January 5th, 2011 at 3:12 am
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Memory Fitness Plan: Create a Positive Mindset

by Kathryn Kilpatrick, M.A. CCC/SLP

The memory fitness plan for day 1 focuses on creating a positive mindset. There are so many things that you do remember day in and day out even though you may experience periodic memory lapses. Notice the things you do recall. Take an inventory of your many strengths. Try not to keep telling the story over and over again about what you forgot.

How often do you hear yourself or someone else say they are having a senior moment or a similar expression? You have a choice to use those words, ignore the opportunity for making a change and have the situation reoccur over and over. Do not put yourself down. Think of a solution instead. If it does not work, try another one. Keep working at it. No one remembers everything. Give yourself credit when a strategy works.

How do you feel listening to negative conversations? If you catch yourself doing the same thing, it is never too late to switch gears. Take time to notice when you focus on using more positive rather than negative words to explain a situation. If you use a negative expression frequently try and figure out a more positive way to reword it.

Sometimes it is not easy to maintain a positive mindset. A strategy I used many years ago to help me shift my thoughts was to create a gratitude journal. Each morning I would write down three things I was grateful for from the previous day. Don’t take the little things for granted. I would include items like a kind word from someone, not being late for an appointment, a pretty flower or just finding a good book to read. Things like that often appeared on my list. The situation remained challenging but after a few months I felt I was mentally in a better place. List things for which you are grateful, the names of people who have been there for you or what made you smile.

Notice those people around you who have a positive frame of mind. How do you feel when you are around them? What can you learn from their upbeat attitude? If you are having a challenging day, try to take a break and do something that changes your mood, even if only for a short time. Perhaps take a walk, play with a pet, or listen to some favorite music. Reaching out and helping someone else will help shift your energy. Do something positive that you may not usually do. Let someone know how much you appreciate them. Do something special for someone. Consider making day 1 of each week of this program a time to do a random act of kindness.

As you learn more about each one of the daily plans, remember to keep an open mind and embrace an attitude of trying one many of the suggestions. On the “positive” attitude day the following week find a positive quote that inspires you and put it somewhere as a reminder. Share it with others. For details on the 7 day program, refer to  Create a Memory Fitness Plan.

“If you believe you can, you probably can. If you believe you won’t, you most assuredly won’t. Belief is the ignition switch that gets you off the launching pad.” Denis Waitley

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