If you don't need to use mental energy remembering where you laid your keys or the time of your granddaughter's birthday party, you'll be better able to concentrate on learning and remembering new and important things. Take advantage of calendars and planners, maps, shopping lists, file folders, and address books to keep routine information accessible.
Designate a place at home for your glasses, purse, keys, and other items you use often. When you want to remember something you've just heard, read, or thought about, repeat it out loud or write it down. That way, you reinforce the memory or connection. For example, if you've just been told someone's name, use it when you speak with him or her: "So, John, where did you meet Camille? Repetition is most potent as a learning tool when it's properly timed. It's best not to repeat something many times in a short period, as if you were cramming for an exam.
Instead, re-study the essentials after increasingly longer periods of time — once an hour, then every few hours, then every day. Spacing out periods of study helps improve memory and is particularly valuable when you are trying to master complicated information, such as the details of a new work assignment. Disclaimer: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician. Studies have shown that you can help prevent cognitive decline and reduce the risk of dementia with some basic good health habits: staying physically active getting enough sleep not smoking having good social connections limiting alcohol to one drink a day eating a balanced diet low in saturated and trans fats.
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Keep learning A higher level of education is associated with better mental functioning in old age. WebMD archives content after 2 years to ensure our readers can easily find the most timely content. See the latest news and features on Healthy Seniors. Everyone has memory blips from time to time -- the word that's on the very tip of your tongue or the house keys that aren't where you swear you left them. As you get older, these kinds of slip-ups may happen more often. You don't have to resign yourself to memory loss.
These simple steps can help keep your brain sharp. A minute daily walk is one of the best things you can do for your body, including your brain. Exercise can help prevent things that can lead to memory loss , such as:. Some studies suggest physical activity also triggers the release of a protein called BDNF that promotes healthy nerve cells in the brain. That could give your memory a boost. A healthy diet is always good for your brain. One eating style may save your memory best.
Keeping to a Mediterranean diet doesn't mean pasta and pizza, she says, "but lots of fruits and vegetables , fish rather than red meat, and olive oil. Play cards, join a book club, watch a football game with friends, or play a brain-training app. Any mentally challenging activity will keep your mind sharp.
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But once I learned the right techniques later in life I really magnified my ability to remember. I inwardly blush, thinking of the amount of times I've Googled dates, spellings and whether Prince Philip has one 'l' or two that morning. Chester reckons people claim to have a worse memory these days due to 'digital dependency', which sees more of us relying on search engines to help us out when we can't remember something.
The use it or lose it principle does apply to your memory and other mental functions. Nowadays you give someone one number and they can't remember it - some struggle to remember their own. He's got a point - I couldn't even tell you my boyfriend's phone number though weirdly I can still remember a number of my school friends' old digits back when they were listed in the telephone directory.
We begin our session with a warm-up visualisation exercise, where Chester encourages me to imagine myself in a room I'm familiar with, in which I'm joined by Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump.
20 Simple Ways to Improve Your Memory
Surreal as it sounds, I find it relatively easy - and amusing - to conjure up a picture of the two surly-looking men in my relatively small living room. Chester says one way of getting better at remembering names is changing the names into visuals. It gets better, as Chester then urges me to imagine them chucking custard pies at each other - a treat for the mind's eye, I can tell you. The point of this exercise is to highlight how powerful our visual memory can be.
He explains how when dealing with people, we tend to be pretty good at remembering faces we've seen at parties or on the TV, but not so good when it comes to names. He also suggests thinking of items that rhyme with the person's name - such as a chain for 'Jane' - as visualising something to represent the name will make it more memorable to you. It may seem totally obvious, but a lot of times when someone is introducing themselves to us, our mind is on something else and we're not paying any attention at all to the name.
Repeating it forces you to pay attention for at least one second. For example, 'So John, tell me You don't have to keep using it over and over again, as it might seem a bit weird, just use it once early on, that's enough to reinforce it. For example, John Lennon, or a character from a TV show or movie, or something as simple as you having a friend or family member that has the same name.
You could weave in the visual idea here as well - link something about that person's look to another visual the crazier the better.
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That will go a long way to helping you remember more of those names the next time you see those people. If you've already forgotten it, I recommend you ask the person their name again then and there, as they won't be as likely to be offended and will appreciate the fact you care enough to know their name for the next time you see them.
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If you can do all this, you'll start to remember a huge majority of people you're meeting. After visualising Trump and Putin, Chester tries to engage more of the senses, such as smell and taste what do the pies taste like? What can you smell? He also acknowledged that the scene he described was purposefully out of the ordinary. The next challenge, Chester tells me, is to remember a random list of words, which he rattles off at breakneck speed. These are cloud, bicycle, elephant, watermelon, cat, egg, rabbit, mud, bird, whistle, jungle, turkey, computer, sword and pizza.