As we get older, our cells degrade more, and take longer to renew themselves. In some cases, cells do not regenerate, causing various problems. One of them is the degradation of memory. It is common knowledge that memory problems are rampant among older people.
However, memory issues are not strictly limited to our elders. In fact, there are many young people these days who have problems with their memory. Others may not have serious issues but would like to improve their memory anyway. Take a look at some simple ways by which you can improve your memory. All you need is a little effort!
It may seem like a no brainer, but NOT paying attention is one major reason people tend to forget the details. We live in a time when people’s attention spans have shortened considerably. Think back to a couple or so decades ago. People were much more likely to be able to sit through hours of a school lecture or read a book. Today, most people want everything done quickly. Everything is shortened. Everything is instant. How can we expect to have better memory when we are always in a hurry and not paying attention to the details?
It is a very simple tip, but try it out. The next time your boss gives you instructions, pay closer attention than you normally would. You just might see a boost in your memory!
So you pay enough attention. Indeed, there are some individuals who do pay attention to their surroundings and the details. Unfortunately, some things really do slip their mind. In this case, it is not a matter of paying more attention. Something else can be done to help improve memory.
How about using tools such as lists? Lists are simple and yet effective. The problem with the human mind is that it is very complex. It is this complexity that lends it its power. At the same time, this complexity leads to perplexing issues such as memory limitations.
While there are limits as to how much information we can remember, tools such as lists can augment that capacity. For example, if you are planning a trip, you know in your mind everything that you need to do to get ready for it. You have a mental list. The problem may arise if you forget items on your mental list. That’s where a physical list will come in handy. That’s just one example – you can make lists for practically everything.
The idea here is not to depend on lists forever. View lists as tools to help you get used to organizing your thoughts and remembering details. If you get in the habit of using lists, after a while, you’ll realize that your capacity to remember details has increased!
Do not underestimate the power of association
Association is a very powerful thing, and it can actually help you improve your memory. A classic example is when you have a hard time remembering names. A lot of people have this problem, in fact. What you can do is to make a story up (related to the name of course) that will stick to your mind. Let’s say the name of the person is Ryan, and he has long shaggy hair. You could tag him as Ryan with the long shaggy hair/who looks like a lion. You could then associate him with the animal and dub him Ryan the Lion. The images will certainly float in your mind, making it easier for you to remember. Needless to say, you really shouldn’t be saying these things out loud so as not to risk offending people.
Employ your other senses
This step is very closely related to the previous one. When you use your mind’s eye to ‘see’ the associations you create, you are actually using another sense. Why not take it further by employing your other senses? I like using the sense of smell, taste, and touch when remembering things. For example, if I am at the grocery store and I realize that I am forgetting something, I take a mental step back and engage my sense of smell and taste (usually) to try to remember what it is that I need at home. I imagine myself in the kitchen, and so on. Of course, I would be better off I had written a list, right?
The same thing can be applied to remembering names. Pay attention to the person. Take a close look at their physical appearance. If they’re wearing perfume or cologne, imprint the smell on your mind. These details will help you in remembering later on.
Get enough sleep
Ah, blessed sleep. No matter what you do, nothing beats good sleeping habits to help your memory. That’s a physical law – your mind needs the rest and renewal that only a good night’s sleep can give. Researchers tell us that when we sleep, what actually happens is that new neuron connections are created. This, in turn, makes for better mental capacities.
Get your daily dose of java
If you don’t get enough sleep, coffee will do just as well – NOT! The fact of the matter is that you need sleep, period. However, drinking coffee on a daily basis just might help with memory issues. Several studies have pointed to this possibility, although researchers state that further studies need to be conducted. In the meantime, there is no harm to moderate coffee consumption.
Get your blood flowing
Exercise solves everything – at least for some people. No matter how you view exercise, it really does have good effects on the body and the mind – memory not exempt. The scientific basis is two-fold: exercise makes you feel better overall and it increases the blood flow to the brain. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a gym bum to improve your memory – at least 30 minutes of walking (or its equivalent) a day is good enough.