I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a computer-like memory that stores and retains like it used to, although there is hope.
Just as we can strengthen any other muscle in our bodies, we can train our brains to remember more and learn anything faster.
Here are 10 strategies that can effectively help your memory, improve recall, and increase retention of information.
- Drink water. This may sound really simple, but it is so important. Your brain is 80% water, so avoid anything that dehydrates it such as caffeine, fruit juices and alcohol. Being dehydrated impairs performance in tasks that require attention, immediate memory skills, and physical performance.
- Watch a foreign film and read the subtitles.It is automatic for us to watch a movie and see the actors mouth move and we hear sound. It’s not natural for us to watch a movie and read what the actors are saying. It takes work but that brain workout can stimulate the brain.
- Get good sleep.Sleep rejuvenates brain cells and give them chance to repair themselves and helps wash away toxins that build up during the day. Research has showed that sleep deprivation can cause dramatic memory deficits. By practicing good sleep hygiene, you can optimize your sleep habits to achieve deeper and more restful sleep.
- Utilize Mnemonic Devices. The Method of Loci aka The Journey Method is a mnemonic device has been around since ancient Greek times. It’s a form of imagery and visualization. In this method, you choose a place you are familiar with—your house, your car, or the route you take from home to a specific location. By mentally “placing” objects you want to remember around the familiar location, you can remember them by simply mentally walking around your house or driving to a location.
- Stimulate your 5 senses. The term stop and smell the roses can mean more to the brain that you know. Stimulating areas of the brain from the senses is very powerful. Just going for a casual walk and taking time to be an observer lets all your sense engage which can stimulate different areas of the brain. Does a certain smell or sound bring back an old memory of childhood? Does seeing something familiar offer you a frame of reference for short term memory recall? Use all the senses to activate your memory.
- Read Out Loud.Research suggests that reading materials out loud significantly improves? your memory of the material you’re reading. Educators and psychologists have also discovered that having students actually teach new concepts to others enhances understanding and recall. You can read out loud to yourself or others. Reading out loud to children can serve double duty by helping you and a child.
- Interaction with others. Participating in social interaction with others absolutely stimulates the brain. When you engage with others it means, talking and using listening skills. Actively listening to others is a skill that can be honed. It’s easy to just hear someone, but to really listen takes skill and attention. When listening to someone be engaged with them by making eye contact and acknowledge with a head nod. With the COVID mask protocol your listening skills are even more engaged since we can’t see mouth movement.
- Movement aka exercise. We all know moving our bodies is a stimulant for the brain. Brain plasticity and cognitive function are significantly improved by physical activity. There are those who suggest that exercise and physical activity might protect and even augment brain and cognitive function throughout one’s lifespan.
- .Supplements that work. If you would like to try supplements to help clear up brain fog and perk up short term memory, try Neurologix from Integrative Therapeutics and Avipaxin from Neuro Science. My Mom has “tried them all” and declared these are winners. They are not inexpensive but she swears by them when taken as directed. She is also a New York Times crossword puzzle aficionado which is said to keep the brain sharp.
- Sugar sugar everywhere. While this should be first on the list, I thought making it last would leave you with more to think about. The most prevalent danger to our aging population is the high and over consumption of sugar. Sugar, like gasoline, is dangerous stuff. It’s the fuel your brain runs on and that’s why you can’t think straight when you haven’t eaten for hours. But if sugar is eaten in excess, it can literally burn your brain and the evidence shows that this is exactly what happens in many people who develop Alzheimer’s and other dementia related illnesses.