It’s Monday morning, and the day begins with a moment of panic.
“Where are my keys?”
As the search begins, the clock is ticking and you're already late for work. After turning over pillows, opening drawers and even checking the trash can, you find them in your bag…where they've been all along.
As frustrating as they can be, moments like that are pretty common and probably brought on by stress induced memory loss. I spoke to Dr. Gayatri Devi about all these little lapses of memory we experience, how to prevent them and when they may be a sign of something more serious. Dr. Devi, a neurologist and director of New York Memory and Healthy Aging Services, suggests that simple mind exercises can help, particularly ones that utilize a very different part of the brain than you're accustomed to using. If you sit at a computer analyzing data all day, do something physical or manual to wake up the rest of your brain.
We begin to experience memory loss at the early stages of childhood. It is necessary to forget things, Dr. Devi says, otherwise the memory would overflow like your inbox. Forgetting unnecessary pieces of information allows space in the memory for new and more pertinent material.
Aging also triggers some memory loss, and menopause can, as well. Women experiencing menopause may have trouble remembering names, words, or, yes, where we put the car keys. A healthy diet and keeping all aspects of the brain engaged are critical tools to keep memory sharp, but sleep is important, as well. Dr. Devi also recommends that habits help alleviate memory loss by creating automatic response. For example, if you always put your car keys in your handbag, you'll know that's where they are even if you forget putting them there.
Memory is a muscle! Work it out, and don't neglect it.
Also remember… it's OK to forget every now and then.