The orthopedist I saw yesterday is pretty sure I have torn my medial meniscus, an injury that will require surgery. I sat on the stairs of my house trying to remember the name of the orthopedic physician I saw 17 years ago who repaired my torn lateral meniscus. I could see his face; I could hear his voice; but I’ll be damned if I could remember his name. So when I saw this article summarizing the latest research to help you keep your brain sharp, I thought this would be an excellent sharing device.

Depressive Thoughts Can Harm your Memory: A study published in the January 2015 issue of Cognition and Emotion found an association between depressive thinking in individuals with depressed mood and significant declines in memory performance. Possible strategies for avoiding depressive thinking that might impair memory and cognition include:

  1. Learn to recognize and inhibit the tendency for depressive thinking.
  2. Try to replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts
  3. Use distraction to avoid depressive thoughts
  4. Adopt lifestyle strategies, such as exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep, and reducing stress to boost your mood.
  5. Seek help for serious depression that lasts two weeks or longer

Another recent study concludes the better the health of your heart and lungs, the better your memory and thinking. While fitness levels appeared to have no impact on memory or executive function in young participants, it made a significance difference in the older participants. Authors of the study say their findings suggest that engaging in aerobic exercise, such as dancing or walking, might help mitigate the effects of advancing age on memory and cognition. Some other inexpensive and accessible forms of aerobic exercise include”

  1. Going for a bike ride
  2. Jogging
  3. Combing the stairs in your house or another building
  4. Swimming laps
  5. Enjoying treadmill workouts
  6. Engaging in vigorous activities such as sweeping, raking or shoveling.

So here I sit on the stairs, depressive thoughts crowding into the corners of my mind because my injury precludes walking, climbing the stairs in my house, going for a bike ride, and even doing light housework, which is a good excuse. The distraction I think I am going to use to avoid depressive thoughts is either a bottle of wine or an ice cream milk shake coupled with a great old movie.