“We have a human brain whose memory system is amazing and wildly imperfect.” – Lisa Genova

New York Times bestselling author Lisa Genova joins us for a conversation about her book, Remember: The Science of Memory and the Art of Forgetting. What does normal forgetting look like? How do we improve our memory? How do we create a memory? What’s the distinction between normal forgetting and forgetting because of Alzheimer’s? What are some preventative measures we can easily incorporate to protect our memory? Lisa is a wealth of information and I am honored she is here to share the information from her recent book! So much to learn today and to feel empowered.

About the author: Lisa has her PhD in Neuroscience from Harvard, is an acclaimed author, and has a TED Talk with over five million views. She also has appearances on the Today Show, CNN, and NPR, Dr. Oz and many more outlets. All of the show notes can be found at thegoodlifecoach.com/127.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN:

  1. It is okay to google the name of an actor whose name you can’t remember.  Young people who have used tech since birth just google without worrying about it, but most older adults believe we have to figure it out ourselves.
  2. Tip of the tongue – words like proper nouns, movie titles, names of cities – and why we have trouble recalling those names.
  3. Why “Memory isn’t stored in any one place.”
  4. Why in order to create a lasting memory it has to go through the hippocampus.
  5. You can’t remember what you don’t pay attention to.  This is the first thing to do to create memory.
  6. Outsourcing some things like taking a picture of where you parked isn’t going to make you dumber.  It is okay to use tech to help you remember.
  7. Our human brains are terrible at prospective planning.
  8. Context plays a big role in remembering things.  The second you are surrounded by cues you remember.  It helps to retrace your steps to trigger the cues.
  9. To do lists, pill boxes, checkboxes are all helpful for prospective memory.
  10. “The act of learning is remembering.  Memory is outstanding.  We can learn infinite amounts of things.”
  11. It’s not true that we only use 10 percent of our brain.
  12. Our brain is changing all of the time.  Every time you are learning something new your brain creates more neural pathways.
  13. We have the ability to create new neurons/nerve cells.
  14. Chronic stress will shrink the hippocampus.
  15. Meditation, yoga, mindfulness, exercise, staying socially active and learning new things helps to enlarge our hippocampus.
  16. Being sedentary makes you more likely to develop Alzheimer’s.
  17. Being active decreases your risk by half.
  18. Processing speeds slow down as we age a little bit, but we know more.
  19. Sleep is key.  The data is compelling – we need 7-9 hours of sleep to process what we’ve learned and to clear metabolic debris while we sleep.
  20. Alzheimer’s happens in the hippocampus – war in this area – first symptoms are not remembering what someone just said or repeating themselves — the present memory keeps cycling through. 
  21. Prevention is key.  Lisa shares what she does for preventative measures. 
  22. Eat a Mediterranean diet.
  23. Exercise.  Go for walks — move around every day. Your entire body wants and needs that.
  24. “This book is about your relationship with memory. We are afraid of it. We are judgmental  of it.  We don’t understand it.  It’s also imperfect.  Be in awe of it and take good care of it.”

RESOURCES MENTIONED

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