Are You Forgetting Things More?

If you find yourself forgetting things more than you used to, it may be yet another result of our unprecedented experiences and great uncertainty during the past couple of years. You may also find it hard to distinguish between details of memories you do have. Having experienced both of those things, I found a recent article on the topic to bring some clarity. The title caught my attention: “Why We’re All Forgetting Things Right Now.” So it’s not just me!

In fact, the article cited several examples of very young people spacing out on things they knew – names of people, perhaps how to do routine things. That was comforting. “Our brains are like computers with so many tabs open right now,” says Sara C. Madnick, a neuroscientist and professor of cognitive science at the University of California, Irvine. “This slows down our processing power, and memory is one of the areas that falters.”

That explanation makes a lot of sense to me. Think of all the changes and stress of the past couple of years. Think of the deluge of information we allow to come at us on a regular basis. And now we have a new set of stressors – costs are rising due to multiple global realities including a war. Lots of uncertainty continues along with more “normality” and hope than we’ve had for so long.

The author of the article, Elizabeth Bernstein, shares some recommendations from experts that can boost our memories.

Don’t force itForcing yourself to try to remember something is counterproductive. You’ll become frustrated, and that frustration allows the emotional part of your brain to override the parts of your brain that retrieve memories, says Jennifer Kilkus, a clinical health psychologist and assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine. Let it go for a bit; take some deep breaths to calm your brain and try again later.

 

Stop multitasking. It’s tough to recall something, or to commit something to memory in the first place, when you’re doing two things at once, Dr. Kilkus says. So put your phone away. (This will help cut back on information overload, too.) Try doing one thing at a time. Pay attention to small tasks you typically do on autopilot, such as brushing your teeth.

 

Help your brain calmThis will strengthen your frontal lobe, which is involved in both memory encoding and retrieval, as well as stress regulation, says Dr. Mednick, author of the coming “The Power of the Downstate.” Dr. Mednick recommends daily meditation, yoga, or simply slow deep breathing for at least 10 minutes a day. Take a walk, preferably in nature. Connect with a loved one….And get some sleep. This clears out toxins in your brain that can clog your mental processing, she says.

 

Be socially presentGive your full attention to people when you talk with them. Doing so will help you better recall what you want to say in the conversation—because your brain won’t be distracted or overtaxed—and remember what was said, says Jeanine Turner, professor of communication at Georgetown University.”

All of these are simple, quite obvious strategies when you are forgetting things more. Here’s another – using sound to reduce stress. https://carolbrusegar.com/the-power-of-sound-to-calm-and-heal/

If you are forgetting things more or things are melding together into a fog, consider making one or more of these recommendations part of your daily life. Which one resonates with you most as a way to address what you are experiencing?

As a way to help you implement your choice(s) over time, take time to journal the situations you face, what strategies you tried and how effective they were. If you don’t use a journal regularly, you can download and print these FREE pages to get started. There are 4 unique pages, each with a mandala to color as well as space to journal.

Mandala Journal Pages

I’m Carol Brusegar, author, photographer and curator of information. My focus is on gathering and writing on topics that enhance all our lives – regardless of our age. Topics include health and wellness, personal development, innovation and creativity, and a variety of helpful, practical tools and practices. I have a special interest in helping people over 50 years of age to create their 3rd Age – the next stage of their lives – to be the best it can be.

Using a Variety of Creative Activities for Relaxation

http://carolbrusegar.com/ecourse-on-journaling-a-prism-to-clarify-and-enhance-all-aspects-of-life/Just relax… take some deep breaths, chill out… These are often our advice to those around us who are stressed and overwhelmed – and what others say to us. There are more options to explore, including many creative activities for relaxation.

Some of us are driven to keep busy and productive all the time and don’t realize the importance of taking real breaks, of unwinding, really relaxing. Physically, it lowers the heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate. It also reduces muscle tension and chronic pain. Mentally, it reduces stress and other symptoms of mental health issues, including depression and anxiety. And our concentration and mood are improved!

We can access the benefits of relaxation in a variety of ways. Many of us have one or more fallback activities – vegging out in front of the TV, walking or exercising, working in the garden, coloring or drawing. Some rely on meditation or yoga. Adding options to your repertoire can be enjoyable and helpful.

