On the edge of your brain

I had one of those days today where I left the house and managed to forget my watch, a jumper, my lunch, my vitamins… At least I remembered my keys and my bus money, I suppose.  It got me thinking about memory, though, and something I heard recently about the storage of memories in the brain.

There are still a lot of mysteries associated with the biology of the brain, but it seems that when consolidating memories and information, the more often we think something, the stronger the neural pathway will become.  We can liken this to a track being worn further into the ground every time you walk over it.  Eventually we will go from a learning stage to a knowing stage, and the memory or idea will become physically impressed on our brains.

For this reason, it’s been advised that if you are trying to remember something (in one of those ‘it’s on the tip of my tongue!’ situations), it’s best to just not think about it.  If you keep thinking ‘I can’t remember [something]’, then you will reinforce that idea, and it may actually get in the way of the recall that you’re after.

I was trying to list all the things that I’d forgotten this morning, and couldn’t remember ‘lunch’ (yet another thing I forgot today).  A couple of minutes after I stopped trying to remember, it came to me.  Now I won’t forget that I forgot my lunch today.  Hopefully this means that I won’t forget lunch again tomorrow!