How to Prevent Forgetful Moments & Nurture Your Brain

forgetful memory protect your brain

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.

10 thoughts on “How to Prevent Forgetful Moments & Nurture Your Brain

  1. Sabine says:

    Hey Linda I enjoyed reading your post. I am actually not able to make Alzheimer jokes yet (just 23 years old) but am a bit scared, as my grandfather had it and chances are it got passed down, but it is nice to know that I at least can try some things to protect my brain =/
    Luckily till now I rarely forget things, I usually have a clear picture in my head of where I last saw the thing and my flat is so tiny that everything I lose will be found in 10 minutes 😉
    But I still will use some of your tips, because I did noticed, everytime I let myself be stressed I forget much more then usual =)

    • Linda Luke says:

      Sabine: You are way ahead in the anti-distraction arena when you create that clear picture in your mind when you put things down. Way to go! Take care of yourself and take care of your brain. You are a gift to the world and having certain genes does not make anything your destiny.

  2. Susan Moore says:

    Hi, Linda!
    I enjoyed your blog!
    I sometimes do overload myself with appointments and networking that I find I “dump and run”. This means things are not getting put away nor am I discarding things that should be as fast as I should be. When I’m in this state I start to lose things and spend too much time hunting and searching, my productivity and happiness goes down! I then have to “clear the decks!” by taking the time to really focus on getting organized and discarding the pile up! I do take time to exercise my brain by doing the crossword puzzle several days a week. And…I’m pretty good now at completing the Daily Puzzle! I de-stress by lying down and stretching out my back, breathing deeply, counting my blessings, and yes, visualizing where I might have left the keys, the phone, etc. Usually one of my cats will take advantage and stretch out full length on my chest and stomach and purr up a storm. Nothing more de-stressing the a cat’s purr! I also de-stress by digging in the garden and admiring Mother Nature’s surprises! My one regular TV-vice/escape is NCIS! And an independent or foreign film and dinner with the girlfriends does wonders, too!

    • Linda Luke says:

      Hi Susan: You are clearly focusing on self-care and I love the many ideas you have. I am also a big fan of cats purring as a de-stressing tool. Thanks for sharing your ideas. I bet they will help someone who reads this.

  3. Pearl Bowen says:

    Good morning Linda, you were a peaceful addition to our Heart Link meeting, thank you for joining us. Thank you for all of your gra good morning Linda, you were a peaceful addition to our Heart Link meeting, thank you for joining us.
    Thank you for all of your great ideas. I especially appreciate the one about how powerful our thoughts and words are,
    One of the things that has been very helpful for me has been setting appointments with reminder signals on the calendar in my phone.
    I have a crazy habit of walking away from my water purifier, overfilling the pitcher and flooding my utensil drawer. I think I’ll start setting an alarm on my phone for that!

    • Linda Luke says:

      I’m not much of a phone person, but I do seem to use the alarm and timer quite a bit. I hope it helps keep you in the present and aware when your pitcher is full. Water is so precious these days here in Ca. Thanks for sharing. I appreciate your kind words.

  4. Both sides of my family have had problems with senile dementia. So far, I lost all my memory for 9 years. Talk about not being able to find the car keys. I didn’t even know I owned a car. At age 58 I came out of retirement partly to keep my mind sharp. The rest to feed and house the 20 homeless or abused women and their children I took in.

    I have learned to focus on the here and now. Very much do I depend on everything in it’s place. Somehow I managed that with 16 people, 8 under 5, and 4 with ADHD living in the house. What I have found is the biggest help. The happiness factor. No matter what comes being happy makes life easier.

    Finding lost things was fairly simple though, I just ask a mother. They always found out who “took off” with whatever was missing.

    • Linda Luke says:

      Dennis: It sure sounds like you have an interesting story and I am inspired by some of the choices you have made. I agree that happiness can make anything better and we don’t need to have everything in place to enjoy it. I love your idea of asking a mother. Hadn’t thought about it, but it is sooo true. Light to all you do.

  5. Kat says:

    I’m all for taking lots of breaks. I always remember everything when I’m relaxing and winding down. The more you do that, the more you remember. 🙂

    Great tips!

    • Linda Luke says:

      Yes, Kat. I agree that breaks are critical to being effective in just about anything. It reminds me of a book I read years ago called, “The Power of Full Engagement”. Something in that book sold me on the value of breaks and I take them often so that I can do my best. Thanks for sharing this great idea.

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