Tips to sharpen your memory
Stay Mentally Active
This is the obvious one. “Use it or lose it”.
As the same with our other muscles, our brain needs regular use to stay healthy. Mental workouts are an essential part of daily life and regularly challenging our mind helps to improve memory – for starters!
The more you workout your brain, the better you’ll be able to process and remember information. The best brain exercises break your routine and challenge you to use and develop new brain pathways.
Fun and (Mind) Games
Puzzles like Sudoku and Crosswords give the brain a good workout. Card games are great too – either Solitaire or with friends.
A 2017 study by Cambridge University found that video games improve the brain function of those with early memory problems which can be a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease. Link
Learn New Things
Engage your brain – and perhaps change your life – by finally learning something you’ve “always wanted to do”.
How about learning how to play a musical instrument? Speak another language? Taking up Ballroom dancing? Play Chess? Learn Sleight of Hand?
Even little changes in the “same old” can be very effective. Shaking up everyday life – a little bit.
Like taking a different route when going to the store, a friends place, or work.
Trying cooking cuisines from other parts of the world.
Reading a book picked at random off your shelf. One you “haven’t gotten around to reading yet”.
I have found that the very best way to remember something is to
Write. It. Down.
There is a lot to be said for the “Mind Body Connection” and how effective it is in aiding our memory.
Like trying to remember a phone number. If I tell you my 10 digit phone number you will probably find it difficult to remember. If however, you write that series of number down, you will find that remembering (and visualizing) that information to be much easier. And it works with anything that can be written.
That said, it is important to PHYSICALLY write down the information. Pen and paper first – then add to whatever digital device and/or app for further utilization.
But first, Write. It. Down.
“Where did I put those keys?”
There’s something to be said for keeping things simple and orderly. Familiarity and repetition are very handy for remembering.
Get in the habit of putting your wallet, keys, etc, in the same place regularly.
That’s also a very handy tactic for storing and organizing emails, files and folders on your computer.
Remembering a person’s name is challenging for most people. Often, the main problem is that we don’t clearly remember the name in the first place. Repeat the persons name aloud. This confirms your pronunciation is correct and repetition helps to remember.
Mnemonics (the initial “m” is silent) is the science of Memory techniques. It’s very complex and extremely cool. And do you want to know a secret? I use mnemonic techniques in every single show I do.
Mnemonics utilizes shortcuts to create profound memory increases. They provide clues to help us remember something, usually by associating it with a word, sound or image.
Remember “lefty-loosey – righty-tighty”?
Or “Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge” – the mnemonic for the lines of the treble clef?
Mnemonic techniques are far outside the scope of the article but I’ve provided some sources to get you started.
Sleep On It
Sleep is critically important for our health, and especially vital for overall brain functioning. Disrupting the body’s natural sleep cycle can lead to cognitive impairments, including processes the brain uses to create memories.
Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a day. And if you want to learn something new, first thing in the morning is the best time to do it!
Mind / Body
Physical exercise has a direct impact on brain health. Exercising helps more oxygen and nutrient carrying blood reach the brain ensuring proper functioning.
Regular exercise reduces the risk of cognitive decline with age and protects the brain against degeneration.
A healthy diet is as important for your brain as it is for your heart. Reduce sugar intake and high calorie diets.
“The buildup of cholesterol plaques in brain blood vessels can damage brain tissue, either through small blockages that cause silent strokes, or a larger, more catastrophic stroke. Either way, brain cells are deprived of the oxygen-rich blood they need to function normally, which can compromise thinking and memory.
Diets such as the Mediterranean diet, which consists mostly of vegetables and fruit, olive oil, seafood, and nuts—rich in healthy unsaturated fats—have been linked in numerous studies to improvements in memory and lower rates of memory decline.”
Research suggests that meditation can cause long term changes in the brain that improve memory. Studies show meditation improves brain function, reduces markers of brain degeneration, and improves both working memory and long term memory.
Mnemonics – Wikipedia
Harry Lorayne has written several classic books on memory and memorization techniques.
The Memory Book (with Jerry Lucas) ASIN : B006Q1SQCQ
How To Develop a Super Power Memory ASIN : B07X364ZYR
I have several other articles dealing with health and the mind/body connection here on my Blog