Colloquially, memory is the ability to remember things. Medicine and psychology understand many different cognitive functions of the brain.
These memory services include thinking and learning as well as the ability to concentrate, understand, abstract and apply knowledge, but also imagination and planning and retrospectively evaluating your own actions.
They all require complex brain processes. Man learns them in the course of his spiritual development and develops them in the course of his life.
Symptoms: When memory diminishes
Almost everyone knows such situations: the four-digit PIN no longer comes to mind at ATMs or when you clear out the shopping bags, you realise that you forgot the butter that made you go shopping.
And what was the name of the colleague from the other department? When looking at these few examples, such isolated memory failures are not a cause for concern.
Perhaps the PIN has not been used for a long time and you were not quite all there while shopping. And the colleague, you often see him in the hallway, but you hardly ever use his name.
However, if memory failures occur frequently, they affect the quality of life. You cannot always save yourself through improvisation if you don't remember the name of the other person.
It is frustrating when you keep forgetting what you were going to do. Ultimately, uncertainty in dealing with other people increases and confidence in one's own performance in work and private life fades.
Causes and diagnosis of poor memory performance
Then it is time to act. A doctor needs to clarify whether there are organic causes such as an onset of dementia or Alzheimer's disease. According to the current state of research, these serious diseases are not curable.
The progressive brain decay, which initially destroys short-term memory and attacks long-term memory as the disease progresses, can be slowed down.
But not every hint of forgetfulness is pathological and indicates impending dementia or Alzheimer's disease. A temporary decrease in memory is much more common.
The cause can be a permanent mental overload. If the mind is permanently challenged with a variety of different information and there is pressure to meet deadlines and performance or even fear of failure, this can result in memory loss. This is a kind of protective mechanism for the brain.
Underloading or a one-sided mental strain can reduce memory performance. Often under-challenged are people who have left the working world or who have little employment and social contact.
The production worker, who must carry out the same operation for eight hours a day, experiences a one-sided demand for his memory. He is not sufficiently using his analytical and abstract thinking sufficiently.
Tips: train your memory
Memory training can improve memory performance. Methods can be learned that are suitable for noting as many facts as possible within a short period of time. So-called brain jogging trains the memory capacity in a playful way with tasks that cover different cognitive areas.
A well-functioning memory is primarily formed by varied stimulation. Unilateral demands, too little or too much memory, tire the mind. It is therefore important to ensure balance and stimulate the brain with a variety of requirements.
For example, anyone who solves theoretical problems at work and uses their ability to abstract and analyse and use strategic thinking, should relax mentally in their free time and perform activities that represent a different cognitive load.
Sports, such as dancing, martial arts or game sports would be suitable, which with their complicated motor processes require maximum concentration and at the same time compensate for a lack of exercise in the workplace.
Many everyday activities can help improve memory performance: learning a foreign language or an instrument, singing in a choir, attending and exchanging performances or concerts, writing letters, doing manual labor, or playing strategical computer games stress the brain in different ways.
The advantage of such activities, in contrast to training developed in the laboratory, is that they are close to life. They invite you to social interaction, offer a cultural added value, convey meaningfulness and are simply fun.
The use of memory becomes a joyful experience again. So the key to increased memory performance lies in an active lifestyle.
Bring memory to life with natural vital substances
To be efficient, our brain also needs a lot of energy as well as certain fats and amino acids from our food.
Omega 3 fatty acids, NADH, also known as coenzyme 1, lecithin, L-tyrosine and L-theanine are important substances for brain metabolism.
It is not always possible to take in sufficient amounts of these vital substances through food. It can, therefore, make sense to compensate for gaps in our supply with appropriate supplements and thus support brain metabolism.