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Hello Brain • Brain Health
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Attention - What memories are made of

Attention is the key to opening your mind to new memories. You may think that your memory has failed you when you can’t remember something, but it could be that you were just not paying attention.

Why is attention important?

You may be surprised to learn that some of your memory lapses are really failures of attention. Watch this film, made by our friends at freedemliving.com  to learn how focussing your attention on what you are doing, when you are doing it, can help to reduce the number of absent-minded moments in your life.

It is difficult to remember a person’s face in a crowd if you pay no attention to them. Attention is the ability to focus on information; when you shine your mental spotlight on something you can remember all sorts of details. But many of us turn autopilot on, and our attention spotlight off. Later, when we can’t recollect details, we may mistakenly blame our memory.

For example, you meet a friend on the street while rushing to an important meeting. Later you cannot recall what colour coat they wore or even details of what they said. There was nothing wrong with your memory though; you were not paying attention and so never recorded these details. Distraction and stress dims our attention. But our ability to focus our attention spotlight also declines with age, and it can dim at key moments. Depression, anxiety and certain medications can also interfere with attention. All is not lost though. There are a number of ways we can strengthen our attention spotlight.

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