I lost my favorite pair of yoga pants. In my house. They have to be here somewhere, but I can’t find them. I’ve been looking for days.
And, I am not alone. My clients and friends talk about it often. One found her earrings in her underwear drawer and another opened her freezer the other day and discovered frozen car keys.
Should we be worried about dementia???
Probably not. Forgetfulness can also be a symptom of living with a distracted mind and there sure is a lot to distract us these days. The level of input our brains are expected to handle has increased tremendously. We are busy, our minds are spinning, and it’s almost impossible to remember everything.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association forgetting things occasionally is normal. It is when the forgetfulness starts to hinder your lifestyle that you should be concerned. If you think your memory loss is more serious than simple distraction, it is important you talk to your doctor. Hope I can remember that…
You can protect your brain by:
• Not smoking
• Eating a healthy diet (the Mediterranean diet is often recommended)
• Exercising your body
• Exercising your brain with puzzles or programs like Lumosity
• Creating new neuro-pathways by changing your routines and adding variety
Be careful about the words and labels you use. It may seem fun to joke about having an Alzheimer’s moment, but you don’t want to program that idea into your mind. Focus instead on all the ways your brain is working well and supporting you.
If you feel distraction is an issue, the solution is simple – start paying attention.
• Do one thing at a time whenever possible
• Slow down
• Learn to say no if you are trying to do too much
• Pause and make a mental note of where you are putting things
• Take hourly breaks, have relaxing weekends, and go on vacation
• Give yourself visual cues – when I have a load in the washer, I put a note on my counter
• Use lists, calendars, apps, alarms, and timers
• Give your things a home where they belong
• Create routines, like putting your keys in a specific place when you walk in the door
• Practice being fully present in each moment
• Take time for prayer, meditation, and clearing your mind
• Do not joke about having Alzheimer’s or call yourself forgetful
Taking these steps can limit the memory blips and stress due to distraction, but don’t get too addicted to using memory tools. Give your brain the opportunity to remember on its own and use the tools as back up. You wouldn’t want your brain to get lazy, would you?
Your Turn: I would love to hear about your favorite ways to remember things or how you deal with distraction. You can share by commenting below.