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Weekly Insights: Timeless Treasures of Memories...

With my mother experiencing Alzheimer's/Dementia, the topic of our memories has a deeper meaning. I have been able to witness what happens when we lose memories, as well as observe the kind of memories that stick in our minds for a lifetime, no matter how bad the brain disease gets. The mind is a mystery and a fascinating vessel of miracles. It is so powerful, yet so vulnerable at the same time. It has control over everything in our realities, but it isn't promised for our entire lifetime.

Our memories are so precious. They make up our book of life, and highlight important moments that define us and our realities. They are our personal records that we are able to tap into for nourishment, encouragement, motivation, and inner peace. Joyful memories bring a smile to our faces and offer us hope during difficult times. These memories teach us and help us develop ourselves into the amazing humans we become. Painful memories give us wings to grow. They test us and put us through deep lessons that make us stronger in the long run. Traumatic memories can haunt us throughout our lives if they haven't been addressed, forgiven, and healed on all levels. By talking through them, having an outlet to release the pain, and finding new perspectives that allow us to extract the lessons we can learn from them, these memories can be transmuted into great teachers. Memories hold wisdom that can never be attained in books or by watching someone else go through them. Our personal experiences, that now serve as our memories, are what make us who we are.

There is so much to learn from the mind in order to start to understand the human-kind as a whole. What happens to us when we lose our memories? Learning more about the intricacies of the mind, human psychology, and our various coping mechanisms, I understand that some people actually shut out parts of their lives because they are too painful to deal with. Perhaps we have seen something disturbing, heard news that was painful for us, or experienced trauma that sticks in our minds. Sometimes losing these memories can be the very thing to help us heal these parts of our lives permanently. It can be what helps us get beyond our past in order to be present in the moment. Also, phobias, fears, inner blocks, prejudices, worries, and other forms of "negative thinking" can be released with the loss of memories. However, the loss of memories can also feel like a loss of our identity. The memories we have stored in our minds can give us purpose and meaning. Scientist have found that happy memories can actually help to release dopamine, which is the chemical in the brain that makes us feel "high on life". Memories give us context to how we got to where we are today. They provide us with an anchor when we are in stressful transitions, and during times of sadness or loneliness. Memories also offer a launching point for our dreams to grow.

For those of us who don't suffer from Alzheimer's/Dementia and want to work on strengthening our memories, there are a few things that are suggested. First of all, the body responds to daily exercise, eating healthy foods, and getting proper rest. The brain specifically thrives in these conditions, so how we care for ourselves on a daily basis really matters. When we get sick, have chronic health problems, or come from a family of chronic illness, we are more prone to losing memory. Also, how do we stay mentally active? By reading, doing puzzles, playing games, and participating in activities that allow the brain to work, we have a better chance of staying active for a longer period of time. Spending time with Loved ones, having stimulating conversations, being social, and developing nourishing relationships are all wonderful for keeping the brain healthy. Also, avoiding clutter, disorganization, and chaos will help us to remember what is important. Structure and organization play important roles of support in maintaining a good memory as well. There is something to having our things in order, and both organizing and maintaining discipline to keep things neat can help improve the memory centers of the brain. The Plant Kingdom has blessings to share with us for brain and memory support as well. Plants like Sage and Rosemary have been used for centuries to help improve our memory.

Take care of the brain - it's the only one you get. Cherish the memories that make you joyful, and be grateful for the traumatic memories that have been left behind. Every moment is a gift, and life is too short not to cherish every memory made.

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