Why do I forget something so often? How to Improve Your Memory

Forget Something? Everyday Causes of Memory Slips

Memory loss, short term memory is equivalent to very recent memories, usually measured in minutes-to-days. Examples of short term memory include where you parked your car this morning, what you had for lunch yesterday, where you left your keys and remembering details from a book that you read a few days ago.

Conditions that contribute to memory loss include:

  • Depression
  • Medication side effects
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Not enough vitamin B12 or a low thyroid level
  • Stress and worry of any kind, such as from the death of a spouse or loved one, or from retirement
  • Illness
What’s Normal
  • Absentmindedness. This usually occurs, when you aren’t paying close attention to the activity at hand.
  • Occasionally forgetting where you placed things.
  • Forgetting facts over time. Like computers, our brains need to purge old data to make room for new.
  • A “tip of the tongue” memory slip that you remember later.
  • Utilizing reminders to help you remember
  • Despite memory lapses, if your personality and mood remain the same, it’s a good indicator that it’s probably not something more serious.
Transience

This is the tendency to forget facts or events over time. You are most likely to forget information soon after you learn it. However, memory has a use-it-or-lose-it quality: memories that are called up and used frequently are least likely to be forgotten. Although transience might seem like a sign of memory weakness, brain scientists regard it as beneficial because it clears the brain of unused memories, making way for newer, more useful ones.

Absentminded

This type of forgetting occurs when you don’t pay close enough attention. You forget where you just put your pen because you didn’t focus on where you put it in the first place. You were thinking of something else (or, perhaps, nothing in particular), so your brain didn’t encode the information securely. Absentmindedness also involves forgetting to do something at a prescribed time, like taking your medicine or keeping an appointment.

Persistence

Most people worry about forgetting things. But in some cases people are tormented by memories they wish they could forget, but can’t. The persistence of memories of traumatic events, negative feelings, and ongoing fears is another form of memory problem. Some of these memories accurately reflect horrifying events, while others may be negative distortions of reality.

People suffering from depression are particularly prone to having persistent, disturbing memories. So are people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD can result from many different forms of traumatic exposure — for example, sexual abuse or wartime experiences. Flashbacks, which are persistent, intrusive memories of the traumatic event, are a core feature of PTSD.

Suggestibility

Suggestibility is the vulnerability of your memory to the power of suggestion — information that you learn about an occurrence after the fact becomes incorporated into your memory of the incident, even though you did not experience these details. Although little is known about exactly how suggestibility works in the brain, the suggestion fools your mind into thinking it’s a real memory.

Memory strength is just like muscular strength. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. But you can’t lift the same size weight every day and expect to get stronger. You’ll need to keep your brain constantly challenged. Learning a new skill is an excellent way to strengthen your brain’s memory capacity.

Why settle for average memory.. especially when it comes to your memory & cognitive ability

memory part of brain

Different areas of the brain control different
functions; thus, damage to a given area causes
a specific loss of function. When faced with memory disorders or memory loss, it can be helpful to have an understanding of how the brain manipulates memory. Especially in cases of head injury, knowing which parts of the brain affect memory can help you understand what to expect in the future. Unfortunately, the brain cells responsible for memory cannot be replaced, which means that most memory loss is permanent.


long term memory

Humans retain different types of memories for different lengths of time. Short-term memories last seconds to hours, while long-term memories last for years. We also have a working memory, which lets us keep something in our minds for a limited time by repeating it. Whenever you say a phone number to yourself over and over to remember it, you’re using your working memory.


memories meaning

The mental faculty of retaining and recalling past experience.

 The act or an instance of remembering; recollection: spent the afternoon lost in memory.

All that a person can remember: It hasn’t happened in my memory.

Something that is remembered: pleasant childhood memories.

The fact of being remembered; remembrance: dedicated to their parents’ memory.

The period of time covered by the remembrance or recollection of a person or group of persons: within the memory of humankind.

