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Can Short Term Memory Be Boosted? Yes, If You Know How.

Can Short Term Memory Be Boosted? Yes, If You Know How.

Short Term Memory is the medical term to define active memory, meaning the information we are aware we are thinking about. Sources for acquiring short-term memory are mostly sensorial, as what can be hearing, smells or sight.

Examples of short term memory:

• Remembering a phone number we recently read

• Distinguishing between perfumes aromas

• Recalling a concept explained during a debate

• Remembering where you placed an object

However, short term memory is highly susceptible to interference. There are a certain number of factors that can reduce our capability of retaining information in our short term memory:

• Stress

• Medical conditions as Alzheimer’s Disease

• Audiovisual interferences (television, radio)

• Needing to focus our attention someplace else

Therefore, short term memory is also our operative memory to compel the tasks acquired in daily life. When negative factors undermine our capability of retaining information, it is time to consider what can be done to boost it, the sooner, the better.

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How does short term memory loss affect your lifestyle

Putting aside complex medical conditions like Alzheimer’s Disease, more likely we have been subject of temporary short-term memory performance struggles at a certain point in our lives.

Using, for example, a common day in the life of a bank employee, we can understand the magnitude of suffering from this condition by imagining the amount of numbers and names that a person working in this profession needs to store over a single day. From your client inquiries to helping co-workers or doing tasks assigned by your manager, people will likely consider unfit to perform the job you are entitled to if you need to ask every 1 or 2 minutes the information you were given.

Of course “camouflage methods” can be used to mask this condition, such as writing down data in post-its, which nobody will consider a sin, or keep important information on your agenda. Reality tells that as soon as you become aware of this condition, the stress it produces is likely to enhance the problem rather than helping to find a solution in short-term unless professional help is sought.

Symptoms of short term memory loss

Unfortunately for most people, memory loss conditions are often addressed after the illness is at a very advanced stage, but is there a way to spot the condition beforehand?

Common symptoms associated with short-term memory loss are:

Cognitive Decline: A condition usually shared with Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia and many other mental issues, it becomes progressively impairing, which often causes an enormous amount of frustration to the person who starts to address what’s happening. Daily routines tend to get mixed up as people may forget to take medications, pay bills or attend events.

Behavioural Changes: As a consequence of the cognitive decline, people become extremely susceptible of what others do, especially if, by chance, they mention the forgetfulness factor during chit-chat. What’s known as living on-edge is a precise way to define how a person struggling with short term memory loss is experiencing during that time.

Repetitiveness: By not acknowledging how the conversation is occurring, people suffering from memory loss conditions can fall under repetitiveness when asking the same questions over and over. Recent conversations can be forgotten, thus leading to repeat the same anecdotes to those around us. That’s the main reason why people who have friends or family members suffering from this condition are told to have a good amount of patience for not adding extra stress to the patient’s life.

Why does short memory loss happen

Science tells short term memory loss is mostly a multi-factor condition, though certain events can trigger an underlying condition to impair a person momentarily. This sole statement can be the reason why post-traumatic stress disorder3 becomes such a cliché when comes to TV series that touch the memory span loss topic as a crucial part to tell a story.

Besides emotional conditions like experiencing traumatic events as car accidents, the death of someone we cared about or acute stress conditions, there are other elements to consider when searching for the cause of short term memory loss:

• Depression

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• Cancer

• Brain Tumors

• Dementia

• Diabetes

• Head Trauma

• HIV/AIDS

• Malnutrition

• Menopause

• Hypothyroidism

• Meningitis

• Nutritional deficiencies

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• Parkinson’s Disease

• Sleep Disorders

• Syphilis

• Toxin exposure

Substance abuse – alcohol and drugs deadly mixes – are a common cause for producing memory impairment4, which, unfortunately, is usually seen in young people after heavy partying; however, some drugs to treat conditions lead to temporary memory issues as a side effect.

How to boost your short term memory

There are many reasons why somebody would seek for a way to boost their current short term memory capabilities: either to mask a worse condition among the people we care or because we need to put our skills to test under stressful situations like business meetings, moving around airports, doing presentations, etc. So, is there an effective method to boost short term memory?5 Consider the following statements as tips to improve this aspect of our life.

Start with a healthy brain lifestyle

We are what we eat, but not also that resumes what we need to focus if our aim is to change our lifestyle. Sleeping habits take an important role when talking about memory efficiency [1] since the brain doesn’t get enough time to rest when we get accustomed to sleeping less than 8 hours a day.

Stick to a healthy diet rich on “superfoods”6 like blueberries, oily fish, dark chocolate, garlic, broccoli, beetroot, almonds, etc. Reduce the processed and sugary foods like pastries as extra carbohydrates won’t add much value to your life. So next time you think of consuming Coke as a drink, why not switch to a cup of green tea?