As we look at 10 types of creative activities for relaxation, you will see some that you already use. Think about ways to adapt or expand them. Consider suggesting them to others.

Artwork (drawing, painting, sculpting, etc.) Don’t worry about your skill level. Try something you’ve not done before, dust off skills you haven’t used in a while, and pour yourself into it. Use it to express your thoughts and feelings, or just to escape from all of that.

Crafts (pottery, knitting, embroidery, decoupage, etc.) Decide to try something new or come back to a craft you enjoyed in the past. The creative process is both relaxing and affirming.

Coloring – If artwork and crafts seem like too much preparation and too complicated, just get some great coloring pencils, pens or markers and one of the wide variety of adult coloring books available. Use your creativity with color combinations and see a completed project before you know it. Check out these coloring books and the coloring implements offered there too.

Gifts for others (homemade cards, bookmarks, etc.) Focus on someone special you’d like to share a personalized handmade item with for an upcoming event or ‘just because.’ You can create a card with your own artwork or photography along with your own words that will be a treasure for the recipient. Bookmarks are a way to creatively express something and they can be used for a long time.

Music (learn to play an instrument, dance, etc.) Music is so powerful in reducing stress and also boosting the immune system. Perhaps you already have a playlist or favorite music in other forms to help you relax. I have CDs and my favorite classical music station on which I rely. Take that one step farther and choose an instrument that speaks to your soul and learn to play it. The point is not to become a musician but to learn something new and find enjoyment in it. And then there’s dancing! The movement distracts you from the thoughts that are holding you captive and releases chemicals that reduce stress and increase your calmness and optimism. Find a free dance class on YouTube or just turn on your favorite upbeat music.

 Gardening – For many people, gardening is the ultimate stress-reducer. Your hands in the dirt, the joy of seeing things grow and flourish – it’s the miracle of nature. Whether you are growing vegetables or flowers or both, the effect can be great. Both the actual work and being able to observe the results in stressful moments are stress reducers. Container gardening can give the same benefits if you don’t have other garden space.

D.I.Y. Projects (interior design/redecorating, outdoor projects that enhance your patio or yard, organizing your closet, decluttering your living/workspace) Although these involve work, they also engage your creative mind. How can you make any of these spaces more enjoyable, comfortable, or functional? The process takes you away from your sources of stress and overwhelm into a space of creativity.

Culinary Arts (cooking, baking, cake decorating, creating new recipes, etc.) Trying new things, creating something different, developing a new food-related skill can all be relaxing and give you additional options when you are stressed.

Personal Care Art (nail art, makeup, hair styling, etc.) Learning and practicing any of these can both be relaxing and save you money if you are paying to have them done. It’s time alone, self-care and creativity combined.

Creative Writing (blogging, journaling, poetry, articles and books, songwriting) Writing is magical. Choose a type of writing that is comfortable or experiment with another form. Journaling in particular can be a way to release and uncover what is going on internally and process both the internal and external. It’s a way to sort out the unpleasant and positive things that are happening and to deal with the one and celebrate the other. You can gain perspective that reduces your stress on a daily basis. I’ve written about different techniques of journaling here:  https://carolbrusegar.com/journaling-as-a-tool/ and here: http://carolbrusegar.com/journaling-techniques-to-boost-your-creativity/

 

Try some of these creative activities for relaxation that release your creativity, allowing you to refocus your energy and open up space for new ways to approach the stresses of life. Find things that you love doing; that makes you relax and be in touch with your inner self. You will be amazed at the results!

If you would like to explore multiple ways to journal and how they enhance your life, you can sign up for my FREE e-course on journaling:

http://carolbrusegar.com/ecourse-on-journaling-a-prism-to-clarify-and-enhance-all-aspects-of-life/

I’m Carol Brusegar, author, photographer and curator of information. My focus is on gathering and writing on topics that enhance all our lives – regardless of our age. Topics include health and wellness, personal development, innovation and creativity, and a variety of helpful, practical tools and practices. I have a special interest in helping people over 50 years of age to create their 3rd Age – the next stage of their lives – to be the best it can be.

