Memory Combat

Stress_Overload

Memory Combat: How to Keep Your Memory Function Intact

I am “Super Woman,” I can do ALL things.  As we women try to take on the world, competing with our male counterparts, and overloading ourselves with multiple extra-curricular activities, we fail to realize we are straining a very important asset “Our Memory.”

I remember back in 2004, when I started interning at LA Weekly. I was chatting with my assigned mentor and I mentioned that I was finding it difficult to remember certain things and organize my thoughts.  My mentor then said it may be because I was overstressed.  At that time, I worked 30+ hours at a call-center, attended school full-time and was finding time here and there to intern.   Honestly, I couldn’t tell you which way was up, and I never really looked into the whole “Stress=Memory loss” concept.

Here I am today, a working single mother, mental health and fashion writer, and on occasion wardrobe consultant, and you guessed it…still dealing with a stressed memory.  So, I have decided to finally bring to light the true causes of stress related memory loss.

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First off, the term “Stress” is a derivative of “Distress,” which means to draw or pull apart.  Think about it, when you are under stressful circumstances such as: a work deadline, on top of running a household and trying to plan a social event for you and your girlfriends, you could feel like you are being “pulled apart.” When you are under stress, your body reacts by secreting stress hormones, Cortisol and Epinephrine, into the bloodstream.  Over secretion of stress hormones most frequently affects memory negatively.

Since we as women have times of “Hormonal Imbalances,” lapses in memory or foggy thinking are common.  When a woman’s hormones are functioning normally, estrogen levels help regulate cortisol levels which affect the function of neurotransmitters (chemicals used for communication) in your brain. As estrogen levels decline, as is common in perimenopause, the estrogen no longer properly controls the cortisol. As a result, neurotransmitters begin to malfunction, creating these lapses in memory, as sited.   There are ways to combat this imbalance for both the over-stressed and pre-menopausal woman.

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*See a Physician – Do not rely on self – diagnosis, it’s best to speak with a doctor about your memory concerns.  I suggest keeping a journal that contains vital information such as: types of things you forget, your diet, your sleep patterns and your daily activities, all these things play apart in adding stress.

*Eat Brain Foods- Eat Smart for a Healthier Brain,” lists brain foods that promote healthier brain activity: Blueberries, Wild Salmon, Nuts and seeds, Avocados and Whole grains like oatmeal and brown rice are branded as “smart’ foods, with the abilities to increase your chances of maintaining a healthy brain/memory.

*There’s An App for that – In the age of the “Smart Phone,” there are Apps for everything, including memory games.  Lumosity is known for its brain training games and there are many  other Apps to choose from that will get your memory back in tip top shape.

*Get those Zzz’s – According to the National Institutes of Health, “sleep is important for storing memories.”  The article, “How Sleep Clears the Brain,” also states that sleep has a restorative function, and that the lack of sleep impairs reasoning, problem solving, and attention to detail.

Now I can go on with more information about how to fight against stress related memory loss, but the key is to treat your brain like your body: Exercise it, Nourish it, give it rest and you stand the chance of at least being able to find your  car keys in the morning.

Written By Ricki Jae. Morris: “Since of Style Need Not Make Sense,” is her motto.  This Southern Cali Girl is not opposed to standing out in the name of Fashion & Art. As a mother of a 4-year old daughter, she strives to set an example of “Success with Class,” by always being a lady and staying true to self.  In her spare time, Ricki Jae. Blogs about Fashion Designers and Events.

 

A Circle for Success

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In the article, “Be The Star of Your Own Life,” we encouraged you to make yourself the leading lady in your life for 2014.  Now that we are halfway through the second month of the New Year, I would like to revisit one of the points made in our life star article:

  • Encouraging Relationships – It is important to have relationships that push you to better yourself.  Remember, “Birds of a feather flock together” (Be The Star of Your Own Life). 

The women in the last article expressed a strong belief in the value of social relationships that inspire and support you in your life’s aspirations.  The well-known quote “No Man is an Island,” is based on the concept that “human beings don’t thrive when isolated from others.” Nevertheless, you must keep in mind that the key element is picking the right people to create your “Circle for Success.”

Art Enthusiast and Mentor Deborah Charles, 61, who has done everything from Modeling to orchestrating successful art exhibits in honor of her late husband, photographer and author Roland Charles, accredits some of her biggest achievements to her circle of supportive friends. “I’ve been blessed with people, who no matter what I’m involved in they support it,” said Charles.   One of Charles’ life goals is to serve her needs and the needs of others, with such an honorable but challenging endeavor, one must be discerning in the choice of the company they keep.

