Let’s have a look at the definition: »Memory is the faculty of the brain by which data or information is encoded, stored, and retrieved when needed. It is the retention of information over time for the purpose of influencing future action.« A memory is made by connecting two or more of the billions of neurons in your brain. Yes, billions! But it depends on your lifestyle, how good your brain is at connecting these neurons. Healthy habits can support your brain and even encourage it to grow new neurons, preserving a strong memory. Here are 8 factors that may be damaging your memory daily.
Nutrition is crucial for good results – if you have a nutrition deficiency (it occurs when the body doesn’t absorb or get the necessary amount of nutrients from food) it can lead to a variety of health problems. And we want to avoid those, don’t we? There’s no need for a diet, but avoiding processed food will surely help and boost your well being.
Stop smoking (please?)
Let’s keep it short and simple here – research has linked smoking with memory deficits. Heavy smoking in midlife may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia as much as 100%. While the connection is not clear, it’s thought that smoking damages the small blood vessels of the brain.
Poor sleep quality
As dull as it may sound, having a strict sleeping routine puts you to sleep automatically! Once you start sleeping at the same time every day, your body will get used to it, that it will recognize its time for sleep, and put you to sleep automatically! There’s no effort from your part. Oh, and try to avoid screen time 1-2 hours before bed (it really makes a difference)
Lack of activity
It’s not only important to be active to keep your body healthy – it also influences your mental health in a good way. And no, you don’t have to run 10 miles every day in order to be active, take it easy and find an activity that makes you feel good. Just go out for a 15-minute walk – you’ll do some light activity and get your vitamin D dose for the day, two birds with one stone!
The fact that too much alcohol can lead to serious health and memory problems seems like a no-brainer. However, surprisingly, there is some evidence suggesting that moderate alcohol consumption may actually benefit brain health and reduce dementia risk. Although the science is conflicting and still emerging, one thing is clear: too much alcohol damages your brain. The key is moderation.
Learn how to cope with stress
Ever wonder why, when you’re already having a crazy, stressful day, your memory seems to go on the blink, too? You can blame the stress hormone cortisol. Increased cortisol in your hippocampus interferes with encoding information and retrieving it, which over time can become serious. Chronic stress makes you forgetful and emotional and has been linked to a smaller hippocampus and memory impairment.
Trauma and memory
At some point during a traumatic event, fear kicks in and your amygdala starts running the show instead of your prefrontal cortex. The amygdala acts as your brain’s threat radar. When it sounds the alarm, your body prepares you to fight for your life or flee. When this happens, most of your physical and mental resources get allocated to making sure you survive. That’s why somebody may remember every little detail about what happened right before and after a traumatic event including contextual details and the exact sequence of events. However, they may have very fragmented and incomplete memories of the actual happening.
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