Follow me on Twitter!     Follow me on Instagram!   Follow me on Pinterest!

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Becoming More Adaptable in Challenging Times

Tips to Being More AdaptableWe are living in uncertain times. It’s not the first time, of course. There has never been a time when people could be certain exactly how their lives would play out. That’s life. We can’t possibly plan for every outcome, so we must adapt when we are faced with new realities. Becoming more adaptable has become extremely important as we have  experienced uncertainty in so many parts of our lives since the beginning of the pandemic. Flexibility has become more and more important; I previously wrote about that here: Developing a Flexible Mindset When Uncertainty Reigns

What have you learned about your adaptability during the past couple of years? Have you strengthened your adaptability muscles? Or perhaps you are experiencing fatigue from all the adapting you have done and would just like things to stop changing so much. As we move forward, the challenges continue and we are being called upon to continue to adapt.

Here are 8 tips for becoming more adaptable. Some may be your usual ways of adapting, some may be new or forgotten concepts.

Have a Guiding Light

Life throws all kinds of surprising situations and obstacles in your path. If you have a guiding light or a purpose, you will find it easier to adapt and get back on track. Even if your short-term goals and plans are derailed, you will know your general direction and adjust accordingly. Perhaps your guiding light/purpose has shifted in these past couple of years. Find ways to keep your purpose before you in the midst of changes.

Have a Flexible Comfort Zone

We all crave some stability and things we can count on. It is the foundation from which we live our lives. However, it’s possible for that to become a rut, a place that we refuse to leave. When we are forced to leave our comfort zone as we have in many ways recently, we create new ones. Moving forward, be intentional about keeping your comfort zone flexible. Do some different things regularly so you will be more comfortable when outside factors mandate changes.

Practice With Low-Stake Activities

Adaptability is like any skill. You can hone and strengthen it through repeated use. If you aren’t good at rolling with the punches, try starting small. Becoming more adaptable can be making as simple as changing your route to work. And those changes provide new experiences that can be enjoyable.

Commit to Learning

Life always includes learning. A hallmark of adaptability is having a wide spectrum of knowledge. By making lifelong learning a priority you are building adaptability into your life. You will find it much easier to adjust your approach if you have the skills and knowledge you need.

 Stay On Top of Current Events

While watching the news every night can be hard, you should strive to stay on top of current events and trends. Spotting an emerging trend that might affect you will help you prepare for any adjustments you have to make. It also raises your awareness of opportunities that are important for your health and wellbeing.

Accept That Things Will Not Always Go As Intended

Life is going to be full of disappointments and mistakes. This is especially true if you are regularly forced to adapt to changing circumstances. Even the best-laid plans can be affected by forces out of our control. The key is to redefine these things from personal failures to opportunities to learn new things and try something else.

Say “Yes” More Often

People are often told they should “no” more often. Setting healthy boundaries is important. However, there are things we may need to say “yes” to more often also. By accepting new and different challenges, you will be training your adaptability.  Becoming more adaptable includes being intentional about what you say “yes” to as well as what you decline.

Let Go of Attachment

The idea of attachment is a key tenet of Buddhism. Our inability to detach from our ideas of how things should be can hold us back from a fulfilled life. This is good advice for those who struggle with adaptability. When you let go of your idea of how things need to be, you make it easier to adjust when things change.

 Becoming more adaptable is an ongoing effort. We always want stability and things we can count on. Balancing that with a desire for self-initiated change and ability to adapt to changes put upon us is a goal of life.

If you would like to explore more aspects of this, check out:

How to Survive Change . . . You Didn’t Ask for: Bounce Back, Find Calm in Chaos, and Reinvent Yourself by M.J. Ryan

I’m Carol Brusegar, author, photographer and curator of information. My focus is on gathering and writing on topics that enhance all our lives – regardless of our age. Topics include health and wellness, personal development, innovation and creativity, and a variety of helpful, practical tools and practices. I have a special interest in helping people over 50 years of age to create their 3rd Age – the next stage of their lives – to be the best it can be.

Visit my Amazon Author Page to see the books I have available.  

Follow me on Twitter!     Follow me on Instagram!   Follow me on Pinterest!

Follow me on Facebook!         Visit my Etsy Shop!