“…Observe and listen…learn how they would be meaningful to your life,” explained Charles, on her methods for choosing beneficial relationships.  In addition, Charles said those in her social circle have a spirit of gratefulness, a willingness to share their friends, and have similar interest. For her,  the icing on the cake is “people who will speak up for you. ”

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If putting yourself out there to meet new people is a little intimidating, you might join an organized group such as clubs based on your interests or cultural group.  For instance, just last month sororities were celebrating the anniversaries of their organizations, and pictures of women united by their sorority affiliation were all over social media. Who you are is a great place to start when deciding which groups you might want to join.

Middle school english teacher, Aquyla Walker, 32, who is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Inc., says being a member of the prestigious sorority offers a sisterhood with women of high stature. “I am surrounded by women (who) already have achievements,” said Walker. Sororities are known to be networks of educated women, who work towards the betterment of the community and its members.   Being affiliated with such organizations puts you in the environment of upward mobility. “It is the best…I have received jobs because my resume says Delt Sigma Theta Inc,” exclaimed Walker. In addition, Walker says her social circle outside of Delta, is composed of dreamers and visionaries, who are in constant pursuit of their goals. “I believe in having a network of mentors… my friends are people who say, ‘No you [got to] do it’.”

Equally important to the meet, greet, and be-friending process, the golden rule to maintaining positive relationships, is to stay connected.  In an age of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, we have to remember a little face to face time can go a long way. Make the time to nurture your relationships, so in turn they too can nurture you.

Written By Ricki Jae. Morris: “Since of Style Need Not Make Sense,” is her motto.  This Southern Cali Girl is not opposed to standing out in the name of Fashion & Art. As a mother of a 4-year old daughter, she strives to set an example of “Success with Class,” by always being a lady and staying true to self.  In her spare time, Ricki Jae. Blogs about Fashion Designers and Events.

Be The Star of Your Life

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BE THE STAR OF YOUR LIFE: Living everyday as your best self.

Every year we look towards its finish, by aiming to have a better year.   We make “Resolutions,” for self-betterment, in hopes of having a successful 2000-whatever.  This year, U Blush would like to encourage you to “Be the star of your own life,” by striving to be what you envision as your best self.  In order to provide you with some pointers, we have interviewed three women from different walks of life, and asked them to describe the best version of themselves, providing examples of how they embody this everyday.

“I know my weaknesses, and I know my strengths,” answered Ayla Jackson, 25, when asked if she is currently her “Best Version of Self.”  Ms. Jackson with a shy giggle described the best version of her, as a woman who patterns the life after her faith in Christ.  “He set the best example.  I don’t believe I am as close to him, but I try to better myself…that’s all I can do,” said Jackson.

Similarly, Bree Jenkins, 29, who is both a Marriage & Family Therapist and Fashion Blogger of The Gathered Lady, said her best self is something she aspires to be, but she does realize that it will always be somewhat unattainable. Following Ms. Jenkins, Clinical Social Worker and Mother of two, Mrs. Valerie White, 31, said she is about an 8 out of 10 of her best self.

The Best You

So how can you become the best version of yourself? Here are some trending standards for living life as your “Best Self.”

  • Spiritual Connectedness- “Spiritual exercise … strengthens you, disciplining your mind so that love and love only guides your thinking and illumines your heart.” – Marianne Williamson (Internationally acclaimed author and lecturer)

“I make sure he’s included in my life,” said Jackson who indicated that she turns to her faith to overcome life’s obstacles.

  • Encouraging Relationships- It is important to have relationships that push you to better yourself.  Remember, “Birds of a feather flock together.”

“You have to monitor and make sure that the relationships that you are engaging yourself are …for self-enhancement,” said Jenkins.

“Surround yourself with people who do what you want to do…go getter’s,” said White.  “If everyone around you sits and just talks about what they want to do, then you are most likely going to be the same way…. Be with people, who are successful in a way you want to be.”

  • Be Good To YOU- The best thing you can do to be your “Best Self,” is to take care of you.  If you are not healthy there’s no way you will be able to help others, or even yourself succeed.

“Talk nice to yourself,” said White. She chooses to speak with nurturing and encouraging words, instead of those that would tear her down.  In addition, White encourages a healthy lifestyle along with your occasional and affordable spa day.

  • Plan to Succeed – Many are turned off by the phrase “New Year’s Resolutions,” so instead of making a list of resolutions, make a plan for living your life completely and as your “Best Self.”

“The first step is, I have to believe in myself,” said White.  Her credo is failure is not a reflection of your [lack] of greatness, it’s a reflection of your preparation.  So write it out, and make your plan of action to succeed.

