JUMPING THE GUN
One of the most pervasive themes I found while researching my book, Aging Gracefully with Dignity, Integrity & Spunk Intact, was that we, as a nation, are obsessed with forgetting and confuse forgetfulness with Alzheimer's or Senile Dementia, which are two completely different things. There’s a huge distinction between short and long term memory loss. Alzheimer’s and Dementia are diseases. Forgetfulness is not a disease and can be triggered by something as simple as stress.
There’s so much paranoia about “losing-it” that conclusions about people’s health and welfare are often at the mercy of erroneous conclusions as opposed to scientific testing. And once “helpful” family and friends get into your personal business and deem you, “unfit,” your information gets into the “system” and then getting out it, can be difficult if not down-right impossible.
My advice for Baby Boomers and Beyond is to rethink your obsessions about forgetfulness and look back over your lives, recounting the many times you’ve forgotten things. As one Boomer friend of mine told me, “When I followed your advice about my own pattern of forgetfulness… well… it goes all the way back to childhood! My mother used to call me, The absent minded professor.”
What I tell everyone over 50 is this: Hogwash! That’s right: Hogwash! Hogwash to the anxiety you feel from the social pressures dumped on you about aging. Most concerns about memory recall are out of proportion and should be put into proper perspective.
Our society’s compulsive/addictive thinking over memory loss usually begins seemingly innocently. It can start as small as joking around about forgetting something and before you know it, you start needlessly worrying about something that’s been fabricated in your mind and molded by society. People are afraid to have to face their own mortality. Corporations want to capitalize on that fear – and they do. Big time. Memory and brain fitness are such important topics and so misunderstood, that I devote an entire chapter in my book, Aging Gracefully…, to this national paranoia. What I have found, is that there are easy solutions to help you maneuver through many of the issues facing you as you age. Here are a few suggestions:
• Lavishly utilize your Personal Retrieval System, (your store house of long-term memory cells).
• If you can’t recall something right away – so what? Just stay with the thought and eventually, it’ll come to you.
• Change the way you talk to yourself. Use supportive, loving and compassionate self talk.
• Stay open and relaxed and let your mind work in its own, natural way.
Get educated about your brain. Read my books, (I have more than one), read other people’s books, read articles and make changes in your lifestyle where they are needed. Grab life by its tail and give it a couple of whirls - because as an acquaintance of mine says, Tomorrow is promised to no one.
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