Losing your memory is scary.
Most patients over about 60 eventually confess to fear about memory loss. Their concern is so widespread I find myself talking about daily. So… I’ve been doing some research…
The latest developments are fascinating. Today I’ll share a new idea about this age-old problem.
One new understanding is that the aging of your brain doesn’t affect every part of your memory in the same way.
Think of your memory as a pyramid with three levels. At the top of the pyramid is your “abstract ideas” section. This is where you store your beliefs about the world. It’s also your ability to draw logical conclusions. This section is not badly affected by age. Even if you can’t remember your name, you’re likely to remember your core beliefs about life’s big questions.
The middle of the pyramid is where your general knowledge and the bulk of your general memories are stored. This is also where your skill sets reside. An example would be your talent for cabinet making, fly fishing or your knowledge of diesel engines. This section of your mind is likewise protected from most of the common effects of aging.
It’s the bottom layer or foundation of your memory pyramid that gets hit the hardest. This is the region of your personal stories and individual episodic memories. When memory loss starts to break you down, you may remember how to fly fish, but huge sections of your life’s events will be gone.
This means your memory of your personal life story is the most threatened. What could be scarier?
To protect yourself against this loss of your most personal possession, you can use this very effective strategy – Simply record your autobiography. You don’t have to write a book about your life.
It goes something like this… (You can try this on your own.)
• Make a life chart: Create a timeline of your life, charted with the major events that occurred during your life. If you wish, you can add the major world, national or local events that happened at the same time periods.
• Have a collection of personal recollections: This is in the form of your autobiographical notes, which you write or dictate and re-read from time to time.
• Tell and re-tell important stories about your life: This is what people did in the old days before TV, Internet and cell phones.
• Talk to others: Find a group of friends with the aim of telling life stories or reading from your autobiographical notes on a regular basis.
The results of this research is promising. People who maintain a clear grasp of their life stories are far less likely to suffer from memory loss and the other degenerative effects of aging, like Alzheimer’s.
To find out more I have a great resource. You can go to Learning Strategies and get your own system for charting your life and many other memory improvement techniques by clicking HERE.
I find their approach to be both innovative and highly effective. And it doesn’t feel like a chore.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD