It’s normal to forget things, but wouldn’t it be nice if we could remember all the important things that would make our lives easier? One thing you can do right now is repeat to yourself the sentence: ‘My memory is better than I think it is’. What you believe about your memory can have an impact on how well you remember things. Here are some other tips to outsmart common memory blips:
- You can’t remember a name. Quick solution: Ask where, not who. Figure out where you
know them from, and you can usually recall their names. This solution may not work too well for memorizing everyone’s name at bootcamp though! How to prevent it: Repeat the name to yourself at least 3 times in a row to help it stick in your brain. It’s most effective to
repeat a name when the person is in front of you.
- You can’t find your car keys. Quick solution: First, calm down. Looking for keys is
frustrating, which makes you tense up, and the tenser you become, the less effective your
memory is. So take a deep breath and retrace your steps from the last moment you had
your keys in your hand. How to prevent it: Don’t operate on auto-pilot. Memory doesn’t
work well on auto-pilot, so when you go to put your keys down, put them in the same
designated place such as a hook, or in a box, or in the pocket of a specific jacket – just
make sure to use the same spot each time.
- You can’t remember where you parked. Quick solution: Try to picture it in your head.
Humans are very good at remembering things that they see. Ask your mind’s eye what you
saw as you parked, got out of the car, and walked toward your destination. This should give you a clue as to where your car is. How to prevent it: Pay attention when you park. Failing to focus is one of the biggest things that interferes with memory. Each time you park, notice where you are. Look for landmarks such as signs. As you approach your destination, look back once or twice to see your car.
-You know the word, but it’s stuck on the tip of your tongue. Quick solution: Your brain
stores words by how they sound as well as by their meaning, so run through some similar
sounding words out loud, and the right one may pop out. How to prevent it: There isn’t
much you can do to head off this all-to-common phenomenon, but you can revel in the fact
that your vocabulary is probably better than it ever was – and improving. That’s because
we don’t lose our memory of old words, even as we learn new one.
Many of the routines that keep your body healthy will keep your brain in good working order too:
- Eat brain food: Get plenty of the antioxidant vitamins A, C and E found in brightly
coloured fruit and dark leafy vegetables. Aim for 7 servings a day.
- Get your omegas: Studies have linked consumption of foods high in omega-3 fatty acids to a lower incidence of depression and dementia. Try anchovies, tuna, salmon (not smoked) and herring. Have one or two servings per week.
- Ease your mind: Cortisol – the hormone your body releases when you’re stressed- is toxic
to the nervous system.
- Train your brain: Try doing crossword puzzles, read engrossing books, see interesting
movies, go to exhibitions and lectures, join new groups, and talk to new people. Many
studies link an active life to a well functioning memory.