What we vividly remember are certain details of our life which occurred, and we can recall it vividly, identically, this over time, often decades later, incidents which stand out. We remember names of friends, events, those we went to school with, that first kiss, the first time we fell in love, that moment when our children were born.
We recall our first jobs, the exact amount of our first paycheck, we enjoy recalling passages from our favorite movies, or lyrics of songs. These memories remain. Certain memories can last forever.
Memory is also taken for granted. We’re more likely to recall instances of forgotten memories, rather than those times that we can recall. We never congratulate ourselves whenever we remember where we parked our car, that we’re able to find our way home, or remember the names of our kids or friends.
When You Can’t Remember
When we do become alarmed is when we forget to do something, or forget someone’s name. Similar to no news is good news, red flags will flail once our “ironclad” minds become faulty, and then we become aware of it.
Another reason why we emphasize faulty memory is because we think that we’re reliable, that we can be counted on. If we ever happened to witness something new, that we can be trusted enough to precisely recall it, such as a witness in a court of law.
It’s well known, however, that remembering or recalling exact details or the happenings from unanticipated events, isn’t something that we can’t usually do at will, or very well.
We also forget details of everyday things on a daily basis which enters our minds and then suddenly leaves our short term memory. This since there’s no reason to remember it, and there’s usually no consequence once we forget.
Unless the event becomes important after the incident occurred, such as witnessing a car accident, our eyewitness testimony becomes extremely important with consequences.
Why Our Memory Fails
The biggest fright and the most common complaint is that we begin to lose our memory. This however is a normal process as we age, as many will begin to find that we no longer can recall certain names, places, or things that we once did routinely.
Forgetfulness is the definition we give to a process which occurs with aging, where the memory remains intact, but it’s our ability to retrieve it which becomes delayed, or temporarily impaired.
We’ll usually begin by describing the name, event, or object that we can’t recall, and once someone reminds us, we instantly remember, giving a slap to our foreheads.
As long as these events are age related, and doesn’t significantly interfere with the everyday functioning of our lives, then there’s no real increase of risk, or a progression towards anything that’s more serious.
The clues lie whether it’s age appropriate or not. What’s taken into account is measuring other cognitive impairments along with one’s memory loss, which are then correlated with a higher likelihood of progression towards clinical memory loss.
Trying To Remember
One other reason why people have difficulty remembering something is because of concentration, or the lack of it. So if your hectic life means that you need to multitask more, then you’ll tend to forget things more easily.
We’ve all went into a room and couldn’t remember why we did so. We’d forget more if we weren’t simultaneously watching TV, planning dinner, while trying to remember a phone number. We lose track.
This explains why those who suffers from anxiety will have a more difficult time remembering things, as it interferes with the ability to be able to concentrate.
The strength of one’s memory is also dictated by the emotional state that accompanied the event. Emotion, whether it was positive or negative, tends to embed these events into our memory.
How To Remember Better
There are a few known techniques which forces us to remember better. Ways on how we can decrease the risk of deterioration mentally, as we begin to age.
Keep Yourself Active By Exercising
There’s strong evidence which suggests that a lack of movement can deteriorate memory, which then increases the risk of conditions such as developing dementia.
The type of exercise doesn’t need to be vigorous. It’s thought that just movement of 30 minutes a day, 4 times a week, such as walking, biking, or a light jog, has proven to be beneficial when recalling better. Whether the more intense that you exercise, the more you remember, remains unknown.
Exercising Your Mind More
There’s strong evidence which suggests that doing mental activities which taxes the mind, can prevent or delay memory loss. We know that watching an emotional or action filled movie or TV show for hours on end, won’t get us tired, while at times becoming invigorated.
We also know that attempting to solve difficult math problems, learning new things which we find complex or boring, doing tasks which requires too much effort, tires out the brain.
The Brain Is Just Another Muscle
What it comes down to is that our minds, the physical brain is a muscle which needs to be active. And since our memory is the biggest occupant of the brain, we need to actively work it, this similar to getting good muscle tone on the arms.
The more that the mind is used, it’s thought that the more robust that our memory will become. As we mature, from our childhood to our school years, to reaching adulthood, what we’ll begin is experiencing incidences of forgetfulness, perhaps more than we’d like to admit.
So as a result, what we should be doing is finding comfort in the “use it or lose it” theory, which means we need to work our bodies, and more importantly and specifically our brains more.