You can also get help from appropriate brain supplements like ALCAR, Alpha GPC, Citicoline, Ginseng (the American one – Panax Ginseng) or Magnesium. But overall, what you need to consider is to engage in physical activity like 1 hour of daily walks and reducing stress from your life [2], it’s a brain cell killer!

Adapt mental exercises to your lifestyle

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There is a reason for mental stimulating games like puzzles, rubric cubes, chess or even math exercises, and the reason is you train your brain to cope with the following elements:

• Avoiding distractions (as short-term memory is extremely susceptive to it)

• Do one task at time (multitasking is just a myth that often hurts our brain)

• Increase concentration levels

If you don’t know how to play chess or you suck at maths, there are other ways to help your brain to keep fit. Video games have been taking the path of self-help for users, becoming much more than a time-taking entertainment, but also rehearsal always work: repeat aloud what you want to remember a certain amount of times and be sure it’s prone to stick.

Write down what you need to remember

The sole action of writing down either number of pieces of text helps the brain to process that information. This is the main reason why students are advised not to highlight their books like there is no tomorrow but to note down the concepts explained.

Take a break

Adding stress to your life is not only not going to help you to improve but is prone to worsen what you already are suffering from. Instead, whenever you feel exhausted or think you can’t cope with what’s in front of you, take a break from everything and seek the outside world. A walk from time to time benefits not only your health but also your mental abilities.

When everything else fails, there is coffee

Studies prove the benefits of caffeine on short-term memory and reaction times, which is considered the sole reason why nearly 80 percent of people start their daily routines with a cup of coffee.

Habit or not, drinking coffee will certainly put the couch potato mood aside and get us focused on working and processing information. Watch out! Don’t overdo your coffee dosage or consistently rely on energy beverages as increased anxiety, tachycardia and gastritis are among the most usual side effects of caffeine abuse.

Reference

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Liz Ryana

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Published on November 28, 2018

How to Do Meditation at Home to Calm Your Anxious Mind

How to Do Meditation at Home to Calm Your Anxious Mind

The woman in yoga pants sitting in a lotus position atop a rocky cliff, overlooking a valley draped in fog — this is the glamorized version of meditation you’ll come across as you search. Yet if you’re seeking meditation to calm your mind, a fantastic setting with no distractions is rarely available.

So how to do meditation?

The truth about meditation is it’s an everyday practice for anybody. You could be a mountain climber or you could be an accountant — either way, your home is just as good a place for meditation as any.

Are you seeking to corral your racing thoughts and relieve a sense of unease, awkwardness, or uncertainty? Look to home meditation to cultivate a laid-back, creative, confident, and organized frame of mind. According to extensive scientific research, meditation relieves stress and anxiety, decreases blood pressure, improves sleep, and improves your ability to pay attention. [1]

From start to finish, this article will give you quick, easy steps to follow so that you can meditate at home regularly. You’ll begin by assessing, identifying and altering things that need to change in your home environment. You’ll end by understanding the basics of meditation so that you can let yourself do what you already know how to do deep down in the hidden reality of your mind.

You’re ready to let your mind be, and just be, in your own home — let’s begin.

1. Find the Right Space in Your Home

Where is your right space for meditation at home? Is it in your basement, your bedroom, your living room, or your study?

The right space will be one with the least distractions built in to its purpose. In that case, it may be your bedroom. If you’ve set up your bedroom to be a place for sleep and only sleep, it will lend itself well to meditation.

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The right space will also be a reasonably spacious one. Although comfort is not your goal, you need room to sit. Choose a space that is private, spacious, and quiet. If you don’t have a space in your home like this, create one. Free it from clutter and get it ready for you to meditate there any time.

Ultimately, your right space is one you feel comfortable meditating in, the space you can enter with no other expectations.

2. Improve the Feng Shui in Your Home and Meditation Space

Feng shui means “wind and water.” It’s the ancient Chinese art of placement.[2]

Feng shui improves harmony with nature. Adherents to the principles of feng shui believe all things have energy (chi). The focus of feng shui is to send negative chi (sha) out of the space and attract positive chi (yun).

Here’s the truth about feng shui: it’s not complicated or hard. The following will influence feng shui positively in your home and meditation space:

  • Living things, such as plants
  • Beautiful objects, such as sculptures or even a well-polished piece of driftwood
  • Mirrors in symmetrical placement with the lines in a room
  • Mellifluous sounds, such as trickling water or wind chimes
  • Furniture away from walls
  • A centerpiece, such as a small table with books or an ornate lamp on it
  • Incense or something else that smells good
  • A lack of clutter and an attention to organization that emphasizes the usefulness, purpose, and essential being of each item in your house

Given that feng shui is connected to Taoism and Buddhism, it will complement the meditative atmosphere you want to cultivate in your home.

3. Eliminate Pervasive Distractions That Can Harm Your Wellbeing

In part, meditation is about accepting the existence of distractions. When you meditate, you don’t judge and assign a positive or a negative value to distractions — the ticking of a clock, an itch, the barking of a dog — you let them occur and let them dissipate like waves.

