Long-term memory loss can be controlled with proper attention and discipline, so protect yourself using several approaches to make it easier to retain information.
- TIP: Serious loss of long-term memory is the result of either traumatic brain injury or a neurodegenerative disease, and may not respond to conscious attempts to recall.
- Step 1: See your physician for a physical to check for drug interactions that could affect memory, a B-12 deficiency, or blood clots. Determine the problem and at least eliminate the damaging stress that comes from worrying.
- Step 2: Exercise and eat well, taking pharmaceutical grade fish oil, which contains Omega-3 fatty acids that are good for the heart and the mind. Give yourself a fighting chance.
- FACT: Researchers with the Mayo Clinic and the Arizona Alzheimer's Consortium announced a study in 2009 that determined supposedly normal memory loss, between 55 and 60 years of age, could be a precursor for preclinical Alzheimer's disease.
- Step 3: Program yourself positively, reinforcing that you have a good memory. Telling yourself you have a bad memory has been proven to hamper memory.
- Step 4: Read aloud or recite rhythmically, to remember things. Relate information by colors, textures, smells, or tastes to better imprint it on your brain for later retrieval.
- TIP: Though researchers still debate whether the hippocampus acts as a temporary store for new information or manages the process of converting short-term memories to long-term, it is essential in making new memories.
- Step 5: Limit your stress and damaging attacks of cortisol that threaten mental equilibrium. If you don't learn to relax, stress hormones continue doing damage long after, compromising memory and learning.
- Step 6: Avoid mind-altering drugs, which can adversely affect memory. Limit or eliminate alcohol use, which disrupts brain function, and ultimately, memory.
- Step 7: Pay attention to everything around you, consciously committing things to memory. It may take as little as eight seconds of concentration to retain a piece of information.
- Step 8: Get enough sleep to protect against long-term memory loss. The sleeping brain may retain memories by replaying the day's events like video clips to transform them into long-term memories.