Our memories

October 28, 2014

What are they for? Our brains are constantly developing, giving us memories to reflect upon and understand our lives, what delivers us joy and what dispenes pain. With both my mother and sister  dealing with difficulties from their brain injuries, it is something I continue to research.

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As I observe the phases of dementia with my mother, certain patterns are distinguished in her actions and daily living. Her abliity to remember adheres to fearful or alarming memories but does not have the ability to hold onto the positive or happy memories. With angry outbursts and constant accusations of theft of her belongings. Why does the brain retain negative emotions and somehow releases the positive?

After the removal of a brain tumor, my sister Deb still struggles with short term memory amongst other things. Her fear and worry are a constant trigger in thoughts of her boys and if they are safe or taken care of. Debbie too imagines her possessions are missing and people are taking them.

Both of their brains revert back to negative thoughts though neither of them were negative people before the disease/injury took place?

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The good in life seems harder for us to focus on, even with our fully functioning brains. Why else would there be so many self help books flooding the market constantly? The news bombards us with fear and dread, and books available everywhere, claim to help find our happiness. Its no wonder we are unable to distinguish our own happiness. 

How do we train our brains to focus on the good in life instead of descending back into the sad?

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We are reminded to recognize the good, yet drown in the negative. We need to turn off the news and set up our own reminders to be grateful, by finding happiness or capturing the good in the small things. Learning that nobody is responsible for your happiness except yourself is a start. Taking time each day to document things you are grateful for can re train your brain and become a habit over time. Triggers that can lead to happy endorphins in the brain and offer a payoff in recognizing your own happiness. 

All of us have suffered from some form of loss or heartache. But just like those with brain injuries look more at the negative, how can various people without brain injuries take those troubles and advance in life, while others descend into a conflicting rant and lash out at others who have no bearing on their happiness?

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Sometimes we need to step outside of ourselves, outside our egos and truly witness all the good that  surrounds us, take it in while you can. Using your brain in ways to help others which will in turn will help you. Because you do have a choice in your happiness.

Find the good in the world and in others. I promise you there is a lot more than the news lets on...

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