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.
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.
*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.