Stress & Memory

Have you noticed how easy it is to forget things these days? When the mind is overwhelmed with sensory stimulation (and these days, who’s isn’t?) short term memory is compromised, sometimes greatly! Simply stated, everybody, regardless of their age, seems to be having beaucoup “senior moments.” Experts suggest that technology doesn’t really help much with memory retention. People who use GPS devices often become too reliant on them for second and third trips to the same place, rather than committing the route to memory. Google, the bottomless pit of information, makes retrieval so easy that people often fail to remember what they looked up knowing they can return to look it up again. Spell check is has made everybody lazy spellers. And…anyone who has lost their cell phone call tell you the horrors of not committing phone numbers to memory. As it turns out, memory, particularly short-term memory, is one of the first casualties of stress. When the mind is focus on fight or flight, even at the unconscious level, this is where all one’s attention is really focused. Everything else is deemed useless. So, when you combine a stressed lifestyle with abundant use of technology, it would stand to reason that one’s memory can be greatly compromised. This in turn, can create more stress, and the cycle just keeps turning. Memory, more specifically, memorization, is just one facet of mental well-being: The ability to gather, process, recall and communication information.

• Stress Tip For The Day:
How is your memory these days? Is your youg life filled with senior moments? Time for some mental gymnastics! To keep a sharp mind, make it a point to work on your short term memory: Memorize people’s phone numbers. Memorize your credit card number. Memorize lyrics to a new song or a favorite poem. There are stories of people in survival situations who tapped into the power of memorization (e.g., mathematical problems, violin concertos, etc.) and credit this skill with saving their lives. The brain is the mind’s first organ of choice, so take good care of the grey matter between your ears, including avoiding toxins like Aspartame and MSG. Fish oils (Omega 3’s and 6’s) are really good for brain cells, too. And the latest research suggests that regular cardiovascular physical exercise is excellent, not only for physical health, but mental well-being as well; including improving memory.

• Links/Books/Movies Worth Noting:
If you have an interest in learning more about improving memory, please check out these websites:

• Quote for the Day:
One of the first things I had to memorize in school was Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken. I can still recite it 45 year later…, so in honor of all the great teachers who taught (and teach) memorization as a form of mental well-being, here goes:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Photo of the Day:
With another group trip to Ireland scheduled in June (16-26), Dan (our musical troubadour) and I are going to learn some new Irish ballads (and that will require some strong memorization skills, believe me!) In honor of this feat, today’s image is a photo of the rocks of Slea Head on the Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, Ireland. Enjoy!

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Brian Luke Seaward

Author Brian Luke Seaward

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