Identifying Memory Problems and Solutions That We Can Take
By: Camaran Azumara
What is memory in the first place?
- Memory is the faculty by which the mind stores and remembers information from the past; a recollection
Memory is central to the entire function of the brain. When there is a loss of brain processing speed. Which is the rate of electrical signals that are transmitted. Losing brain speed is directly related to a loss of the brain chemical acetylcholine, which regulates our ability to process sensory input and access stored information–essentially, acetylcholine is all about memory.
Naturally very few people have high levels of acetylcholine, but you can recognize those who do right away. They have a distinct creative flair. They are keenly aware of their surroundings and have the ability to keep long-lasting relationships that are based on fond, shared memories. People who have high acetylcholine levels are able to make friends easily because they are both intuitive and empathetic: They “get” other people and their motivations. They excel at school, are quick witted, and are generally fun to be with.
All in all it is about your acetylcholine levels.
Losing Brain Speed
As we get older, our levels of acetylcholine naturally decrease. When you don’t have enough acetylcholine, you’ll begin to slow physically and emotionally, as well deteriorate cognitively. For example, without treatment, a typical 80-year-old is able to remember only one-half the number of words that he or she knew at age 18.
Studies have shown that as we get older, much of what we learn is not lost; it’s just at the bottom of the brain’s memory pile. For the most part, memory loss does not mean that you are no longer storing new memories. The problem is that you are having difficulty retrieving them.
Here are signs that you may suffer from mild cognitive impairment:
- Attention difficulties
- Difficulty Driving
- Easy frustration
- Explosive spells of anger
- Neglect of self-care
- Irrational decision making
- Social withdrawal
- Excessive and inappropriate flirtatiousness
- Neglect of household chores
- Trouble understanding the spoken and written language
Being in touch with your emotions and the emotions of others not only makes you seem smarter, it actually improves your memory. This is because emotions and memory are stored in the same part of the brain: the prefrontal cortex.
Unless you get more intuitive, you can’t get smarter.
One way to become more intuitive is to shift your focus away from the present. That means you have to begin to embrace the intangible parts of life, whether it’s spirituality, literature, art, science, or self-reflection. It does not matter if you believe in God or if you believe in atomic structure. Both are concepts that require you to step away from the rational and embrace the infinite possibilities of your imagination.
How Memories Are Created
- The creation of memories takes place in four stages: registration (exposure and acquisition), retention (storage), stabilization (consolidation), and retrieval (decoding and recall).
- For example a book, the visual of the book is stored in the occipital lobe; the title and the lessons you learned are stored in the parietal andtemporal lobes. And once you finish the book and reflect on it, your memory of the book is pulled from all these sites to form one single memory. Also, the memory of reading the book will be related to your memories of reading all the other books you’ve ever read.
- According to research of Dr. Aaron P. Nelson, of the Harvard Medical School, each time you have a conversation, learn something, or see something new, the neuronal pathways of your brain are reconfigured. Some connections are strengthened, while others are weakened to make room for additional information.
- The key to keeping new experiences in your memory is a simple four step process:
- Step One: By focusing your attention make each new exposure the most sensory experience. Because each of the senses stores information in specific and unique parts of the brain, a fully sensory experience guarantees that some part of the new memory will be stored in long-term memory in a way that is easily recalled.
- Step Two: During the exposure, make a mental note connecting what you are experiencing with something that you have already experienced.
- For example, if you are having a night out with friends, try to remember another night you went out with friends that you’ve shared, or another night out that you’ve had.
- Step Three: Dive into your emotions during the event. Discover how the experience makes you feel at that moment.
- Step Four: Replay the experience in your mind about an hour later, and then a day later. Talking about it with others encourages you to organize the information in your brain so that you become more fluent with it. Or, record your thoughts on paper. Sometimes just by jotting down notes is all your brain needs to move a memory into long-term storage.
- Final Tips:
- Look people in the eye when they are talking to you
- Rereading instructions is a good way to create and retain memory
- Repeat aloud what you just heard or read.
- Minimize interruptions by prioritizing people and events.
- If you are trying to connect a name that goes with a face, you just need to examine a person’s face discreetly when you are introduced. Try to pinpoint an unusual feature (their ears, hairline, forehead, eyebrows, eyes, nose, mouth, chin, complexion, etc.) Then create an association between that characteristic and the name in your mind. This trick is called chunking
Verbal (auditory) memory: This type of memory is necessary for decoding sounds, words, sentences, and stories.
Visual memory: This involves the ability to absorb and retain information such as faces, colors, shapes, designs, your surroundings, pictures, and symbols. The occipital lobes do the visual and sensory training.
Immediate memory: A short-term stage—lasting only 30 seconds—this type of memory occurs when a stimulus is presented, but before the record is transferred to long-term memory.
Working memory: The most important form of memory, this is the ability to absorb information from stimuli, retain it, and connect it to information you have already learned.
Eric R. Braverman, MD. “Younger Brain, Sharper Mind”, 2011
Serendip.brynmawr.edu. “Brain Structures and their Functions”, 2016
Photo Creds: thethinkingbusiness.com