 


where is memory stored in the brain

Memories aren’t stored in just one part of the brain. Different types are stored across different, interconnected brain regions. For explicit memories – which are about events that happened to you (episodic), as well as general facts and information (semantic) – there are three important areas of the brain: the hippocampus, the neocortex and the amygdala. Implicit memories, such as motor memories, rely on the basal ganglia and cerebellum. Short-term working memory relies most heavily on the prefrontal cortex.


memory retrieval

Memory retrieval involves pulling information from the subconscious long-term memory banks and making it immediately accessible to the conscious mind. There are four primary ways that this is done. Memory recall describes the ability to simply pull information from your minds without extensive effort. When studying for a test, the goal is to remember information in a way that can be automatically and easily recalled. Recollection, on the other hand, involves the piecing together of a memory. Your mind is rebuilding that memory based on various clues, partial memories, and logic. Trying to remember your childhood birthday parties often involves this sort of memory retrieval.

Recognition describes memory retrieval based on experiencing that memory again. Imagine driving down the street and looking for a restaurant you once visited. You may not immediately recall its location, but you can recognize it when you see it. Finally, the mind can retrieve information through relearning. We’ve all had that moment of ”I used to know this!” You may not be able to recall the information, but you know it’s in there and therefore you remember it through learning it again.

 


different types of memory

Sensory Memory · Short-term Memory · Long-term Memory · Explicit Long-term Memory · Implicit Long-term Memory

 


how does memory work

First your brain consciously registers the memory, a process called encoding. The reason most people don’t remember a name straight away is because you haven’t encoded the name – perhaps because you weren’t paying full attention. Next, the brain must consolidate the memory, followed by the last step which is called retrieval.

One way to  improve your memory is to keep remembering the same thing, over and over again. This strengthens the neural pathway to the memory. There are other things you can do to improve your memory; get a regular sleep pattern, eat a balanced diet and exercise often.


how to remember names

A  way of remembering things like names that date back to the ancient Greeks is the idea of a “Memory Palace.” This is a means of memorization that involves creating a visual story around the words or characters that you’re trying to remember. This is still used today by many, specifically super memorizers that use it to memorize thousands of digits of pi.


memory loss causes

Everyone occasionally experiences forgetfulness. Mild memory loss tends to increase with age and is generally no cause for concern. But progressive memory loss due to illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease can be serious.


short term memory loss causes

There are many potential causes of short-term memory loss. They include:

  • aging
  • dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease or Lewy body dementia
  • brain tumors
  • blood clots or bleeding in your brain
  • head injuries, such as concussions
  • infections in or around your brain
  • mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety
  • substance use disorder
  • stress
  • illnesses or conditions that damage brain tissue, such as Parkinson’s disease or Huntington’s disease
  • not having enough of certain vitamins or minerals, most commonly B-12, in your body
  • inadequate sleep
  • certain medications, including statins, anxiety medication, and antiseizure drugs
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

In some cases, doctors don’t know the cause of short-term memory loss. Some causes of short-term memory loss are progressive, which means they get worse over time and may lead to long-term memory loss. These causes include dementia associated with Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.

improve memory

By the time you’ve reached adulthood, your brain has developed millions of neural pathways that help you process and recall information quickly, solve familiar problems, and execute habitual tasks with a minimum of mental effort. But if you always stick to these well-worn paths, you aren’t giving your brain the stimulation it needs to keep growing and developing. You have to shake things up from time to time!

Memory, like muscular strength, requires you to “use it or lose it.” The more you work out your brain, the better you’ll be able to process and remember information.

While mental exercise is important for brain health, that doesn’t mean you never need to break a sweat. Physical exercise helps your brain stay sharp. It increases oxygen to your brain and reduces the risk for disorders that lead to memory loss, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Exercise also enhances the effects of helpful brain chemicals and reduces stress hormones. Perhaps most importantly, exercise plays an important role in neuroplasticity by boosting growth factors and stimulating new neuronal connections.

Just as the body needs fuel, so does the brain. You probably already know that a diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, “healthy” fats (such as olive oil, nuts, fish) and lean protein will provide lots of health benefits, but such a diet can also improve memory. For brain health, though, it’s not just what you eat—it’s also what you dont eat.

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