Problemy with memory are affecting more and more people. They usually choose to take an extra dose of vitamins, hoping that even if they don’t reverse the current condition, they will stop further memory loss. But can more be done to combat the problem?

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Brain expert Dr. Richard Restak

Memory problems worsen with age and this is inevitable. However, there are ways to practice it. Brain expert Dr. Richard Restak looked into the issue. He is the author of more than 20 books on the human mind and has long experience in treating people struggling with memory problems. He recently published a book, “A Guide to Memory: The Science of Strengthening the Mind.” In it he describes ways to improve memory, advice on mental exercise, diet or sleep.

What causes memory problems?

Dr. Restak focuses on overcoming everyday memory problems, namely short-term memory. According to him, it is the most important type of memory and should be practiced every day. As a result, memory problems coming with age will occur with less frequency. Memory specialist Daniel Lawrence Schacter has detailed 10 “sins” that lead to memory problems. There are items such as the “sin of omission,” which refers to absentmindedness, or the “sin of committing” concerning distorted memories. However, Dr. Restak decided to expand the list to include additional items such as technological distortion, technological distraction and depression.

Tips for improving memory

According to Dr. Restak, memory problems arise through absentmindedness and lack of attentiveness. It is through a lack of focus that incorrect encodings occur. A common case is forgetting the name of a new acquaintance. To solve this problem, Restak suggests visualizing words. Associate names, things, memories with an image that appears in the mind. It is also worth implementing daily memory challenges. These are small things to remember, such as a shopping list or getting around in a car without GPS. These are supposed to be great ways to improve short-term memory. In addition, he recommends playing bridge, chess or games that involve listing the names of presidents, athletes or authors in alphabetical order.

How do memory lapses manifest themselves in the elderly?
Photo: Memory loss in the elderly

Technology and our memory

Smartphones affect a great many aspects in people’s lives. It turns out that they also contribute to memory problems. People started creating events in calendars, taking notes or setting alarms whenever something should be remembered. So we don’t make an effort to remember the date, time or place, because everything is stored on the phone. In addition, they have a distracting effect on people. They cause addictions in the form of a frequent desire to check notifications or social media. This in turn relates to the previously mentioned lack of attentiveness and proper coding. Through constant distraction, we are unable to remember the moment well.

What does memory have to do with depression?

Mood plays a very big role. It also affects remembering events in a certain way. Bad mood and sadness cause a much higher proportion of negative memories to be remembered, and also the recalled memories will be unfavorable. So it is worth taking care of your well-being during the day. You can read about how to cope with a bad mood on GentleWoman in the article Fix a bad day – a guide. Dr. Restak points out that a large proportion of people who have memory problems and are treated by a neurologist are those who suffer from depression.

When to go to a specialist?

It is important to remember that forgetting some things is a perfectly natural and human thing. It happens to everyone to forget a dental appointment or to buy a product at the store. However, forgetting one’s home address or the route to work, which is traveled on average twice a day, may already be worrying signals worth consulting a doctor.

It’s high time to take care of the memory

It is worth starting to take care of your memory every day. To quote Dr. Restak, “We are what we can remember.” So let’s try to remember everything that is most beautiful. You can read more about it in the New York Times.


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