Do you know that a Harvard study found that up to 20% of older adults aged 65 and above display some form of memory loss? Whether they’re suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia or simply have lost the capability to remember information in the long term, some older adults are at particular risk of facing memory problems. It should come as no surprise that poor memory can negatively impact someone’s daily life. Imagine if you have to drive to a certain location, but have forgotten the directions? Or when you have misplaced an item and you aren’t able to retrace your steps? All these situations can not only be irritating but also impede your quality of life. However, not all hope is lost as researchers have recently found a link between mindfulness and memory loss. If you would like to find out more about how mindfulness improves memory, continue reading.
How Mindfulness Improves Memory
Before we get into the specifics, let’s talk about mindfulness. Mindfulness is essentially the ability and practice of being aware of our surroundings. As we practice mindfulness, we must pay attention to what we’re doing at the moment, what we’re thinking, and feeling all the five senses of our body. In short, it’s about understanding and feeling the things around us in that current moment without any judgment and interpretation. For years, people have practiced mindfulness as a meditation technique through breathing methods, guided imagery, and other methods that help to calm the mind and put the body at ease.
While mindfulness certainly plays an important role in improving our mental health, how does it help to improve memory? Well, researchers have found that frequent mindfulness practices have the capability to boost the density and strength of the hippocampus, the specific part of the brain that allows us to learn and memorize details. The hippocampus, despite playing an extremely vital role in our everyday functioning, can be easily damaged by a wide range of stimuli. As such, it’s important to strengthen the hippocampus in order to retain its responsibility in storing memories and processing information.
How Mindfulness Also Improves Overall Brain Health
It’s crucial to note that the brain acts as one whole function. This means that as you’re strengthening your hippocampus, you’re also improving your overall brain health as well. Therefore, you’ll find that your cognitive abilities will be much improved, leading to better problem-solving skills, clearer analytical thinking, better comprehension, and many more. Due to these benefits, many retirement communities like Blue Ridge utilized mindfulness as a way to improve cognitive health for residents, especially those living with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other forms of memory-loss conditions.
Over the years, researchers have also employed mindfulness to treat memory impairment and other mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, childhood maltreatment, anxiety disorder, eating disorder, and many more. Some older adults may also develop poor mental health from general aging. Experiences like increasing social isolation and loneliness, on top of dementia and cognitive deterioration can cause them to feel depressed.