Posted by: Suzan | June 4, 2019

Too Much Information – Sharpening a Memory under Siege

Memory-RetentionDo your conversations sometimes resemble Charade games with friends tossing out words to help fill in your blanks? Have you ever walked into a room only to question why you are there? Do you hide from someone because you’ve forgotten his/her name?

Not to worry. It is most likely not early dementia. Living in a society which thrives on cell phones, I pads, computers, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites, along with endless television channels, it is a wonder we can remember our own names. The Department of Labor mentioned that we are now getting more information in one week of the New York Times than people received in the entire 100 years of the 18th Century. This bombardment of information seems to be taking over our memories and holding them hostage.

So what can you do to release your memory from this stronghold of too much information? One thing I do is carry a small notebook with me to write anything down which I must remember (things to research and/or take action on and promises I’ve made to others). I also place sticky notes near the door with items listed that I need to take with me. Occasionally I do a “mind dump.” I write out everything I can think of which I want to do now or later (3 months – many years later). Then I look through the items and decide what matters most. By getting all of this onto paper, I allow my recall a rest.

The Mayo Clinic suggests the following to sharpen your memory:

  • Exercise your mind like you would your body. Do crossword puzzles, or read something challenging (even if a couple of pages). Take a new class, volunteer, or put your watch on the other wrist. Mental stimulation can jump start your memory.
  • Be Social. Active engagement with others helps stave off depression and alleviates stress which can contribute to memory loss.
  • Organize your surroundings so it is easier to find things. Hire a professional organizer if this would help inspire you to do so.
  • Focus your attention. Contrary to popular opinion multi-tasking is not helpful for your mind’s retention. Try doing one task at a time.
  • Nourish yourself with a healthy diet. If you don’t drink enough water or you imbibe in too much alcohol, this can affect your recollection. Eat brain food to sharpen your recall, e.g. fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat protein sources.
  • Exercise regularly as physical movement increases blood flow to your entire body, including your brain. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends about 20-30 minutes of brisk activity per day, or about 150 minutes throughout the week.
  • Follow the health treatment plan your doctor and/or holistic professional recommends. Discuss your supplements and medications as some can impact memory. Do whatever you can to sleep well. Self-care is paramount to memory retention.


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