I Forgot

I Forgot Day is celebrated each year, if we can remember, on July 2. It is dedicated to forgetfulness and making amends for any past forgotten anniversaries or tasks. Do you forget important dates, occasions, or tasks? If so, fear not, I hope to set out some useful ideas and facts about memory and forgetfulness.

Do you worry about your memory? I know I do. Every time I forget something I worry it might be Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. So what level of forgetfulness is normal? Well, as we age some degree of forgetfulness is normal. However, you should seek expert medical help if you notice significant changes in your memory. Especially so, if accompanied by other symptoms such as problems with planning or problem solving, difficulty with words and visual relationships of things or mood changes. Put simply, forgetting where you put your car keys is a sign of normal forgetfulness or being disorganised. Forgetting you own a car or that you need keys to operate one is not a normal memory problem.

So if it’s not something more serious, what causes forgetfulness? Factors such as a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, a lack of sleep, stress and anxiety can all increase forgetfulness. Also, it’s thought that walking through a door can cause forgetfulness. Yes, really. This is because the brain interprets the world as a series of scenes. Going through a door appears to signal to the brain that the scene is over and the information from it is now unnecessary.

Some addictions, such as alcoholism, can cause long and short term memory problems. Matthew Perry (US Actor and Star of Friends) recalled in a BBC interview, “I was suffering from alcoholism. I don’t remember three years of it. I was a little out of it at the time — somewhere between seasons three and six.”

What can you do if you struggle to remember things? Well, firstly, get organised – set reminders on your phone or PC, make lists, etc. If you have an ‘I must remember to…’ moment do the task immediately or set a reminder for it because you will likely not remember to do it. When it comes to things that move around, like keys, when not in use always put them in the same place. Then sleep and eat well and do something each day to exercise your mind – a crossword, Wordle, etc. Do all you can to protect your memory because as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Russian Novelist) said, “Own only what you can always carry with you: know languages, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag”.

Many of the causes of forgetfulness, such as stress, anxiety and addiction, can be treated with hypnotherapy. So, if you feel it could help you then get in touch.

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