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Minding your memory - Harvard Health

https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/minding-your-memory

health.harvard.edu

Minding your memory - Harvard Health
Most adults experience the occasional "senior moment" as they age. While these memory slips may be embarrassing and stressful, they are not always…

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Deterioration Of Memory

Deterioration Of Memory

We cannot be expected to hold on to all the information we have accumulated in our lives, at all times.

As we age, memory slips usually become common and can be embarrassing as well as stressful. Some amount of memory lapse is normal and does not automatically mean that one is having dementia.

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Factors That Lead To Forgetfulness

Insomnia, anxiety, depression and various mental health issues can lead to memory loss, as well as a decline in other cognitive skills like attention, language, and executive function.

The many memory-related problems are absent-mindedness, blocking of a certain piece of information, fading memories, and incorrect recall.

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How To Manage Your Memory

... by a set of criteria and habits known as DANCERS:

D: Disease Management by maintaining your weight along with blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.
A: Activities like walking, swimming or exercising at the gym.
N: Nutrition of the body, with focus on whole fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats.
C: Cognitive engagement and challenges to your brain.
E: Engagement, social interaction and avoiding isolation.
R: Relaxing your mind, by yoga and mediation
S: Sleeping properly, adequately and in a fixed schedule, while avoiding electronic devices in those hours.

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How To Handle Absent-Mindedness

  • When our brains are engaged in too many different tasks, we tend to forget simple things.
  • The way to avoid absent-mindedness is to make use of a task list that lists out the activities in order of importance and trying to focus on only one task at a time.
  • Make good use of the calendar and phone reminders, along with habitual routines (like putting everything in a travel bag, for instance) to not to forget anything.

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How To Handle ‘Tip Of The Tongue’

Sometimes a piece of information is stuck in our minds but is not getting recalled. We know the information but cannot label it or remember the actual name.

This can be helped to an extent by associating a piece of information (like a person’s name) to something that can help trigger the recall. Connecting the name to a similar name, or a celebrity name, or even a song, helps us remember.

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How To Handle Fading Memory

Certain facts or events simply fade from our minds, something known as transience. The brain cannot store all information infinitely.

The way to label the information as important, so that the brain keeps it for long, is to make it emotionally charged, making it feel important and worth hanging on to. It also helps to revisit the memory.

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How To Handle Incorrect Recall

We often jumble up the information, a common error known as misattribution, when we recognize someone incorrectly or swap pieces of information.

The way to handle this is to write down important details on the fly, or aid recall by recording voice notes or clicking pictures/videos.

On a side note, do not share any personal information on the phone or the internet, as many scamsters exploit this failure to recall, and try to gain information.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Get your focus back

We all tend, to a different degree, to lose our focus once in a while. However, when this becomes a habit, we should contact a doctor, as it can occur due to serious underlying conditions, such as ...

Train your focus

In order to train your focus, check out the below useful tips:

  • keep track of the moments when you tend to lose your attention so you can plan activities for those very moments that require less focus
  • practice meditation so you can guide your mind back to the initial activity
  • control the distractions around you, in order to be able to better concentrate
  • work for shorter periods of time, while making sure you stay focus throughout those periods

Improve your focus

Staying focused is one of the key factors to having success in all the possible fields. Have a look at the below tips on how to improve your focus:

  • use your brain in activities that lead to learning a new skill, while showing progress and encouragement
  • check with your doctor as soon as you have any doubts on whether the medications you take can affect your focus
  • keep track of your intake of sugar and coffee, as both can seriously decrease your power of focus
  • stay social, as it brings you both more happiness and an increase in focus

The Science of Memory

  1. Encoding - the stage when the brain consciously acknowledges information based on our senses. When we attach meaning or factual knowledge to any of this sensory input, that'...

Lifestyle Changes That Can Improve Memory

  • Get a good night's sleep or take a power nap after learning something new, to help retain and retrieve memories better. Sleep deprivation and acquisition of too much information will not help you save those memories.
  • Get moving, to improve the flow of oxygen-rich blood in your brain and to trigger neuron growth and new connections in the brain - critical for memory.
  • Improve your diet. Fats from food can build up the brain, resulting to poor blood flow.

Mnemonics

Any system or device designed to aid memory:

  • patterns of letters or words (common mnemonics)
  • ideas (memory palace)
  • associations (chunking)

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Over-The-Counter Pills

Over-The-Counter Pills

About 25 percent of adults above 50 years of age try to improve their brain health and memory by taking supplements.

These pills claim to enhance memory, attention and foc...

Powdered Nutrients: The Facts

  • Most pills are a combination of vitamins and minerals, along with omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Scientific studies show the natural forms (like fish in case of omega-3 fatty acids) contain the real benefits, and popping supplements do not have the same effect.
  • Vitamin E supplements can help to a limited extent but high doses can increase the risk of a hemorrhagic stroke.
  • Vitamin B supplements are only to be used if one’s normal diet is not enough for them, or in case of a deficiency.
  • Taking time to do some exercise and having a plant-based diet is a better long term health solution.