Has this ever happened to you?
You go to say something – everyone’s quiet, waiting for you
AND. the WORD you want. VANISHES!
It’s on the tip of your tongue …..
But it’s gone.
You laugh and everyone forgives you but you HATE that happening
Because it is a sign of ageing –
a sign that your memory skills are not quite up to speed –
And you KNOW that word!.
It can happen to all of us.
- you’ve been really busy lately, with lots of unfinished tasks on your mind
- you are experiencing stress for some reason – worry, anger, illness ….
- or you are taking medication that you are not quite used to yet
So why does it happen?
Why is it so hard to find that word?
Here’s what Dr. Allison Lamont, specialist in age-related memory loss, has to say:
Well, there is good news and not so good news. What’s not so good is that the brain gradually gets older and having something you want to remember on the tip of the tongue (TOT’s for short) happens more to older people.
But the good news is that TOTs don’t mean that Alzheimer’s is the next step. TOT’s can be almost eliminated if the brain, on a regular basis, is tuned up by exercise and being challenged to do difficult things.
“People often think that words are stored in a unit in our head, and that we have a little place in our minds where we file everything we know about a topic.”
“But information isn’t stored in our minds that way,” she explains. “There is a network operating across different parts of the brain that connects information, and you can sometimes lose access to one part and not the others. So you can remember that the word you want is connected to the subject you were talking about, and maybe see a picture of it in your mind’s eye, but on this occasion, you were not able to recall the word you wanted because it’s not conveniently stored with the other facts you know.”
From the age of about 50 onwards, connections in our information network weaken, causing occasional let-downs in memory. This is especially true if a particular connection hasn’t been activated for some time. The connection is still there, but it is weak and needs attention.
What can you do about TOT’s?
Lamont recommends making an effort to:
- Become fully engaged in life
- Using language and logic skills as much as possible
- Learn something new
- Be involved in lively conversations as much as possible
- Use proven brain-sharpening techniques to activate your memory skills
These all help to keep brain connections firing.
And her ebook Seven Second Memory. Plus six other powerful memory techniques to rewire the brain for a youthful mind is well worth a read and it is a great way to starting fighting back against tip-of-the-tongue problems.
And what to do about that ‘lost’ word?
Stay in control and keep searching for it – don’t give up! When you relax and spend time exploring the possible connections and associations you have to the word you ‘lost’, it will come back to you, sometimes hours later.