Monday, 3 December 2018

How to Remember Things

How to remember things
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels
I have always claimed to have a fairly good memory and when it comes to things like conversations that I have had, places I have visited and stories that interest me this is true. There are times though that I have to memorize things in which I am not naturally interested and that can be much more difficult.

I also find that when there are many tasks that need doing it is easy to overlook one or two and then remember too late in the day that they have been missed. What about those times when I open a drawer and wonder why? Do you ever do that? Many people tell me that they often go to do a task and can’t remember what it was.

In order to make sure that I remember things better I have been looking at some suggestions online, some of which I already do. So following my research here are some ways that will show you how to remember things.

When it comes to learning new things, writing down key notes about the main points is useful. I have always found it helpful when learning many new things to use a mind map. The use of colours too can be helpful and to have a colour code, perhaps to place things in a group or order of importance will be advantageous too. The important thing with this method is that it must suit you and the way that you remember things and not one that is designed for someone else. It’s also suggested that we use pictures because these are easier to remember than words.

Those that enter memory competitions have a system that every object they memorise is attached to another object that they already have listed in their mind. One trick that I was taught is that if you want to remember objects is to imagine them in your own home. The trick is then mentally to visualize your home and ‘look’ at the objects you placed mentally in your home setting. It’s a good party trick but not necessarily practical for remembering facts.

Break down into memorable sections

To remember numbers particularly long ones, break the number down into sections. For example, 265,456 is much easier to remember as 265 - 456 or 26-54-56. Look at combinations that will make more sense and easier to learn for any numbers. It’s also good when memorising any names or numbers to say them out loud. When I am introduced to people for the first time I often forget their name but when I apply the ‘say their name 3 times’ rule it does work. What is this rule? It is that when introduced to someone it is best to immediately use their name and try and do so 3 times very quickly in the opening conversation.

To remember tasks that need to be done it really is best to get in the habit of writing them down. This not only makes sure that you don’t forget but gives you the opportunity to clearly plan your day. The more that you do this, in fact, the better your memory is likely to become but don’t skip the process of writing down once you feel that you can remember all the tasks for the day. A to-do list is one of the best things that I got out of a day spent on a time management course many years ago. Perhaps I will write more about time management on another occasion.

If you are reading and the publication you are reading belongs to you then using a highlighter or pencil to underline key points will help you to remember. It’s also good to stop and think about what you have read and look at it from different angles. The more you analyse what you read the more likely you are to remember it. Modern tablet computers usually have a highlighter feature built in. I usually find it more difficult to take in information from a standard vertical computer screen, perhaps that is why tablets are more popular to read from. For important information that I need to learn, I will print the document. This allows me to highlight, underline and make marginal notes. If you have the opportunity talk to others about what you are trying to remember as this can reinforce your learning and impress it more on the memory.

It’s vital to note that it is very difficult to learn new things when we are tired and so getting enough rest is important if we are going to remember things. Our brain, after all, is similar to other muscles and parts of our body that require time to recuperate. For many of us that are not in manual jobs that would make us physically tired, we can often push the boundaries too far and not get enough sleep.

Use it or lose it

One thing that I have noticed is the more we try to remember the easier it becomes. Someone once described the brain as a muscle and that if you don’t use it it will not be as effective. Modern technology can make us lazy and things like phone numbers are now stored in a phone’s memory and therefore it takes away a need to memorise. This applies in many other ways and kids are heard to say “why I should I learn this when I can simply look it up on the Internet?” Of course, the Internet is very helpful but if we don’t use our minds we lose more than just memory, we lose the ability to reason and think things through for ourselves. Perhaps that is what some elements of society would like to happen.

How to Develop a Brilliant Memory Week by Week: 50 Proven Ways to Enhance Your Memory Skills

There is much more I could write about how to remember things and maybe I will another day but in the meantime don’t forget what I have just written!

Sunday, 2 December 2018

What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease was first identified as a separate condition in 1975 in Old Lyme, Connecticut. It can be quite a debilitating condition and something that we all should be aware of. It is the most common disease spread by ticks in the northern hemisphere with an estimated infection rate of 300,000 people in the United States each year and 65,000 people in Europe.

The singer, Shania Twain has been infected with this which resulted in her absence from the music scene for quite some time. The ex-England rugby captain Matt Dawson has had to have multiple heart operations following the contraction of Lyme Disease after being bitten by a tick in a London park.

What is Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is an infection by a bacteria of the Borrelia type. As mentioned, it is spread by ticks which have become infected with the bacteria by feeding on the blood of small mammals. Because the ticks like to feed off deer it was thought that the infection came from them, however, this is not the case. Ticks can be found in parks, gardens, heathland and woodland with the highest concentration of tick population where there are deer and hence, why it was once felt that deer were the source of the bacteria.

Not all ticks carry the bacteria and a tick will have to be attached to you for 36 to 48 hours for the infection to take place. This means that you should check yourself and your children for these tiny creatures and remove them correctly (see below).

What are the symptoms?

If you are bitten by a tick and are infected with Lyme disease you might develop a red circular rash around the bite up to 30 days after being bitten. Not everyone will develop a rash and usually, 25 per cent or more won't.

Some people also have flu-like symptoms in the early stages, such as:
a high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery
muscle and joint pain
tiredness and loss of energy
Some people who are not treated for Lyme Disease can develop many months or years later swelling and joint pain and problems with nerves and heart. Others can develop long-term issues resulting in a condition such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome

Lyme Disease - Early Treatment

If you have any of these symptoms and know that you have been bitten by a tick seek medical assistance immediately and tell your doctor about the bite. If you have not noticed being bitten, and many people don't, tell your doctor if you have been out in the countryside, woods, parks and so forth where you could have come into contact with ticks. A doctor will prescribe antibiotics for a 2 to 3 weeks course which you should fully complete, even if you start to feel better.

Avoiding Tick Bites

If you're out walking in the woods or countryside avoid brushing against vegetation as much as you can. It's best to stay on clearly defined paths away from long vegetation. Wear light coloured clothes to make it easier to spot ticks on them and brush off immediately. Wear trousers to keep your legs covered and the old trick of walkers having trousers tucked into boots or socks greatly decreases the chance of ticks working their way onto your skin. Of course, as mentioned earlier check yourself thoroughly after a walk. Ticks are most active from spring to autumn and this is the most likely time to be bitten and become infected. Use the insect repellent DEET to give the best protection to keep ticks off you.

How to remove a tick

If you find a tick attached to your skin, you can either use a tick removal tool or a pair of fine tweezers. Grab the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull slowly and gently upwards to avoid leaving any of the tick's mouth parts in your skin. You can apply antiseptic to the area or wash with soap and water. Keep an eye on the area and if there is a rash or you become unwell seek medical advice and tell your doctor about the bite. Do remember though that the chance of that tick being infected with Lyme Disease is low and also if it was not attached to you for very long even lower, so don't become too worried and live in fear of a reaction.

Enjoy the countryside

Lyme disease is obviously something to be avoided and in many areas popular with walkers you might see warnings that there are ticks. By following the advice and taking appropriate preventative measures you can greatly reduce the risk of infection. If you are bitten and become infected then early treatment is essential so don't put off seeking advice. You might have to press your doctor to consider Lyme Disease. Some doctors in the past have not been aware of the disease as it does not always show up in early blood tests and can appear to be any one of a number of less serious conditions.