Memories begin in early childhood and continue developing until life's end. The most essential memories often develop as children, imprinting on the mind and forming parts of one’s personality. These memories can change how one sees one's adult relationships and hobbies. They may also sometimes be flawed.
In this category, you will find articles about the definition of memory, its function, and signs of memory loss. Maintaining a functional memory throughout your life can be crucial to avoid rapid memory decline in old age.
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Medically reviewed by Laura Maddox
Memory is an integral part of everyday life. It is used from when you wake up to when you’re sleeping. All humans have memories, some of which may date back to your earliest years. Some people can remember being a toddler, while others may struggle to remember childhood. As you grow from a child to an adult, your memories can wane, but there are exercises you can use to preserve your memories.
Positive And Negative Memories
Memories are often associated with emotions because of where they form in the brain. However, because of this association, some memories can be traumatic due to the emotions you may have experienced when the event occurred. Memories can also bring up positive emotions, such as happiness or love. Depending on how and where memories are stored, they may bring up more emotions than others.
What Is The Purpose Of Memory?
Memory is used daily, often subconsciously. Hundreds of aspects of daily life must be remembered, such as how to recognize patterns and complete your job. All aspects of bodily movement and decision often have some memory involved.
Learning is also connected to memory and often starts at a young age. Learning to read is accomplished by remembering the letters of the alphabet. Learning math requires recognizing patterns and techniques. As you grow, you use this knowledge to learn skills required for a professional career.
Memory can also be used socially. For example, you may remember the names of your classmates and teachers when you’re a child. Memory is an essential function of daily life, both in the short and long term.
Can You Strengthen Your Memory?
There are several ways to strengthen memory, but some people may prefer to do so through games or apps. Some apps offer games you can engage in to exercise your mind. Stretching your mind by playing memory games can keep you agile and improve your memory ability.
Another way to preserve your memory is by learning new skills. Keep active, read interesting books, and learn about new topics. When your mind is processing information and learning about new subjects, you use the part of your brain where memory is located, which can potentially increase in size.
What Is Memory Loss?
Memory loss can occur naturally due to a lack of preservation but also due to conditions like Alzheimer's disease, Lewy body dementia, and other forms of dementia. Some memory diseases are preventable, but some aren’t. Alzheimer's is a hereditary condition which cannot be cured. However, some medications and techniques can slow the development of severe symptoms.
If you start to notice memory problems, see your doctor. Talking to a provider as soon as possible may help you slow the progression of any conditions. Seeing a doctor about your memory issues may be anxiety-provoking because you might be afraid that something is seriously wrong with you. However, waiting and ignoring these challenges can make them worse. You can also discuss your memory concerns in counseling or therapy if they cause you psychological distress.
Being emotional about memory changes can be understandable, and you’re not alone. If your memory has changed and you want to discuss its impact with a provider, consider contacting a therapist. Online and in-person therapists are available and may specialize in memory and cognition.
Through online platforms like BetterHelp, you can partake in therapy from home with a professional via phone, video, or chat. Your therapist can also send you reminders through the messaging feature and connect you with worksheets or support groups led by mental health professionals, where you can meet others with similar challenges.
In addition to online therapy’s benefits, it has been found adequate by various researchers. One study found it more effective for symptom reduction in anxiety and depression, quality of life, and cost-effectiveness than in-person options.
Memory is a complex process taking place in the mind. To learn more about memory and how it impacts daily life, consider reading the above articles or contacting a licensed mental health professional for support.