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Healthy Mind: Making Working Memory Work for You

November 14, 2016       Health & Healing
Healthy Mind: Making Working
Memory Work for You

Depression is often caused when we can't make sense of events or can't pull together enough to see things through, no matter what obstacles come our way.  Simple problems have a way of compounding themselves, until we can't cope and start feeling lost.  A healthy mind is one that can cope with any situation and make the best of whatever comes our way.  If your working memory skills are as slick as a guitar  arpeggio and inversion, your mind can go back and forth and deal with any situation and not get stumped by setbacks.  When you encounter reversals or get too giddy over temporary successes, you can still stay frosty and deal with the situation if you have a healthy mind.

Dealing with the world with a healthy mind can only be good if you take care of yourself so that your mind can take care of you.  Let's look at what you need so that your working memory can function well and you don't slow down nor slide off into stress-related disorders.

Have Plenty of Sleep and Stay Hydrated

Health studies have shown that a 2 percent decrease in hydration can lead to lethargy and you may start forgetting stuff you are supposed to do or even think correctly, slowing down your reaction time and getting into accidents.   Young adults, kids and everyone else need to drink water, fresh fruit juice or health teas to remain hydrated so their minds don't slow down always remembering what to do and how to do it.

Losing sleep has already proven to be one of the major causes of common and acute health problems. Memory-boosting vitamins like Vitamin B12, folic acid, and foods like salmon and fruits aid the brain in functioning well.  Make the time to rest so your brain can recharge.  Stress from lost sleep is killer over the long run.  Ginger, peeled and raw taken before sleeping is a good antidote for sleep disorders, the anitoxidants and phytochemicals in ginger help your body relax and get you in a sleep rhythm.

Visualize How to Deal

Not all people think by visualizing solutions, or playing out what to do in their minds to accomplish more or to hurdle difficult tasks.  People need to focus on a problem and think things through to avoid pitfalls and traps of going through the motions without foreseeing consequences or alternate solutions.

Pay attention to what is important keeps ideas in your mind.  The brain forgets something within 18 to 30 seconds if you don't let a workthrough sit in your mind.  You do have to “work” to get information processed into your working memory. Taking down notes on paper, making lists, connecting information to other memories or using what creative designers call visualization strategies all help you keep a healthy mind.  If you don't think things through, you get stumped by setbacks and that's when the sense of not being in control sets in and confuses you.
  If you can visualize what works and how to do things, you can deal with setbacks easier and even hurdle these before they become a wall.

To Teach Is to Learn Twice

Teaching others gets your mind in the mode of always learning and relearning what you know and even getting better and finding better ways of keeping what you know useful and fresh.  Working memory is best improved by teaching others--whatever task it is that you are good at. 

Teaching another person or a group of people makes the teacher rethink learning in different ways, memorize methods of learning and relaying that lesson in a way that is accessible to learners of different learning levels.  Healthy minds are not rote in their working memory skills, they always find creative ways to show how things are done and help other people figure out the same.  Unhealthy minds will scoff at people who can't do things a certain way and this leads to attitudes about learning and thinking that are bad for one's empathy and outlook in life.

Running a Routine Helps

Remember your routine before going to school as a kid, brushing your teeth, taking a shower and putting all of your school stuff in your bag so you don't forget anything?  Also the same thing before going to sleep--brushing your teeth, putting on your pajamas and drinking your milk.  These grouped activities are called routines, which if done on a regular basis shall help your mind recall what needs be done.  A routine is useful in helping people remember tasks.  Sometimes chores pile up because people forget and keeping a routine aids your working memory in remembering important activities.

Image Credit: custom chore chart
Some family care websites offer creative chore charts
to help make chores a fun activity for kind to keep at.

You can also think of routines in the same manner that kids play video games.  In some video games, called real time strategy, there is an optimized way of playing that helps you win called a "Build Order," building farmers to collect resources so you can build more buildings and units in your video game army.  Or choosing the right equipment to start off a game and gradually upgrade those equipment as you play the game to stay competitive.

Most solutions for daily situations are built out of remembering routines, and to have a fallback if you miss out on a routine.  A healthy mind depends on not being overwhelmed by situations and keeping routines together helps one accomplish groups of activities without getting overwhelmed

Helping people deal with tasks by grouping together what needs be done and accomplishing these tasks in one routine should help everyone from kids to adults create solutions for minor chores and even major activities and accomplish them easily.  Less worries when you know how to figure things out from doing them before as a routine.


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