Do you frequently forget your keys, names, notes and other important things? Loss of memory happens to almost everyone, but as it turns out, there are small things you can do in everyday life to retain your memory!
Advice and tips in this article are adapted from a write-up by Richard C. Mohs, PhD called “How to Improve Memory” published on Discovery Health.
One of the most important keys to keeping your memory sharp is to give your brain plenty of mental exercise. A brain that gets plenty of mental exercise will have healthy brain-cell connections, resulting in faster signals between the cells, and a better memory.
One of the most obvious ways to get mental exercise is through puzzles, riddles, and other exercises and activities that challenge your brain. If you’re a stranger to puzzles, you’re not to worry.
There are hundreds of puzzles and not all of them are mind-numbing challenging. Here are some of our favorites: Ken Ken: Think Sudoku with more math. This puzzle comes in levels of easy, medium, hard, and expert. Ken Ken is easy to find, get it from your daily paper like The Star Advertiser, buy it in book form, online, or in digital form.
Tower of Hanoi: The objective is to move the entire stack to another rod, obeying the following rules:
- Only one disk may be moved at a time.
- Each move consists of taking the upper disk from one of the rods and sliding it onto another rod, on top of the other disks that may already be present on that rod.
- No disk may be placed on top of a smaller disk.
- Make sure you have music playing for at least a little while every day; while any music is good, research has found that classical music is especially stimulating to the intellect.
- Keep lots of books on hand, and make time to read them. If you can’t block out specific reading times, keep a paperback in your purse or briefcase so you can squeeze in some reading while you’re riding a train or bus or waiting for an appointment. (P.S. tablets like the iPad and Kindle are compact, convenient, and book friendly!)
- Add a fish tank to your home or office with lots of colorful fish and interesting tank toys.
- Don’t forget the flowers indoors; the colors and smells will be an added sensory boost.
- Set out a jigsaw puzzle or chessboard and regularly engage visitors in a game.
- Plug in a computer and use it to surf the Internet or play a challenging game; computer games can improve memory in such fun ways you’ll hardly notice the effort.
- Try cooking food from a different culture, or visit restaurants with cuisines that are not usually on your menu. Check out these world cuisine recipies at Allrecipies.com!
- Include others in your life. Some research indicates that strong social connections can help stave off depression and Alzheimer’s disease and keep you alert and interested in life.
- Visualization is another good exercise for your brain. As you sit in your car in a traffic jam, wait for a doctor’s appointment, or lie in bed before you fall asleep, try to visualize something from your childhood: your bedroom in the house where you grew up, your first-grade classroom, the inside of your parents’ car when you were a teenager. Visualization helps stimulate the mind and can also serve as a relaxation tool by distracting you from worries and stresses.
After getting in the habit of keeping your brain stimulated, its time to turn automatic actions in to conscious ones. These steps will help you remember whether your locked your house and closed the garage door on your way out in the morning.
- Before going out the door, stop. Breathe deeply. Take the time to think. If you’re locking your back door, think about what you’re doing.
- Focus your concentration. Speak out loud to force yourself to pay attention. If you often forget to turn off the stove, go into the kitchen and force yourself to slowly survey the appliances. As you look at each one, say “The oven is turned off. The toaster is unplugged.” When you’re driving down the freeway and you ask yourself if the oven is off, you’ll know that it is.
- Go over everything. If you tend to leave important things behind, line them all up before you leave. Go through each item, saying it out loud. Check your calendar to assure yourself that everything you need is lined up and ready.
- Take immediate action. Do you need to take back that library book? Do it now, while you’re thinking about it. At least put the book by the front door; lean it right up against the door if you have to.
Read the entire article here.