You’ve probably come across terms like “memory”, “short-term memory,”, “long-term memory”, and so on, at some point in your life – even if you are not a psychology student or a psychologist.
Most of us know how vital memory is to our everyday life, perhaps because we have had loved ones suffer from diseases like Alzheimer’s, or we struggle with memory problems ourselves. But I do not want to discuss specific memory problems. Instead, I want to remind you all of the best ways to protect your memory’s health. I believe it has been lost like a diamond in the ocean and left there with no one to pick it up.
We must give special attention to our memory and study it as a subject that is linked to numerous other mental disorders. But why is this important? You probably already agree with this notion. Someone might immediately respond, “Of course! Memory is essential and a vital component of our mind, brain, and cognition.” In reality, memory has been studied for a long time, but we have failed to comprehend its connection to mental disorders and even everyday struggles that aren’t necessarily linked to disorders, given its overall role in our cognition and consciousness.
Extensive research highlights the significance of memory in depression and its malfunction in the mild and early stages of dementia. But this is not the complete picture. What about the negative impact of memory on the minds and behaviours of people with ADHD? One might wonder, “In what ways does memory hinder and damage individuals with ADHD?” This brings me to my point. I believe that even mild forms of memory dysfunctions or dysregulations, whether caused by diseases or brain structure damage, can impact not only mental disorders but also the behaviour of individuals who are struggling in various ways.
Let me provide a straightforward explanation, which differs from the exaggerated examples that often come to mind, usually inspired by Hollywood films that portray false memories. The reality is that memories have a profound influence on human learning, which can significantly impact mental disorders and behaviours by reinforcing them in various ways. I am not promoting or representing any particular behavioural theories, but merely stating established facts.
You might be wondering in what ways memories can impact learning. It has been proven that even repeating a simple task, such as reading a newspaper page, which was initially challenging, can influence how you perceive that task in the future. For instance, if you read the news when you are feeling hungry or tired, your brain may perceive it as a difficult task in the future.
Inattentiveness is often combined with unpleasant experiences and can be reinforced by poor treatment from elders or anyone dealing with children with ADHD. Unfortunately, nowadays, these children are often quickly labelled and analysed strictly from a chemical perspective in the brain. Mental disorders such as ADHD, depression, OCD, aggression, or any other mental health issues are often understood without taking into consideration the effects of memory.
It’s essential to remember that even if we receive positive feedback once or multiple times, it can deceive us, which is another aspect of memory. Overestimating our abilities is a prime example of this.
This topic is pretty complicated and requires some thought before we jump in. But before I finish, I want to stress the significance of dealing with even mild memory dysfunction. As mentioned earlier, it can cause harmful delusions that affect our daily decision-making. So it’s essential to take action before things get out of hand.
Now that I’ve shared my thoughts, it’s important not to overlook the simple and effective methods that can help us maintain and enhance our memory. Neglecting these techniques in the pursuit of cognitive excellence would be a missed opportunity, as they can significantly contribute to keeping our minds sharp.
- Control your stress levels. It’s a common suggestion, but it’s worth reminding you that an unbalanced diet and excessive caffeine consumption can also lead to stress.
- Take supplements with the doctor’s advice. While supplements are not magic solutions, some herbs and omega-3 fatty acids can be helpful if used wisely under the guidance of a doctor.
- Get enough sleep. Sleep is not only essential but also crucial for the health of your brain and memory. Make sure you get enough sleep on a regular and disciplined basis.
- Challenge your brain. Playing games can certainly help improve your brain and memory, but playing more challenging games can stimulate your brain to grow. Your IQ may not change, but new connections can be made to keep your memory sharp.
Memory is crucial for our everyday life, but its connection to mental disorders is often overlooked. Memory dysfunction can harm decision-making and reinforce negative behaviours. Even mild memory issues can impact individuals struggling with ADHD and other mental disorders.
Simple techniques can help maintain and enhance memory, such as controlling stress levels, taking supplements under a doctor’s advice, getting enough sleep, and challenging your brain. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and regular exercise are also crucial for mental health and memory. Protect your memory for a sharper, healthier mind.
It’s not just beneficial, but also essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle and engage in regular exercise for your mental health and memory. Our memory is not merely a cognitive tool, but a vital foundation of our perception that we all rely on.
Kian Zehtabian is a psychology graduate mental health advocate.