Lost and found

7 Steps To Find Lost Objects After Panic Sets In

Imagine this:  you’re preparing for a trip and 15 minutes before you leave the house you check for your passport.  You search through your luggage:  nothing.  You check in the normal spot in your bedroom dresser drawer:  not there.  Beads of sweat appear on your forehead.  Your mind races and your body isn’t far behind.  You ransack the house and you can’t find the passport.  You’re on the verge of hyperventilating, you’re covered in sweat, and you’re shaking with anxiety.  What now?!?

Variations of this scenario happen every day.  The lost object might be:

  • a wallet
  • purse
  • jewelry
  • your checkbook
  • your driver’s license
  • or the report your boss wants on Monday morning.

It could be anything.  We all misplace objects.  There are plenty of ways to try to prevent these losses, but they happen.  So what do you do when you’re under the gun and you need to find something, STAT?

Here are seven steps you can follow – in order – to find a lost object when your mind is racing like a sprinting hamster in an exercise wheel:

1.       Take several slow, deep breaths

This is a common tip to help relax a person that you read everywhere.  You know why?  It works!  The flow of oxygen into your body during deep breathing helps calm you down and dial down the “fight or flight” instinct that occurs under states of extreme emotion.  As Seth Godin might say, this can calm down the “lizard brain”.

2.       Blank out your mind

Slow down those racing thoughts by giving them nowhere to run.  If you can clear your mind, you can calm down to focus on the job at hand.  There are lots of different techniques for meditating or otherwise clearing the mind.  Here’s a quick way to try to quiet things down when you are under pressure to perform:

Imagine whiteness.

Literally imagine the world dissolving away into white light.  Or try imagining a piece of perfectly white paper that’s blank and devoid of any markings.  Just white.

The purpose of this technique is to literally make your mind forget the rest of the world, even if only for a moment.  This tricks your racing mind into forgetting your problem, even if only for a split second, giving you time to get your mind under control.

3.       Was it really your object or did it belong to someone else?

Are you really sure that the lost object belonged to you and it had a place in your home or office?  Some things are pretty obviously your own property, like your car keys, driver’s license, wallet, and so on.  But what if you are looking for a missing book?  Did you really borrow it from someone else?  Or did you have it at all?  Just make sure that you’re not panicking needlessly about someone else’s problem.

4.       Did you lend the lost object to someone else?

One possible reason that you can’t find the lost object is that you lent it to someone.  Stop and think carefully about this.  Was the item given away to anyone for any reason?  Are there other people who might want or need the item?  Is it possible that you lent it to them? If so, then you know where to look (and, more importantly, where not to look).

5.       Look slowly and carefully where the object should be

How many times have you smacked your forehead after a crisis after finding an object in its normal location after not seeing it there before?  That’s one of the dangers of panic:  the temporary suspension of certain mental functions.  The “fight or flight” instinct controlled by the “lizard brain” is very powerful for evading predators (or incapacitating them, for that matter) but it has a powerful ability to blind you by impairing higher brain functions that human beings have developed over the ages.  If you force yourself to slow down and work methodically, you can get control back from the “lizard”.

6.       Look slowly and carefully where the object probably shouldn’t be, but could be

Once you’ve exhausted the normal places where the object should be, try moving on to less likely locations.  Maybe you left the object near a door, in the kitchen, in the bathroom, etc. when you were interrupted in doing something else.  In other words, check in high traffic areas or near areas where the object should be.

7.       Figure out who else was near the areas where the object should be

We’re not suggesting that you start accusing people of stealing.  We’re trying to figure out who else might have taken the object.  Did any friends, colleagues, or family members have access to the item?  Could they have picked it up (presumably by accident)?  Try asking them if they remember seeing it.  Young kids, in particular, tend to pick things up and put them in unlikely places.  Husbands sometimes do this too…  It’s worth checking this out.  Just be sensible and respectful when you ask about these things:  you don’t want to offend anyone, you just want to find the lost object.

It’s still possible that your object may be missing after all of this but hopefully the process has managed to calm you down and make your search more fruitful.  Obviously, if the object hasn’t been found yet, it’s truly lost, damaged, or stolen, so your search will have to take a different tack.  However, if it’s just misplaced nearby, as things often are, this is your best chance of finding them.

Do you have any tips for finding lost objects that might be useful to our readers?  Please share them in the comments!

Mark Dykeman is an IT professional with several
years of blogging experience.  He writes the award-winning
blog Broadcasting Brain and recently started
Thoughtwrestling with some friends to help you wrestle
ideas to the ground, overpower problems, and become the champion of your great ideas.


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

54 Responses to 7 Steps To Find Lost Objects After Panic Sets In

  1. Pingback: Dear St. Anthony, please come around ~ Official Lost & Found Day

  2. Krishna says:

    Nice one

  3. Harish Joshi says:

    Great article. I think it really helps.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I lost a penicillin… good for me still haven’t found it but this article is so relatable

  5. Anonymous says:


  6. Gwynita says:

    Can a person be hypnotized to remember where something was hidden? I hid a small fabric bag of my good jewelry before we left town for a vacation and have not been able to find it!! Tried to think of the common places a burgler would look and NOT use those. Help!

  7. Chloe Tedesco says:

    This really helps

  8. Grace says:

    I lost my math workbook for school, I just found this I hope it works. My teacher gave me a new one but she said, “Technically you have to pay for it, so just look one more time.” Then she made
    Me look all around the school looking for it. I REALLY HOPE THIS WORKS!!

  9. Unknowen says:

    Well i am in great tense ( help ) well lets see if it works as i have already seaeched the while house for my pencil case lol

  10. Anonymous says:

    I could not find a book for 2 days i found this hope for it to work! :]

    Ye 2 days is along time

  11. Kaitlin says:

    Everyone’s looking for a pencil or a pencil case, but I lost a paper we get graded on, and if you don’t have it, you get an F… I don’t know how long ago I lost it cause I dont check my science binder often… It probably could be anywhere by now… I really hope this works. PLEASE help.

  12. TheBoiOfLife says:

    i can find my book anywhere. im so screwed.

  13. NingerHyper says:

    I lost my AP and Chemistry Books and i think someone stole them

  14. N says:

    I lost a gold bracelet with diamonds on it why are you guys crying about a pencil

  15. SHE-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named says:

    I dunno, I’m jinxed for life… LOST MATH NOTES… Test is SOON!!! I lost my goggles, I bought new ones- and found old ones.

    God is too cruel to me 🙁

  16. Leanna says:

    SHE-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named I totally feel you >:(

  17. Leanna says:


  18. sigh. says:

    I have my music book missing, and after looking at multiple websites I could not find it through the steps. This one seems to be helping me. I hope i can get my music book on time! I hope this one will help me.

  19. Nanu says:

    I could not find my notebook please tell me where to find. I no that I had lent it somebody else but I don’t know who was that. Please help me I am getting devasted.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I have lost my buk since last 2 days but I’m unable to find the book pls help

  21. Anonymous says:

    I lost my music book and i still have not found it and now i cannot sleep because i am so stressed about it.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I’ve lost my purse

  23. TheHumanWorldIsCruel-DishonestPeopleSuck says:

    I’ve lost two things this past month and now I have developed trust issues withe everyone because those 2 things were lost in school. So someone there’s not talking and I’m panicking to the extreme.

  24. Anum Faisal says:

    Ive lost my friends book. I got it from her today. She gave it to me to borrow it. The last time I saw it was in my school in my desk. Im soo panicking. I lost my best friend’s book!!!

