sobre las capacidades cognitivas. Ministerio de Educación.