By Barbara Bishop
Everyone has memory blips from time to time – the word that’s on the very tip of your tongue or the house keys that aren’t where you swear you left them. As we get older, these kinds of slip-ups may happen more often.
For me, remembering names is the worst. I look at a person and name them a different name based upon what name I think they look like.
Bad practice. For example, I was calling out to a guy named Paul, (in reality his name was Steve). I called out his name several times. He didn’t turn around. My associate reminded me that his name was Steve. When I called the name Steve, he turned around. It was funny at the time, but not so funny long term.
For years now, if I don’t write everything down, chances are I will forget something. God help me if I lose my laptop.
I went on line, looking for some help. Web MD to the rescue! I found out that we don’t have to resign ourselves to memory loss. There are simple steps can help keep our brains sharp.
- Step It Up
A 30-minute daily walk is one of the best things you can do for your body, including your brain. Web MD reports that physical exercise has the best evidence for preserving memory and mental function with aging. (Thank goodness I have a dog to help me stay on track with the walks.)
- Go Mediterranean
Web MD says a healthy diet is always good for your brain. One eating style may save your memory best. The Mediterranean diet consists of lots of fruits and vegetables, fish and olive oil. (Need a little work here, says the “Chicago meat and potato” gal. That’s me.)
- Engage Your Brain
Web MD suggests playing cards, joining a book club, watching a football game with friends, or playing a brain-training app. Any mentally challenging activity will keep your mind sharp. (Really? Watching a football game? So does that mean that armchair athletes have better memory?)
- Stay Social
The more social connections someone has, the better they are at preserving mental function and memory. (I have 4,000 connections on Facebook, 2500 connections on LinkedIn. Does that count?)
- Sleep Right.
Avoid big meals before bed.
Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning. Don’t drink caffeine or alcohol close to bedtime. (This would work just fine if my dog didn’t want to play with me at 2 a.m. every morning. But she’s so cute…)
- Stop Stress
Being under stress is very bad for your brain, Web MD warns. High levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, make it harder to pull information from your brain’s memory. Try different ways to relax, like meditation, yoga, or massage.
Meditation: check. Yoga: check. Massage: check. Much easier than that Mediterranean Diet.