Experts show link between lockdown and memory loss

To add to the already lengthy list of negative effects the pandemic has subjected the world to, memory loss is being reported as another side affect of lockdown.

There is a very good explanation for why you might be finding yourself losing words or names that you would otherwise have no problem remembering. More and more people have been complaining about frequent memory loss since the beginning of the pandemic and experts suggest the lockdown has everything to do with it.

Boredom is making it harder for us to remember things

Psychotherapist and author Hilda Burke believes that this side affect is only normal considering the amount of time we are spending indoors. She explains how memory is as malleable as rubber in that it can easily change depending on where we situate ourselves environmentally and the way we engage mentally with our experience.

In a nutshell, Burke says that boredom makes it harder for our brains to store information; the more engaged we are with what we are doing the more our brains register what is going on in our environment. As a result, she says that:

Essentially, time slows down if we pay attention, because we tend to notice more and, of course, the more we notice things, the more we tend to remember them. But right now, with most of us spending almost all of our time homebound, we're not being as stimulated by new sights, or experiences.

Screen time is another factor to consider

Our memories are also losing their ability to remember things because of how much time we dedicate to looking at our screens now that we have very little else to do. With what is happening in the world right now, we have never spent so much time being distracted by technology so much so as to completely disturb our memory function. Dr. Burke explains the concept by looking into how we've become so dependent on all of our devices:

Imagine you’re a student taking a study break or you're taking a break in the midst of trying to assimilate new information. What are you most likely to do first? Probably pick up your smartphone, through which you’ll be bombarded with news alerts, messages from friends, Tinder matches, eBay wins. Our brains never really get a break and that has a huge impact on our ability to memorise.

What can be done to reverse these effects?

One thing to try is paying extra attention and focus on the things that you do on the daily. When going for walks, for example, look at details that you normally would't notice so as to continuously stimulate your brain.

Another thing to try is, simply put, minimize the amount of time you spend looking at your phone. Try reading a book or solving a puzzle instead. This will challenge your brain and encourage it to stay in top shape rather than just overly-feeding it useless information we absorb when scrolling though our phones.

Research shows COVID damages human memory Research shows COVID damages human memory