What is Memory?
Our memories define us and in many ways they make us who we are. They are like our mental autobiography, reminding us of what we have experienced during our lifetime, the people we have known and the friendships and connections we made. For this reason our memories are a crucial part of who we are as a person.
As we age it is normal for our memory to be less reliable than it used to be. It can be harder to re call things or the memory seems less clear than it once was. These kind of changes don’t cause us serious problems, just frustration or embarrassment when we can’t find something or remember someone’s name.
Short-term memories involve information that you need for only an instant, like which direction you need to take to go somewhere or what you want to eat for your lunch. Once you’ve made this decision you discard the information as it’s no longer needed.
Long-term memories are the ones that make you who you are, your knowledge, experiences and skills. These memories are durable but can evolve overtime if you learn something after the event that changes your recollection of it.
What Can Cause Memory Loss?
There are many reasons why we might be suffering from memory loss and these can include emotional reasons and physical causes.
Our thoughts and emotions can affect both our mental health and our memory this can include suffering with conditions such as:
All of these can leave us feeling physical and mentally exhausted, making it hard to focus, concentrate or remember, as often our sleep can also be affected.
Our memory can also be affected by the following, some of which can result in short or long term memory loss:
· Alcohol or recreational drug use
· Brain injury, tumours, encephalitis or brain surgery
· Certain infections
· Chronic fatigue syndromes
· Electroconvulsive therapy
· Exhaustion or sleep deprivation
· Heart surgery or strokes
· Kidney disorders
· Liver disorder
· Prescription medication
· Sleep apnea
· Thyroid problems
· Vitamin B12 deficiency
There are ways we can try and protect ourselves from memory loss or minimise its potential effects. These include leading a healthy lifestyle, eating well, especially brain friendly foods like nuts and green leafy vegetables and limiting processed and sugary foods. Exercising regularly and getting both sufficient and good quality sleep. Avoiding alcohol and recreational drug use or high caffeine intake, reducing any anxiety or stress by using mindfulness techniques and relaxation therapy. Keeping our mind stimulated by learning new skills and interests as well as social interactions with people will all help long term.
If you are worried about your own or someone else’s memory problems consult a doctor to ensure it’s not something to worry about, so that any underlying medical causes can be diagnosed and treated. If your memory problems are caused by emotional issues, you may also benefit from seeing a therapist who can help you with therapies such as counselling, psychotherapy, CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and clinical hypnotherapy. Written by Jan, Jeana and Wendy at Barnsley Hypnosis and Counselling (UK). For more free Information click above link.