However, in the same way that feng shui removes objects that attract negative chi, there are certain types of distractions that don’t belong in your meditative space. You must remove them.

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In a survey of 1,700 people who visited social media sites at least 30 times per week, 30 percent reported high levels of sleep disturbance and 25 percent presented symptoms of depression. [3]

Those individuals who experience sleep disturbances or mental health issues due to social media are not setting boundaries between themselves and their connected devices.

Part of learning how to meditate at home is learning how and when to set boundaries between yourself and your connected devices and social media accounts. If you need your phone for a timed meditation practice, but you normally receive social media notifications on your phone, set it on Do Not Disturb or Airplane mode during your meditation time.

4. Flow into Meditation Through Time

Next, set aside a time for meditation each day. It’s right to be structured and disciplined about your meditation time.

Buddhist monks whose lives revolve around meditation are very structured and organized with their tasks each day. Structure provides the balance your being needs. Once you are meditating, your mind has no need for time. Outside of your given meditation time, you are completing tasks essential to the wellbeing of yourself and your home.

Consider meditating as the sun rises. This is a quiet and contemplative time of the day when it is natural to set your day’s balance through meditation.

5. Recognize the Rightness of Doing Nothing

At home, you’re probably used to always doing something. When you do meditation at home, you are being, which is doing something and nothing simultaneously.

Maryville University points out that successful people unplug by doing nothing. [4] Not only this, but they set the right expectations for the time during which they will do nothing.

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We oftentimes look forward to the future by expecting something to happen and by expecting something of ourselves. To meditate from home, look to that time and that space by expecting nothing. You will not do any chores. You will not catch up on work. You will do nothing but meditate for a certain amount of time each day.

This might sound crazy, but in taking on meditation from home, you’re not expecting yourself to improve and become a better person. As Ram Dass put it, you are expecting yourself to be here now.

6. Choose from the Incredible Variety of Meditative Practices

As I outlined in my post on types of meditation, there are many different and not-so-different types of meditation from which to choose.

Many beginners find it right to choose guided meditation, for which there are apps, videos, and audio tapes available.

If you are not necessarily a beginner but are merely moving your meditative practice into the home, you can facilitate a practice such as Nada Yoga — sound meditation — by placing a fountain in your space or listening to ambient alpha wave music.

If you’re used to meditating outside of your home — perhaps you are drawn to the outdoors because of the sounds of nature — a practice like Nada Yoga can help you transition into your home space.

7. Understand You Can Meditate Any Time at Home

What if I told you to throw out all of the tips that came before this? Sounds crazy but that is how radical mindfulness meditation really is. We don’t think of it as radical because it is now ingrained in our popular discourse.

Mindfulness meditation does start as a sitting meditation practice. It goes like this:

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  1. Sit comfortably and close your eyes.
  2. Focus on breathing. Inhale through your nose slowly and exhale slowly.
  3. As distracting thoughts arise, don’t judge them and don’t hang onto them. Let each thought go as you focus on breathing.
  4. Treat all physical sensations and feelings in the same way you do thoughts: register them, then let them go, returning to breathing.
  5. Extend this practice to everyday activity, remaining “in the moment” of the body’s activity with each new breath.

As you practice mindfulness around your home, note the physical characteristics of the things in themselves. Note physical sensations: sounds, smells, textures, appearances, tastes. Stop now and then and do a body scan from head to toe, noting what each section is doing and how it’s feeling.

Note thoughts that come and the emotions attached to them: let them go. Concentrate on the breath and the physical activities — including the details of the objects with which you’re interacting.

You’ll notice that your home will lend itself to a meditative state when things are in order. This is where true feng shui originates. You will naturally sense how the arrangement of things affects the energy in a room.

Clutter will disappear because mindfulness tells you to dispose of unnecessary things. Plants will bloom. Birds will make their nests in your backyard. Your home will smell pleasing and people will naturally be attracted to it and your presence.

You’ve Reached the Beginning and the End

Once you are able to do mindfulness meditation even as you are attending to the normal and abnormal requirements of your home, the mundane and the unusual, you are at both the beginning and the end.

You are at the beginning because meditation never ends. Continue setting aside time each day to do sitting meditation in the space you’ve set aside. Continue practicing mindfulness as you attend to the energy of your house, your own energy, and the energy of those around you.

You are at the end because you grasped what it means to do meditation at home: it means letting go of cares and concerns and being in your home as you attend to the right tasks. The right tasks are those necessary for being in your home.

As you sit in your home, rise, open the door and you leave, you are calm in your mind because you are home.

Featured photo credit: Simon Rae via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Healthline: 12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation
[2]Marquette University: Feng Shui: The Wind and Water
[3]Rutgers University: Social Media and Well-Being
[4]Maryville University: How Successful People Unplug

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