With a good memory, so many more things are open to you. First of all, you will undoubtedly be able to perform better in tests and exams. (4) When you have the information that you need to learn, you can simply memories it and keep it all in your head. Then when it comes time to answer questions on the subject, you will be able to do so with ease and comfort.
Having a good memory is also useful for performing well at work. There are a number of occupations in particular where having a good memory is essential.
When damage is done to the various structures that process, store, and retrieve information, any one of these processes can fail, this can lead to a fall in your ability to store or recall memories. (1) It is possible to lose your memory completely with full amnesia, though it is more common that amnesia only affects certain parts of your memory.
Short term memory loss is a common side effect of brain damage, much more so than any other memory problem. With this issue, you have trouble with remembering things that you have just done, seen, heard, or so forth. It is difficult to “cure” this kind of problem, and long term rehabilitation is often required. Some people are lucky enough to only experience this effect right after a trauma to the brain, and it may go away soon afterwards.
Table of Contents
- 1 So why is it that there can be different types of memory problems stemming from brain injury?
- 2 So how does short term memory loss work?
- 3 So what exactly is going on here?
- 4 Seven Tips to Cope with Short Term Memory Loss
So why is it that there can be different types of memory problems stemming from brain injury?
It all has to do with the way that the brain accesses, stores, and retrieves information. (3) All of this happens in different parts of the brain, and if only one area is damaged, then the other areas will still function well. This is why those with short term memory loss – who have trouble with storing information – can still retrieve memories from a long time ago.
So how does short term memory loss work?
We can see from experience that it is easier to retrieve information very soon after an event than it is to access those memories later on. (2) Those who have problems with short term memory loss can understand something happening, and have no problem with older memories, but for some reason cannot turn those short term memories into long term memories.
So what exactly is going on here?
Well, first of all, let’s explain what short term memory loss is. It is the brain’s way of holding information to one side for a short time, so that it is readily available if you need it again. For an example of how this works, imagine that you are learning how to play a new game. You will keep the rules out in front of you for a while, so that you can consult them if you need to. Later on, you will no longer need them, and so you will play without the rules. (5) You can imagine that the rule card is the recent happenings that your brain has perceived. Short term memory is always in use, but over time you will discard information from it that is no longer needed in the short run.
We do not fully understand short term memory loss as it is hard to measure, but we do know some very important things about it. First of all, it lasts for just a few seconds. (7) Most people now believe that we have the capacity to store around seven items at once, with some people managing five and others nine. For example, if you were listing off an order of drinks for your friends, you might have difficulty after nine items.
The short term memory loss, memory storage is a different area to that of long term memory
Long term memory has unlimited space, and memories will pass from the short term store to the long term store after there is no more capacity for them. You can actually test the effects of this happening yourself with a small study. (5) With the help of a friend, ask for a list of around fifteen words that you should try to memories in order. Then, after you have tried to remember them for perhaps 30 seconds, ask them to distract you with another task. This could be something like subtracting six from a large number, and then continuing to do so for ten or fifteen seconds. Now try to remember the words in the list. The last few will be very difficult to remember, while those at the start will be clear to you. This is a very interesting effect, showing that long term memory and short term memory can be affected in different ways.
A distraction can impair short term memory loss, meaning that you lose some capacity. It is also harder to remember something if you are prevented from “rehearsing” it in your mind. This is when you repeat it to yourself.
It is quite incredible how dramatically and quickly your capacity for recall short term memory loss can be improved just by applying this simple methodology. (9) I just like to take a few moments and show you some general rules that will help improve the quality and durability of your mental links:
Use bright imagery:
Try and use as much bright and colorful imagery as you can. The colors don’t even have to be accurate or life-like. (6) In fact, the opposite can be far more helpful: a pink dog for example is much more memorable than a sandy brown mutt!
Exaggerate the proportions of your linked images. Once again, inaccuracy can be useful, a tiny elephant or a galactic sized flee will stick in your mind much more than their life-like versions.
The inclusion of sensation:
In general, you should always try and pack as much as you can in your mental links. This is particularly true of your sense: sight, smell, touch and even taste. (8) The more you incorporate them, the more areas of your brain will be used to process it which will have a greater imprint on your short term memory loss.
As I suggested before with exaggeration, the more absurd or surreal an image is, the better it will be stored in your memory and improve the short term memory loss.
In many cases, not just in memory techniques, less is more. However, at times it is better to overrun your mental image with numbers: for example 10,000 lions rather than just the one.
Movement/ sense of action:
A snail moving slowly across the ground isn’t particularly memorable. It is neither moving quickly or with much purpose. (5) As such it isn’t particularly emotive and therefore, memorable. A jet fighter screeching through the air and shooting missiles will of course create a much longer lasting mental image.
Seven Tips to Cope with Short Term Memory Loss
Memory loss can be a distressing process. It can be a natural sign or consequence of aging but can be intensified through disease, injury, stress or drug or alcohol abuse. There are however ways of both improving your memory and dealing with short term memory loss. Some of these are discussed below:
1. Stimulate your mind with a new activity
You could try taking up a new hobby or perhaps enrol on a course to learn a skill or a subject that you have always wanted to learn about. It is important to keep stimulating the brain to encourage the growth of new brain cells and avoid the death of them. You could also simply read a new book or do a crossword puzzle. All of these things encourage new experiences and will stimulate the mind.
2. Build or Maintain Relationships and Talk to People
It is very important to remain socially active and to talk to people. More socially active people tend to have lower rates of memory loss.
3. Laugh often and loud!
Laughter engages many areas of the brain so it is definitely good to laugh! Laughter is often coupled with a social occasion as well which, as suggested above, is also good for discouraging memory loss and a healthy brain.
4. Watch your diet
There is an old saying that ‘you are what you eat’. In many ways this is true and there are certain foods that you can eat to help your brain. Foods high in omega 3 fatty acids are usually cited as being good for the brain. Cold water fish like salmon and tuna are particularly high in these acids. Regular consumption of fruit and vegetables can also help as they are high in antioxidants which will fight free radicals in the body.
Physical activity will increase blood flow to the brain. This exercise can be as simple as a few basic stretches when you get up in the morning. Brisk walking or jogging can also help.
6. Get plenty of sleep
A solid routine of seven to nine hours of sleep every night will help keep your brain healthy and active.
7. Set yourself tasks and complete them
Everyone loves a challenge so why not set yourself one. This will encourage your brain to be active and to complete a task from beginning to end.
Use the techniques outlined above and I guarantee, the links between your memories will become as strong as steel. (7) Above all, a good memory can give a deep seated sense of satisfaction. Imagine how you will feel when you are able to harness your memory in a way which had always evaded you until now! Reading on through this article will give you the chance to realize that feeling for yourself.