You’re not alone. New research confirms that our brain ages right along with the rest of our body. As the brain’s frontal lobes begin to change, you may wake up some days feeling like you’ve got the attention span of a flea! That doesn’t mean you’re doomed to premature senility. Consider this intel we found on CNN:
- Why do we forget someone’s name. Dr. Daniel Schacter is a memory expert who wrote the book The Seven Sins of Memory. He says that feeling of having a word or name right at the tip of your tongue is a phenomenon called “blocking.” It happens when anxiety or distraction challenges your active memory and it’s most common in social situations. You can eliminate blocking with a small amount of planning. Before your next group gathering, take 15 minutes to look over names on the guest list. Then write down a few key phrases about the people you know on an index card. That’ll reinforce your short-term recall, so you’ll be less likely to draw a blank when it’s time to introduce someone.
- So what causes the most forgetfulness? Experts say distraction is the #1 way to forget even the simplest task – like writing down a reminder to pick up ice cream from the grocery store! Between work, kids, bills and social commitments, middle-aged adults have the most distractions of any age group. So the more distractions you have, the more vigilant you have to be about writing things down.
- Why do we forget routine things like where we left the car keys? Experts say that as we get older, our brains shift more and more into “autopilot” every time we do something familiar. Autopilot’s the mode in which we’re most likely to misplace things! Even if you just placed your keys on the kitchen counter five minutes ago, your brain will keep pulling up the file that says: “You always hang keys on a hook by the door!” The fix here is to use that autopilot mode to your advantage. If you can’t hang up your keys right away – because the phone’s ringing – then don’t put them down. Force yourself to keep them in your hand until you can get back into your normal routine.