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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.

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Liz Ryana

Tech & Marketing Blogger

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Last Updated on October 20, 2020

Can People Change When Changing Is So Difficult?

Can People Change When Changing Is So Difficult?

Hope is not a strategy when it comes to change. Commitment is what is needed to make real change happen. Can people change? Absolutely, but exchanging your excuses for commitment is necessary to get started.

Human nature leans toward habits, which can become ingrained over the years, but that doesn’t mean habits can be undone.

The good news is that your personality and behaviors can be changed, but it is up to you. Below are some tips to help you get started with change.

1. Figure out What You Need to Change

If you’re reading this, you’re probably already aware of something you would like to change. That’s great! The first step toward change is acknowledging that you have something you need to change.

Look at the repeated problems in your life, the issues that seem to come up time and time again. Do you keep gravitating toward the wrong relationships, but you blame the people you are choosing, rather than looking at your problem in the selection process?

Do you jump from one job to another, yet blame co-workers and bosses, rather than look at what you may be doing to cause problems and dissatisfaction on the job?

We are creatures of habit, so look at the negative patterns in your life. Then, look inside to see what’s causing these repeated life problems to occur. If you can’t figure it out on your own, consider going to a counselor for better understanding. Once you recognize the area that requires change, you can move to the next step.

2. Believe That Change Is Indeed Possible

There are people out there who believe that personality is unchangeable. When confronted with their problem, such as constant negativity, they lash back with “that’s just who I am.” It may be who you are, but does it need to be?

Change in personality and behaviors is possible. Nobody stays the same from one year to the next, let alone across a decade, so why not move change in the direction that is best for you? Be proactive about the change you want in your life, including the belief that change can occur.

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Look for success stories and people who have changed and done what you so deeply desire to do. Seeing that others have been where you have are and have accomplished the change you desire will help you in your process to accomplish that change.

3. List the Benefits of This Change

In order for people to change, they need to buy into the premise that the change is necessary for their betterment. For example, maybe your goal is to be more productive at work. There are many benefits that could come from this, including:

  • Getting more done in a shorter amount of time.
  • Having more time for your family.
  • Getting a promotion
  • Being liked and appreciated by your boss.
  • Being part of the success of the company.

One of the best ways to help yourself stick to the commitment of change is to make a list of the benefits that the change will bring in your life. Make one list of the benefits for your life and another for your loved ones. Recognizing the full spectrum of benefits, including how your change will affect those closest to you, will help you stick with the process of change.

When you have moments of weakness, or fail on a particular day or time, then getting back on track becomes easier when you review your list on a regular basis. Posting your “benefits of change” list somewhere where you see it often, such as a bathroom mirror, will help you be reminded of why you are doing what you are doing.

4. Make a Real Commitment to Change

Make a commitment to the time frame needed for the change to happen. If you want to lose 50 lbs., then set out a realistic plan of a few pounds per week and a timeline that reflects those goals.

It will take you a lot longer than a month, but setting realistic goals will help you stick to your commitment. Change happens one day at a time. It is not immediate, but over the course of time because of your dedication and commitment to the process.

It also helps if you make your goals SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.[1]

People can change using SMART goals

    An example of this would be a person who wants to become an active runner so they can tackle a half marathon. The first step would be to research what other people have done for training plans to achieve this goal.

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    Runners World lays out specifics for a beginner to train for a half marathon: “Target the Long Run: Every other week, increase your long run by 1.5 miles until you’re run/walking 13 to 14 miles. On alternate weeks, keep your long run to no longer than three miles. Your longest long run should fall two weeks before your half-marathon. Plan to take about 15 weeks to prepare for the big day.”[2]

    These kinds of specificities will help you create a personalized plan that is achievable and time-bound.

    You can learn more about writing SMART goals here.

    5. Create a Plan of Attack

    You need a set of steps outlined to succeed. This is why 12-step programs are so successful. You can’t simply walk into a meeting and be cured and changed. You need to mentally process the change in order for the change to be lasting and effective.

    Create a plan for your change. Be realistic and investigate what other people have done to change.