Each woman we interviewed felt as if they were not yet their best selves, but in actuality because they live their lives today striving to be better, they are indeed their “Best Self.” The best you is the person who, lives through her passions, loves without fear, and knows she is worth it all. Be Your Star Today.

Written By Ricki Jae. Morris: “Since of Style Need Not Make Sense,” is her motto.  This Southern Cali Girl is not opposed to standing out in the name of Fashion & Art. As a mother of a 4-year old daughter, she strives to set an example of “Success with Class,” by always being a lady and staying true to self.  In her spare time, Ricki Jae. Blogs about Fashion Designers and Events.

 

Have Sunshine During The Winter Gloom

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Tis the season to be Gloomy?  Unfortunately, for some people this is the case.  When the sun no longer shines as bright, and friends and family disappear into the holiday cheer of their families, there are some who are left alone to deal with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

“A lot of my clients, they are struggling when the holidays come around,” said Complete Game Plan, Therapist, Todd Deutsch, MFT.  “…They’re feeling overwhelmed because of the lack of family involvement, (or perhaps they lost their loved ones) it could be a very troubling time.”  Deutsch is a licensed therapist, counselor, life consultant, educator, and mentor who works with both adults and children struggling with a diversity of issues.

WebMD describes Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), as a mood disorder that happens every year at the same time. The most common time of the year that this occurs is the during winter months.  SAD happens more often in women than in men, and can start as a teenager or as an adult.  This happiness stealing disorder is triggered by: Insufficient vitamin D caused by the lack of sunlight exposure, due to the longer winter nights.

In spite of the lowered amount of access to the feel good rays of the sun, or the bright smiles of family, there are still ways to maintain your inner sunshine during the winter gloom.  Listed are some tips from Mr. Deutsch.

  1. Imitation to sunlight. Since the winter wants to take away our sunshine, bring the sunlight back with a lamp that replicates the suns natural light.  There are many types to choose from, some lamps even mimic the suns natural twelve-hour cycle, so you feel like everyday is a beautiful sun-shinny-day.
  2. Work it out. It may be cold and dreary out, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a couch potato.  Get up and put some pep in your step by joining a workout class or working out in the comfort of your own home.   In an article called Power Surge: The Hidden Benefits of Exercise, it says that research has shown that as little as 30 minutes of cardio three to five days a week will add six years to your life.  A longer healthier life can boost anyone’s mood!
  3. Call on your inner yogi. Stretch, breathe and let go of all your worries and tension, with the relaxing movements of Yoga.  When you release the tension of your muscles, you also release clusters of stress built up in your body and brain.
  4. Surround yourself with love.  When you’re busy laughing and enjoying an outing with friends, or any supportive group of people, there’s no way you will have time to focus on sadness.  Elementary school faculty worker, Gloria VanVactor, says she enjoys being around her sisters during the holiday season, especially when they sing holiday songs together.  Mrs. VanVactor has dealt with SAD since the passing of her Mother and Husband and finds comfort in the presence of family and friends.
  5. Depression-fighting Vita-D.  Give your body the mood-stabilizing boost of vitamin D.  There are many ways to get vitamin D: You can take supplements, cod liver oil or you can get it from certain foods and beverages (e.g., fatty fish, milk or orange juice.)
  6. Positives subtract negatives.  “You is kind, you is smart, you is important,” as said so eloquently by Aibileen Clark (Viola Davis), in the hit film The Help. “Typically, (with) depression and anxiety, it’s all about reducing the negative thoughts we have about ourselves,” said Deutsch.  “(It’s) positive emotion…instead of negative.”
  7. The eye of the tiger.  There is happiness and strength in your naturally born talents. “Finding things that you do well and like to do…reinforce a positive side (of you,)” said Deutsch.  So if you are a writer write, if you are a physical person get physical and so on.  Bringing out the best part of you is happiness in itself.
  8. Give The Best Gifts.   Holiday shopping can be stressful, especially during a recession, but the best gifts aren’t necessarily those that affect your pocket book.  Use your talents we mentioned above, and give a gift reflective of you.  Remember those clay handprints you made for Mom & Dad, when the concept of money was foreign to you? That title token of love was probably one of their favorites gifts.

Todd Deutsch’s Complete Game Plan counseling center is located in Los Angeles, CA. Visit his website for more information about his program. Remember, Tis the season to be Jolly.

Written By Ricki Jae. Morris: “Since of Style Need Not Make Sense,” is her motto.  This Southern Cali Girl is not opposed to standing out in the name of Fashion & Art. As a mother of a 4-year old daughter, she strives to set an example of “Success with Class,” by always being a lady and staying true to self.  In her spare time, Ricki Jae. Blogs about Fashion Designers and Events.

 

 

 

 

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