More Better Memory Tricks

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Today I’m bringing you a handful more of my favorite tricks for improving your memory (you do remember we’ve been talking about memory improvement, don’t you?)…

Stay (or attempt to become) organized. People who are well organized tend to have better memories than those who lead cluttered lives. This is because our minds do prefer compartmentalization. If you lose bills, cancelled checks, and other documents, make files. If you forget birthdays or lunch dates, get a calendar and mark them down. If you misplace items like purse or your glasses, keep them in the same place all the time.

Write it down or e-mail/text yourself. Never be embarrassed about communicating with yourself, via a pen and notepad or electronic means. The mere act of writing something down will help you remember it. A micro cassette voice recorder and wristwatch alarm can also be useful.

Keep your mind challenged. Don’t let your mental capacities wilt by inactivity. Read. Join discussion groups. Keep a journal or write your life story. Do crosswords, play Scrabble (you can even play online: http://scrabulous.com/index.php).

De-stress. Fatigue, anxiety, and lack of sleep produce hormones that directly interfere with the biochemical imprinting of memory patterns onto your brain. If you think stress might be an issue in your life, begin with the basics. Take some time off from work, start an exercise program, learn to meditate, take a class in yoga or t’ai chi. If stress is interfering with life’s joys, consider counseling to discover why.

And especially, don’t worry. Memory lapses are so common that they’re rarely a medical cause for concern. A far healthier approach than worrying about memory is to ask yourself why it might be occurring. If you believe, as I do, that symptoms are messages from your physical body asking you for a response, what are the memory lapses asking for? Are you becoming inattentive? Are you overly stressed? Are you not eating a healthful diet? Only a tiny percentage of people—usually well beyond 65–develop Alzheimer’s disease. Oddly enough, if you’re fretting about memory loss, that’s actually a sign Alzheimer’s is unlikely.

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