Have You Seen My Keys?
If in fact the brain is the boss of my body, I’m in big trouble.
I’m starting to worry. I’ve never had a good memory for names or faces and it seems to be getting worse. A week ago, I saw a man I worked with for years and for the life of me I couldn’t remember his name. I couldn’t even put him into context. And it’s just not names of people. My sister and I laugh about how I was trying to tell her something about a fountain and I could not think of the word. Finally I said, “you know, a water unit”. Last night I called my pajamas “my sleeping pants”. Do you think I should schedule a CT scan?
Everything I read lately suggests that I’m probably normal for my brain age (NYT article, Older Brain May Really be a Wiser Brain). In my case, I think my mind is so distracted and I’m not “in the moment”. Fortunately, research has targeted things that all of us can do to help memory (NYT article, How to Train the Aging Brain).
In a recent article in AARP (Boost Your Brain Health, March/April 2010) indicates that studies show that the memory centers of adult human brains can grow new cells. “The more physical and mental exercise you get, the more brain cells you grow, the longer they survive and the better they connect with other nerve cells”. And for the problems I have with misplacing things—“pay attention to what you’re doing. As we age, we become more prone to distraction. When you put down your keys, focus on where you put them. Better yet always put them in the same place”.
Here are some brain-boosting activities that are worth trying to keep your mind sharp:
• Walk & talk—study a topic and discuss it on a walk with a friend
• Vary your routine—take a different route to work
• Get smart—be a life long learner
• Play—play games with several levels of difficulty
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• De-stress—meditation, yoga, a walk in the woods
• Sleep—your brain is active when you sleep so give it lots of time to work
• Imagine—include creativity in your day
• Party—socialize and make new friends
• Eat right—diet rich in fruits, veggies, whole grains and fish
• Watch your numbers—keep blood pressure, weight, blood sugar and cholesterol in check
You might also want to read, The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge, M.D.. My friend Kristen says the case histories of personal triumph over brain injuries and the possibilities to strengthen and change our brains are amazing.
Just as I sat down at the computer, I reached in my desk drawer for something and found my camera that had been missing for a week. I’d looked in my red bag (where I always keep it) 20 times. I never put my camera in that drawer but there it was. . .
Have a good week and I’ll talk to you soon.