    For example, if you are dealing with anxiety and want to change that, then seek out therapy methods to address your problem. Stick with the therapy plan until your change process is complete. Simply hoping the anxiety will someday go away is not a plan.

    6. Commit to Action

    It is wonderful to set a goal for change and to write it down, but if you don’t act, then your mental commitment means nothing. There is no actual commitment unless action follows. To best kick start our change, the key is to act now[3].

    For example, if you committed to lose 50lbs, then now is the time to go join a gym, hire a trainer, and walk into a weight loss clinic to get support. We can make up our mind to be determined to change, but if action does not follow soon thereafter, then you will likely fail.

    If you wait until later that week, you will get caught up in doing your daily routine, things for works, taking care of others, or whatever it may be; there will be distractions that will derail you from taking action later. There is no better time to take action than when you make the decision to change.

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    For example, if you decide you want to finally write that book that is in your mind, but you don’t have a working laptop, then go and get a laptop today. Then, set aside an hour each day after work (and on your calendar) so that you can write. Instead of going out with friends after work, you are committing to achieve this goal, and you have time set aside to make that goal happen.

    7. Find a Support System

    When people want to change, finding a support system is key. A great way to find support is through group therapy or support groups. If you have a substance abuse issue, for example, you can find groups that specialize is supporting you through recovery and change.

    If you prefer to find support in the comfort of your own home, then you can look for online support forums and Facebook groups that deal with whatever change you are looking to pursue.

    Your ability to be successful in change is dependent on your ability to dive in; support systems help you with the initial dive and staying committed thereafter. and will help you stay committed to the process. Don’t underestimate the power you have by partnering with others who are seeking the same change.

    8. Get Uncomfortable

    Change should be uncomfortable. You are entering new territory and stepping out of your comfort zone. Your mind and past habits will be resistant to the change, as it is uncomfortable and difficult.

    If you give up because of the discomfort, then you are destined to fail in your pursuit of change. Embrace the discomfort associated with change and recognize that it puts you one step closer to accomplishing your goals.

    9. Stick to the Plan

    When people decide to change, sticking to it is difficult. If you get derailed from your plan, don’t berate yourself. Instead, allow yourself some margin of error and then get back on track.

    You can’t expect to go on a diet without splurging sometimes. The key is “sometimes.” The sooner you get back on track, the more successful you will be in accomplishing your change goals.

    Other researchers on the topic of change believe this process is about dedication and commitment to the change desired in our day to day lives, as Douglas LaBier from the Huffington Post so aptly stated:[4]

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    “Change occurs from awareness of what aspects of our personality we want to develop, and working hard to “practice” them in daily life.”

    Here are some tips on sticking to a plan:

    Engage in Self-Reflection

    Reflect on things that have derailed you in the past and problem solve them before they happen.

    Jot down those things that tend to get you off track. Now, list ways to combat the derailments before they happen. For example, if you are wanting to lose weight but you work late hours, then commit to morning workouts.

    If you know that in the past you would continually hit the snooze button and subsequently miss the workouts, then hire a trainer for early morning workouts. You are less likely to miss your workout if you have real money attached to it and someone counting on you to show up. You could also schedule morning workouts with a friend, so you know there is someone showing up and you don’t want to let them down.

    Brainstorm solutions for your past derailments so that this time around you are ready to stick to the plan and the commitment you have made to change.

    Define Your Commitment

    Commitment is a daily mental and physical plight when it comes to change. If your commitment is to lose weight, then be specific about how you are going to achieve your change. For example, you decide you are going to stick to 1,800 calories a day and a 1-hour workout every day.

    Then, write those goals down and chart your daily progress. Hold yourself accountable.

    Final Thoughts

    Can people change? Hopefully, by now, you believe that they can. If you have a sense of commitment and persistence, change is possible with any life experience.

    Start small, create specific goals, and don’t wait to get started. You’ll be amazed how far change will take you.

    More on How to Make Changes in Your Life

    Featured photo credit: Jurica Koletić via unsplash.com

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