Have you ever placed a cup of steaming hot coffee on your car roof — and then driven off with coffee spilling down your back windshield? Or do you get up, walk into another room and can’t remember what you were looking for? As Msnbc.com reports, memory lapses are completely normal and the result of a simple brain glitch. But lucky for us, there are some easy ways to gently remind ourselves of facts forgotten.
People are plagued by memory loses at all ages, be they harried teenagers, new mothers, or active retirees. Memory lapses are usually simply the result of a misfire in the memory maps in our minds. Experts note that some memory lapses happen when you see something out of context. For example, seeing a local grocery store cashier at your favorite restaurant might inspire a “don’t I know you?” moment. But because you’re not surrounded by your usual memory cues, your brain gets momentarily confused.
Memory is made in the hippocampus in our brains. This component of the brain controls inhibition, memory and space. Experts agree that the hippocampus is where we form new memories about experienced events. We do so by making mental maps of memory — and in some cases, new memories can block old ones. If you memorize a new password, you may not be able to remember the old one, as the new memory will block the old.
Then there are the times when we walk into a room and forget why we are there. Dr. Larry McCleary is author of “Feed your Brain, Lose your Belly.” As he told Msnbc.com, “It’s usually because your brain was focused on the first task and you shifted focus to other tasks, or you multitasked or you broadened your focus.” In other words, our brains lapse when we multi-focus — generally not because we have Alzheimer’s or a brain tumor.
Experts also suggest creating visuals to help you remember minor things, like a person’s name or where you parked. Meet someone named Laura who has pretty hair? Think of her as Laura Lovely Locks. Parking your car while rushing into the grocery store? Take a moment to imprint where you are. We have to encode a memory first in our brains if we expect to remember it.
And most importantly? Relax. Generally, memory gaps are extremely common and usually the result of stress and fatigue. Elizabeth Lombardo is a psychologist and the author of "A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness." As she told Yahoo Health, “The best tip to improve your memory is: Reduce your stress. Research shows that when people experience chronic stress, their hippocampus — the part of your brain that is responsible for some memories — literally shrinks in size.”
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