Why are jigsaws good for us?

When my grandsons were primary school age the whole family would work on a jigsaw during the school holidays. Everyone would have a go, often in a group, or sometimes alone. Social interaction wa as much fun as actually completing the puzzle.

Recently I have had an urge to undertake a jigsaw puzzle. Questioning my idea, I wondered if I was just indulging a whim or were there benefits in doing jigsaw puzzles. Undertaking jigsaw puzzles is actually very good for our brains. They challenge our dexterity by exercising our hands, spatial reasoning and logic while also improving our concentration and patience. The process works both sides of our brain which enhances out memory and accelerates our ingenuity and creativity.

Good enough reason I thought, to invest in a puzzle. So I set up a little table and set to work. I have a system, trying to get the edges done first and any blocks I can see in the puzzle. But this is the first one I have done alone, not sure how I will go.

Jigsaw 1               Jigsaw 2

Making progress, slowly. I will keep you posted

How can we improve our memory?

Busy working mothers need to be organized, or so I found when I was a working wife and mother. Every facet of life required a lot of “remembering”. I think this was when I I became a list maker and I am still a “list” disciple. But there are many other options that help us remember.

  1. Focus on whatever is being said or happening to be sure you understand. Try not to be distracted.
  2. Visualize to create a mental picture of what is being said or done.
  3. Repeat things back to the speaker to ensure you have heard and understand – an excellent tactic with little children.
  4. When you meet someone for the first time be sure to repeat their name as many times as you can during the conversation.
  5. Stop “multi-tasking” but if you must be sure to use lists that ae detailed and comprehensive. Remember to cross things off your list. It feels good to know you are achieving.
  6. Use “memory prompts”. Changing the linen tomorrow? Put the clean linen out the night before. Need to take a parcel to the post tomorrow? Put it near the exit door the night before.
  7. Use a calendar, on the wall, on your smart phone or computer. Digital calendars allow you to set up prompts so today you can get a prompt about what appointments or tasks you need to do tomorrow.

Weekly Planner

I am sure there are many more ideas out there that work for you, so please share.

There are also activities and exercises for our brains that will keep them in good condition. Maybe we can check them out later.

Why do we forget things?

Our brains are crammed with information. Consider the amount of detail that we accurately remember every day. So why do we find ourselves forgetting things?

Sometimes we just don’t bother to store information because we become distracted by other things. Multitasking, switching from one thing to another and constant interruptions make it difficult to remember. Our focus may not be on what is happening now and the information is not stored.

Our memories are selective and we remember what we want to remember. Usually we focus on good memories and try to avoid the not so good.

Brains hold detailed representation of multitudes of things and we can’t always retrieve information when we want. Have you had moments when you couldn’t remember and suddenly when we are quieter, it pops up?

But the really good news is we can improve our memory. There are many simple strategies that we can employ to exercise and prompt our memory. Watch out for further posts. Please add the strategies you use to ensure you remember.

Self-Diagnosis may be Mis-Diagnosis

Information overload regarding the symptoms of any affliction allows us all to assess ourselves and our friends state of well-being. Just after my husband turned 60 a new acquaintance of his took me aside and in confidence told me that I should be aware that Don had early onset dementia. The reasoning was founded on the friend’s observation of Don’s memory. I had known Don since he was 20 and it soon became evident after I met him, that he had selective memory. Anything important to him, his work never suffered, sport in all shapes and sizes was well remembered. But remembering less important stuff, like meeting me at a pre-determined time! Oh well we can’t all be perfect. And nothing has changed in the last 20 years, it’s the same as always.

Another acquaintance was chatting to me one day and shared that she was becoming easily distracted. Moving from one task to the next without completing the previous task. She wondered if this was the start of something sinister. In all the years I had known her, she had been exactly as she described. This was apparently the first time she had clearly observed her daily actions. What could I say? I did make suggestions as to how she might better focus on each daily task.

We need to be sure that what we are “seeing” is new and not something we have been living with for a long time but not previously noticed before making a diagnosis.