Memory is a powerful tool

Our memory is a vital and powerful tool we use in our day-to-day lives. It is because of a well-functioning memory that processes through the three stages of encoding, storage and retrieval that we can remember things accurately such as names of people, visited places, what day it is tomorrow, what time is an important meeting scheduled etc. Improved memory capacity helps one to enhance their attention, establish routines and be organized, remember things later and so on.

About poor memory

Occasionally, everyone experiences forgetfulness. That could be either because their mind is preoccupied with some other matter or a mild memory loss that tends to grow within them due to ageing. However, individuals who experience major memory problems such as Alzheimer’s disease can be frustrating, affecting one’s daily life and the brain’s ability to function normally.

If increased forgetful nature or any memory problems are found to interfere with carrying out one’s daily life activities, then the following are some of the many signs exhibited by him/her:

  • Forgetting to attend important meeting or tasks
  • Forgetting where things are kept or misplacing objects in inappropriate places
  • Enquiring the same matters or questions repeatedly
  • Takes a longer time to get done with familiar tasks and so on.
Causes of memory loss

Just like we see in movies after a blow to the head the person is unable to recall events, people and so on, in other words, have memory loss, which affects individuals at varying degrees. To rule in the possibility of living focused and responsibly, it is important to understand the following causes of memory loss, whether it is occasionally or short-term:

  •  Sleep deprivation: Frequent episodes of waking at night or getting less sleep than required can lead to experiences of fatigue that interferes with the quality and quantity of sleep further reducing the brain’s ability to store and retrieve past and/or present information.
  • Medications: Prescribed or over the counter medications such as antidepressants, muscle relaxants, sleeping pills, tranquillizers etc., are found to interfere with the cause of losing memory.
  • Nutritional deficiency: Insufficient supply of various nutrients required by the body that include protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamin and mineral-rich foods can cause the brain to function in improper ways that affect memory.
  • Head injury: Major accidents such as road accidents or a fall that have caused the severe head injury can lead to short- and/or long-term memory loss.
  • Stroke: Individuals who are victims of stroke experience short-term memory loss as when a stroke occurs, the block or leakage of blood vessels in the brain stops the blood supply to the brain. A stroke may allow individuals to have vivid childhood memories but not recall recent events for example, what they had for lunch that day.
  • Stress and depression: Experiencing mental health problems like anxiety, depression, stress can make it hard for one to pay attention or devote complete concentration to the surroundings and the individuals suffer from the inability to remember well.
  • Smoking and Illegal drugs: Excessive illegal drugs like tobacco, alcohol with or without smoking had long been recognized as causing loss of memory. The intake of these substances reduces the oxygen levels that get to the brain and can change the brain’s chemical equations making it hard to recall memories.

Other causes of memory loss would possibly include infections such as syphilis, HIV, tuberculosis or underactive/overactive thyroid gland etc., which affect the memory responsible parts of the brain.

Effectively coping with memory loss

To gain a sharp and strong memory capacity the following ways to cope with memory loss be effective in the long run:

  • Engaging in exercises such as card games, certain computer games, memory-matching games etc., helps to improve concentration that in turn improves memory.
  • Rehearsing the information or even recording it can help you cope with memory loss better.
  • Tips to improve your remembering or retention ability:
    • Use an alarm to keep track of important work, appointments and medicines
    • List down things you have to remember on a paper
    • Store frequently used objects in the same place in an organized manner.
  • Engaging in hobbies one enjoys and being socially active helps one remember their interest, people and events around them.
  • If one feels their memory loss condition turns out to be severe, then it is best to approach a doctor who will advise a memory loss treatment.

Cover image source: People photo created by wayhomestudio –


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