6 Easy Ways to Improve Your Memory

As we get a little older our memories might start to wain a bit.  Stress, lack of sleep and worry can all contribute to becoming a bit forgetful. The baby is crying, the teen needs to go to soccer and swimming, hubby just came home with a new puppy (Thanks hon!) and you are trying to learn the new computer software they just put in at work.  All of this chaos adds up to someone who has no brain space left for remembering anything. If you are excited because you remembered to put pants on before you left the house today, this post might be for you.

 

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Make Up Your Own Acronym

All Viking Kings Eat Shiny Happy Communist Monkeys Right Before Playing Football.

This is an acronym I made up 20 years ago to remember the letters surrounding a dressage riding arena.  I was a riding instructor at the time and I was flying to Florida to take a test for the American Riding Instructors Association.  I aced the test including the letters, and 20 years later I still remember the silly little sentence I made up to help me.

Maybe you remember My Very Educated Mother Just Sent Us Nine Pizzas to remember the planets. (the Pizza has been demoted from planet status…) The point is, if you have something you need to remember, using an acronym can be a great way to improve your memory of that information.

Create a Story

If you have a lot of information to remember, creating a story line for the information can significantly improve your memory.  My 5th-grade teacher was great for this and I still remember a few of the stories he told.

Aye you get back here with my gold, Ahh gee it’s only silver.

This is a little story he made up to help us remember the 2-letter abbreviations for gold and silver on the periodic table. Au is gold. Ag is silver.  Keep in mind I am 40 years old, and I was taught this in fifth grade.  It was a year or two ago, but it stuck like glue in my brain.

Maybe you don’t need to remember symbols, but how about spelling?  Yes, autocorrect helps a bunch but sometimes it doesn’t always correct it to what you meant it to say.  My teacher taught us things like PrincaPAL is the guy who runs the school and he wants to be your PAL. Or Dessert has two s’s and Desert only has one because you would much rather have dessert than be in a desert.

Point being if you have some pieces of information you need to remember in the board room to wow your coworker try putting in a little story.  This technique has helped me over the years and I think it will help you improve your memory too.

Rhyme Time

I before E except after C. Remember those old spelling rules?  Rhyming is an easy way to help our brains remember large sums of information.  A rhyme creates an association in our brains and makes it easier for our brains to recall the information when we are looking for it.

Think rhyme it is just for toddlers?  Check out this article from Time magazine.  Doctors and medical staff use rhyme to help them remember critical information about our health. If doctors use it to remember the difference between an ilium and an ischium, it can probably help you remember things you need to remember as well.

Pick up the kids, write out the bids, grab the bread, keep everyone fed.

Set it to Music

Using music to remember things is as old as time.  Before writing, people used story telling to pass their history on from one generation to the next. To help the next generation get the story right, many times they set the information to music.

Slaves also used song to convey information.  This information wasn’t nearly as obvious as Mr. Key singing about our flag.  This information was secretly coded into song to give slaves a map to Canda and advice on shaking a stubborn Bloodhound on his trail.

The periodic table, the bones of the body and the capitals of all 50 states have all been set to music.  Set the important stuff to music so it stays tucked up in your brain. 

Memory Games

Do you remember the game Simon?  How about playing memory as a child?  These games can still help improve your memory when you are an adult.  However, there is a catch.  According to this research study from Science Daily, how you memorize things matters more in these games than the games themselves.

In other words playing these type of games gives you the opportunity to experiment with different memorization strategies.  Once you find the strategy that works for you, you can apply it to other places in your life.

Maybe you remember best by associating two things together, maybe you like to picture things in your head.  Playing memory games gives you the opportunity to try different memory techniques so you can figure out what works best for your brain.

Write it Down

When all else fails, write it down.  Not only so you have a detailed list of things you need to remember, but because the act of writing something down on paper can help you rememember.

I am one of the people this technique helps a lot. Studies prove I am not crazy (well at least not because of this.)  Check out this article from Medical Daily to get all of the information on why you should be writing things down to improve your memory.

I keep a notebook in my purse to write random things down I need to remember throughout my day.  Sometimes it is a new post or story idea, sometimes it is the new combination to the office.  Either way, the act of putting pen to paper helps me remember things, and it can help you.

Products to Improve Your Memory

There are a few products that have been scientifically shown to help your memory.

  • Ginkgo Biloba – Used to battle dementia in Europe, this supplement has a lot of science behind it and is a good choice if you are looking to add a memory supplement to your diet.
  • Bop It – An updated version of the old Simon game, try some new memory techniques and try and beat your old score.
  • Simon App – This free app is just like the old Simon game. If you aren’t ready to give up the orginal try this free app.

See Your Doctor

If you have noticed a sudden change it memory it might be time to see your doctor.  If on the other hand, you are just overly stressed and losing your mind, try these memory techniques to improve your memory.

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