When you find yourself forgetting things, appointments, or names, you start wondering, particularly if you hit your sixtieth birthday:  “Is it dementia? Is it Alzheimer’s”?

The good news is that there are a dozen of other more likely causes of forgetfulness than serious incurable memory deficiency.   Most of them initiated by you…, and therefore can be controlled by you!  Your memory can be improved by you.  A better memory is an acquired mindset.

Let’s start with the banal question: “How much did you have to drink last night.  I mean in Absolut terms?”  Here is one reason for a transient memory deficiency.   This in and by itself should relieve your anxiety.  And yes, anxiety caused by various personal reasons adds to stress which in turn causes instances of temporary memory gap.

Stress.  Stress at the workplace – too many assignments.  Stress at home.  Stress from slow business.  Stress causes memory lapse because of emotional mental overload.  Stressful conditions prompt the brain to calm its mental faculties in order to avoid mental exhaustion.   The brain is efficient and self-preserving – it dials down the memory function and reduces stress.  In fact any mental tension will reduce memory.

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What to do?  Well, recover from your last night binge.  Drink lots of fluids – water is always good.  Make sure to provide your brain with multivitamins and minerals.
If still not satisfied have a healthcare professional check your blood pressure, check your blood sugar, check your thyroid functions.  More complex tests if needed can even check your brain’s blood circulation.

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But before you rush to expensive medical tests here are more things you can do.

Talk to a psychological counselor who will assists you with identifying your causes of stress.  Depression may be? Frustrating ED?  Sh, sh. Nobody knows; not even you, until somebody asks you…

You want to be as sharp as you can be.  Cut off the tranquilizers and sleeping pills you may be taking.  Zombies have memory deficit.

While you wait for appointments and medical tests, here is more that you can do.

Exercise.  Be sure to walk 30 minutes every day.  You may skip out door walking if it rains but you can walk in the mall.

Company.   Meet with friends and have a good chat.  You’ll re-discover that most people forget from time to time, even if they are in their thirties…

Solve word puzzles, Sudoku puzzles, play chess or play cards.  My father-in-law was a chess player and avid word-puzzles solver.  His mind was sharp till he died at ninety-four from cancer.

Write it down!

Get into the habit of writing down your important stuff and daily tasks – those “Thing to do lists”!   There is a reason why running written lists and “lists of lists” work magic on improving our memory.   The act of physical writing recruits and involves more of the brain’s motor neurons in addition to the existing memory retaining neuronal circuits.  The result is that by writing you develop richer and greater neuron-synaptic circles that re-enforce your memory power.

One more thing: re-write your lists.  When you do that your thoughts will manifest into reality.

Now, go grab a paper and a pen and re-list the recommendations in this blog.

There are some negative things you really want to forget.

Forgive.  Forgive wherever you can.  As you forgive you forget painful negative thoughts that occupy your mind.  Forget Dr. Alois Alzheimer.  He died in 1915.

© 2012 Mandy Lender MD

About Mandy Lender

Mandy Lender, MD is an author, physician, public speaker, volunteer and adventurer. He published two books and two more books are in progress. Links:
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