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.

 

Managing Your Anger

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Some of us may have we grown up thinking that anger is a bad thing– we were told to stifle our anger and to hide it. On the opposite end, some of us express our anger every time we feel it, sometimes with lasting negative consequences. Despite its expression, anger itself is adaptive. It lets us know when something is not right and provides an opportunity for us to correct the issue. The problem is not being angry, it is what we do with that anger.
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Anger becomes a problem when it is not properly dealt with. I like to think of anger expression on a spectrum– from explosive to repressive. You will note that both ends of the spectrum can be destructive. When you are explosive you react to your anger in exaggerated ways. Your anger response is so overly excited that you are easily triggered and which can lead to numerous verbal and physical altercations.
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On the opposite end, having an inhibited anger response may mean that you try to repress your anger and avoid expressing it. When something angers you, you tend keep it in. The problem is that you can never truly keep emotions locked in. It festers and eats away at you– it might build up so much that one day the slightest transgression can lead you explode to in rage.
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The key to anger is acknowledging it and expressing it appropriately. You must first note that you are angry and accept the feeling. Think about what has angered you and decide an appropriate course of action. People who have anger problems tend to respond the same way. Since different situations anger you– your response should be in accordance to that situation. Once you have decided and carried out the course of action to remedy the problem, always reflect and evaluate what has happened. What was your response? Did the outcome match what you expected? Are you still angry?  What, if anything, could have been done differently?

Recession Lessons

                                

How does one get their dream job in this era?  Create it! Although economic times have become more difficult for the average American, with the right ingenuity and business savvy one can create a business venture from just about any hobby or interest. If the recession has taught us anything it has taught us to:

  1. Hustle (legally). Never just rely on one job for your livelihood. Have multiple streams of income so that when one income source dries up you have other sources to offset the loss of income.
  2. Save! Always have money put away for a rainy day. You never know when you will need it. You should always have a six-month emergency fund.
  3. Take Calculated Risks. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. If you have an idea of how to make money, don’t hold onto it. Take the risk to start your own enterprise and don’t be afraid of rejection or failure. Every “no” means you are one step closer to a “yes.” It only takes one opportunity to move your business into the green.

To all our lovelies, go out and live your dreams, if not you’ll stand by and watch someone else do it. Be empowered!

Perfect Patty

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“Perfect Patty messed up” The words of Janet Jackson’s character Dr. Patricia from Why Did I Get Married Too?

Like Patricia, many of us live our lives as if everything is great. We put on this perfect façade. Everything is okay on the outside but in reality we suffer in silence.

I’m reminded of a conversation I had with a friend and for lack of a better pseudonym this person will just be “FRIEND”. We were discussing a time in my life when I really needed someone but FRIEND was not there for me. FRIEND’S response was “You’re strong, I knew you would be okay.” My response “But I don’t want to be strong all the time. Sometimes I want to ‘be weak’.”

This notion of strength and weakness is interesting. What are they, really? Often we are working so hard to be “strong” that we forget strength is recognizing when things are not okay. Strength to me is not being fearless or tearless, it’s allowing your self to feel the range of emotions that encompass our lives. Being strong means being honest with yourself and other people. It means asking for help when you need it. Often the difference between contentment and suffering is not the presence or lack of pain. It’s the acceptance of it.

The individualistic values of American society push us towards success but sometimes it can have its downside if we are not able to express or even own that inside we are not okay. In Patricia’s case she was a successful psychologist who’s identity was so wrapped up in helping others, being their rock during hard times that she forget about her self. She couldn’t properly mourn the death of her son because she would not allow her self to feel. She avoided her emotions and pushed away the only other person who might be able to share her pain, her husband. Instead she was “strong”. She kept working and doing, inhibiting the grief process, which ultimately cost the couple their marriage. As you can see rugged individualism can have some devastating effects. Can anyone relate?

Mental health is important. But there is this stigma attached to it. Recently the death of Feminista author Erika Kennedy struck me because her cause of death was due to “depression.” But what does this really mean?

About 14.8 million (6.7% of) Americans over age 18 deal with major depression each year. Every 15 minutes a person in this country commits suicide. We can’t be silent anymore. It’s time to speak. People walk around everyday like everything is going well yet hurting on the inside. I think Tupac says it best “dying on the inside but outside looking fearless.”

We (humans) are social animals. Made to be around other people. We need to feel connected and loved by others. It’s just how we are wired. Understanding, care, and compassion can have a major impact on a person’s health and well-being.

Lets break the silence. Even superwoman needs a friend.

Worry Wart

If worrying can not add one second to our life, why do we do it so much?

Anxiety impacts about 18% of adults 18 and older, an estimated 40 million Americans. We are anxious about paying rent, getting a good grade, buying a car, going on a date. Let’s face it we can spend our time worrying on just about anything. But really what will this do for us? Will it give us the money to pay a bill? Can worrying write a paper for you or take you out on a date? No! In most cases worrying may actually inhibit our ability to take care of many of the responsibilities that induce worrying in the first place; creating a never ending cycle of anxiety. Let’s break the cycle! Here are few tips to put your worries at ease:

  1. Putting the day to rest: Once you get home, relax and take your mind off of the worries of the day. Don’t think about them until it’s time to actually address the issue. IE. NO RUMINATION lovelies!
  2. Breathing: Take a deep breath in, and a LONG breath out. Say “calm” or “peace” to your self in your head.
  3. Cognitive Restructuring: Stop Negative Thoughts! Let’s think positively lovelies.
  4. Faith: When you believe that things will work out, it eases your worries. Despite things looking bleak, have faith that the issue at hand will get better.

Please share your own personal tips that help to ease your worries!

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