  25. maisy says:

    I’ve lost ten quid. in a school, nobody’s going to return it even if they do find it. i need it for bus money, i live 15 miles away. i hate everything right now

  26. Anonymous says:

    lost my green notebook, helped me find it, it was in the fridge 😉

  27. Anonymous says:

    I lost my virginity

  28. Wallet Loser says:

    I’ve lost my wallet, nothing is working. I don’t know ANYTHING!! I was going to count my money but it was not in the usual pocket in my purse. I searched so many places in my room: Other pockets, all my purses, closet, desk drawer, everything I could imagine and I’m so upset!! I don’t know how long it’s been missing either!

  29. Pingback: How to Find Something You Lost - Productivity Theory

  30. someone says:

    i just lost my “Rastaclat NBA All Star limited edition bracelet” and i searched literally everywhere around the house. I just couldn’t find it. I mean, it could be anywhere in this whole universe and i can’t buy it again because its limited edition which is off-sale by now. I’m so upset, if only god would give me one more chance to find my bracelet, i will keep it carefully and make sure it won’t get lost again…

  31. Anoymous says:


  32. Nayy says:

    Everyone’s commenting about their lost pencil or pencil case or book…. Guys…… I lost my whole f*cking ID!! I’m unknown now I’m just a f*cking unidentified walking object now ! Hope uu guys found your stuff tho. Hope ii find mine too….

  33. Anonymous says:

    *my ring that a best friend bought me

  34. Anonymous says:

    I lost my health care card, but I lost it in my city of birth, I guess that was kind of fitting

  35. Anonymous says:


  36. Anonymous says:

    i’m literally gonna cry bro my book for english is gone i’m gonna get expelled

  37. Anonymous says:

    That’s my book and I can’t find it

  38. I’mscrewed says:

    I lost my library book!!! It’s already so over due I don’t have much time to find it!

  39. Jade says:

    I lost my GRADUATION CHAIN. It is literally irreplaceable. It could only be in my stepbrothers room. We turned his room UPSIDE DOWN. I checked my bed, my jacket, around my TV , my dresser with the candle, my sweater, my pockets, my lamp, the bathroom tray, the kitchen, my mother’s purse(because I was getting her her headphones earlier that day, not because I am accusing her) and the dining table.

  40. Anonymous says:

    I lost my notebook and I have exams coming up. I usually leave it in my bag at all times but it wasn’t there! I did go to the library after school the other day and I had it out, but I’m quite certain I put it back in my bag!

  41. Anonymous says:

    Lost my digital pen… It must be somewhere in my house, I’d been sitting at the couch drawing all day and night with it! But I can’t yet find it for the life of me. I was almost done my piece too, so it’s extra irritating.

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  43. Anonymous says:

    I lost my pencil case Im a surrealist don’t know why that matter to you but the article was very useful

  44. Anonymous says:

    Pull the drawers completely out of the unit and look on the floor inside. I lost some very important music there and only found it years later.

  45. tehehe says:

    i lost my charm bracelet it is so important to me but i think i lost it at school and idk how long it’s been missing that thing is like 2,000 dollars!!!!!!!

  46. Cat says:

    I lost my pencil case with three USB stick full of college course work and two highlights and pens and pencil and I do not know what to do please help me.

  47. Pingback: 30 Must Have Mom Skills - Daily Nature

  48. i dont wanna put my name says:

    i lost a study guide that i have to turn in tomorrow and i hope these steps work

  49. Anonymous says:

    omg, I lost my rough draft for an essay hope this works!!!!!!

  50. Pingback: Como encontrar chaves perdidas - Criarfazer.net

  51. Nebula says:

    I lost a book we got from school for a project and I can’t find it anywhere I remember putting it in my room and I was going to put it in my backpack in the morning but I was running late and panicking. I have three days to look before I’m supposed to return it. I’m praying this works.

  52. -_- says:

    Lost a super awesome book I was reading today:(. This better work.

  53. Music says:


  54. Khushi says:

    I also can’t find my English notebook… I hope I will get it

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