Can’t find your keys? What was her name? Did you lose your wallet again, only to find it in your purse? Do you spend too many hours of your life looking for your cell phone?
It’s not your imagination – memory skills erode as we age. Forgetting information or losing things can be quite frustrating: you know the words you’re trying to recall are somewhere in your brain – you just can’t bring them to the surface! If this describes your daily life, memory improvement tips are in order.
Like many age-related changes, memory gaps can be slowed if you take better care of your body and brain instead of just giving in. Your mind is an elastic organ that’s capable of changing throughout your entire life, and you can build new neural networks as long as you live. Try these easy memory improvement tips to wake up your mind.
5 Easy Memory Improvement Tips
1. Stop multitasking. If you don’t remember where your keys are it’s probably because you never paid attention where you put them in the first place. You were too busy looking at your phone or thinking about dinner or talking to a friend. Concentrating on one task at a time is more difficult than you might think, so start small. Identify one memory gap that particularly frustrates you, like misplacing your keys. Whenever you put them down, stop and announce out loud, “I am putting my keys on the key hook by the door.” If you take ten seconds to focus on your keys, you will know where they are when you need them.
2. Challenge yourself. When’s the last time you tried something new – and failed? As adults, we tend to avoid potential failures in order to protect our sense of self. Learning a new skill and challenging your brain to try something different is one of the best memory improvement tips. Sign up for that cooking class you’ve always been interested in, or watch an online tutorial on knitting if you’re more the quiet type. Choose the learning style that fits you, and have fun trying to do something that you’ve never done before. Your brain will thank you.
3. Go to sleep. We all know how important it is to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night, yet we repeatedly choose to stay up late watching TV or working. During deep sleep, your brain shifts memories into long-term storage. Sleep deprivation cheats your brain and body of one of the cheapest, easiest health boosters in the world. One of the easiest memory improvement tips is simply to set a routine bedtime each night and stick to it for two weeks. You’ll see your mood and memory improve dramatically.
4. Exercise. Add this to the pile of reasons you should work out more: exercise reduces stress levels that can interfere with memory. If your brain faces an overabundance of stress, it won’t have as many resources to devote to memory. You only have so much brainpower to go around, so don’t waste your mind stressing out about unnecessary things. Take it out on the treadmill or punching bag instead.
5. Use mnemonic devices. You probably remember these silly memory improvement tips from grade school. There’s a reason why teachers love them: they work@ If you need eggs, broccoli, spinach and strawberries from the farmers market, think of a silly saying that uses the first letter of each word: Every Baboon Swims Successfully. By taking the time to think of a mnemonic device, you’ve focused your attention on the task at hand. Plus, you’re much more likely to remember a silly phrase than a random list of groceries.
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