Remember the Barbara Streisand song, Memories Light the corners of my mind. Misty water-colored memories - of the way we were? Memories are tricky things, especially as we get older. The other day, while talking with a friend, we hit upon the current fear-of-old-age, Alzheimer's. However, I'm not getting into that hornet's nest. Let's stick with memories and the frustration of forgetting, but also ways in which we can improve our memory and remembering.
Talk about memories, forgotten passwords are really annoying, and others, like signing into write this blog, I clicked on the "New Post" tab and was given this page, but then, when I went to actually write the blog, I couldn't. Why? Well, I had to go over to the side column and pull a text field into the blog. What an absolute waste of time! Because I don't blog frequently, I had, you guessed it, forgotten I had to make that extra annoying step.
Now passwords are another nightmare, and I even have a place separate from my MacBook to store them, in case I forget one. Even that doesn't work, especially if I 'forget', of course, update my list, when I change a password. Wanting to understand why, other than my age, of course, I went online. There's a whole bunch of articles but I chose this one to post the results, because they kept the explanation simple, so I'm less likely to forget what I read.
One study found: The more important a password is to you, and the more likely you are to use it in the future, the higher are the chances you will recall it. In other words, if you're creating a password for a seven-day free trial of some 'thing' you'll likely cancel before the week's up, your brain probably won't bother to store it for future use. On the other hand, if you changed the password to log in to your computer today, your mind recognizes the importance of locking that password down and is more likely to be able to remember it again later.
Yeah. If that last one really worked, I wouldn't have to create a list of important passwords, or those important to me, at any rate. Age no doubt is a factor, and while our memories may get shorter as we age a person's ears and nose continue to grow longer as we age. Height doesn't change after puberty (well, if anything we get shorter as we age) but ears and noses always lengthen. However, this is due to gravity, not to actual growth.
As you age, ears lengthen at a rate of about .22 millimeters per year. The growth appears in both men and women, so it's just one of the many universal joys of getting older. Nevertheless, let's get back to our all-important memory, before I forget, which, interestingly, improves. with caffein, after a study session not before. Hey, it's a worth a shot (of espresso)! Not at bedtime though, not if you want a good nights sleep. Let's get back to the memory thing.
A good night's sleep is all important to memory. So, if you have trouble turning your brain off, make sleep more important than studying, Avoid technology once bedtime approaches (turn off the TV an hour before), and try to be consistent with your overall schedule, not just sleep. Make seven hours of sleep a priority every night, to keep your memory as sharp as possible,
No surprise here, but making high intensity training a regular part of your fitness routine for a strong brain can help hold onto memories. Given my age and demeanor, HIIT is not going to happen. Instead, I bought a puppy, an Australian Shepherd, and made a commitment to walk the dog at least once a day, and if it's not pouring down rain (I live in the PNW) she gets more than one walk. There also are icy winter days when we take a break, and stay home, all day until spring rolls around. Still, all that fresh air is good for the brain and memory, and my weight stays consistent with less likelihood of gain and the possibility of loss, but not memory!
Talk about coffee (earlier), coffee berries are grown and harvested for the seeds inside which are turned into coffeebeans, yet the rest can be eaten and so, it qualifies as a fruit because it can be eaten. Also, a 1-gram serving of whole coffee fruit extract has about 4.4 mg of caffeine whereas a single cup of brewed coffee has 100 to 150 mg of caffeine. And the plant creates natural antioxidants to protect itself from the conditions within which it grows. Thus, the coffee berry extract antioxidants helps prevents fine lines, wrinkles and cellular damage to skin, reducing the appearance of existing fine lines, sun damage and visible signs of aging.
An aside here, while ads often say these products "reduce the appearance of fine lines," please note, they don't make those lines go away permanently.
What else? Oh yeah. While some people can drop huge amounts of weight and never gain it back (don't I wish), you can drop your chronic depression, anxiety and poor cognition and never have it consume you again. One way is by consuming brain-derived neurotrophic factor, known as BDNF. Huh. For those who've never heard of it, including me until now, BDNF is a naturally-occurring protein in the brain; it improves brain function, and lowers the risk of mental disease. BDNF protects and repairs brain cells, increases the growth of new brain cells, and improves learning, memory and mood. Many researchers consider it a natural antidepressant.
I'm all for natural antidepressants, because they don't come with the same side effects as pharmaceuticals: weight gain, sexual dysfunction, insomnia, emotional numbness, drowsiness, personality changes, and even cognitive decline, or reduced mental function, to name but a few. Personally, I avoid pharmaceuticals, unless absolutely necessary. Recently my cat had an upper respiratory infection, and Amoxicillin was the solution. She's healthier now because of it. Now, this is not to say prescription antidepressants (and antibiotics) don’t help some people. They do, but for other people (like me), they do more harm than good (the antidepressants).
So, to help brain function, the simplest solutions are the best and usually least expensive: A regular good night's sleep; a healthy diet, not mentioned above but low on carbs; caffeine in moderation; and plenty of exercise in the fresh air. It's good for memory and depression and weight loss. So, get off the sofa and out of the kitchen, and take your dog for a brisk walk; she or he will love you for it. And, you will love yourself a whole lot more. Also, if you are looking for an Aussie puppy, we should be having a few next spring, or in the fall at the latest.