If you’ve ever misplaced the keys you just had in your hand or struggled to remember why you came into a room – you’re not alone. Short term memory loss is actually something most people will experience to some degree during their lives. What’s the deal?
The causes and degrees of short term memory loss are pretty complex – for some, it’s a harmless (though annoying) result of aging or a hectic season in life. For others, it’s a signal of underlying health issues.
What Causes Short Term Memory Loss?
Short term memory loss can be severe or slight – usually what’s causing it will determine the severity. There are a few reasons people can start to become forgetful:
- Aging – as certain neural pathways start to “wear out,” short term memory can be one of the first mental qualities affected. That’s why you’ll see some elderly people who can remember minute details of a childhood memory – but can’t recall what they had for breakfast!
- Stress – when the mind is “overloaded” with information and the body is in high-gear to a stressful lifestyle or busy season in life, short-term memory can be affected as the brain is just not efficiently processing all of the information.
- Drug use – not surprisingly, certain drugs and medications impact the way the brain works, sometimes leading to memory issues.
- Injury – concussions and certain head injuries can damage parts of the brain that affect short term memory loss.
- Mental conditions – certain mental conditions, like PTSD, can affect short term memory significantly.
How to Deal
Correcting (or at least improving) short term memory can be done, depending on the cause. The cause and severity of the issue will determine how effective these habits can be… but they can’t hurt:
- Reading enhances short term memory by stimulating some of the same parts of the brain that encourage short term memory. Much like working out a muscle, working out these pathways makes them stronger.
- Mental games. Studies indicate that crosswords and other mental games like Sudoku can improve mental ability.
- Be social. Harvard School of Public Health researchers found evidence that elderly people who have an active social life may have a slower rate of memory decline than those who are isolated. In fact, they’ve found that not only do socially-connected people have slower memory loss, they also have a lower mortality rate.
- Eat foods that are good for your brain. Those with omega-3 fatty acids (like salmon) are good for the mind!
- Write it down. Get in the habit of writing things down – free up mental “space” to avoid information overload.
May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!