When was the last time you walked into a room and forgot why you were in there? Or you had something to do – but you just couldn’t remember what? Forgetting things sometimes is par for the course, but if you’ve noticed your memory is feeling a little fragile recently, it’s time to do something about it. While everyone knows the common ways to boost your memory, there are some other – more everyday – ways to do it too. Here are my favorites!
Okay, so this doesn’t sound like it’ll improve your memory, but it really will. Forgotten how many cups of flour that recipe needs? Have a guess. Or can’t remember which way to turn at the end of that road? Guess that too. Guessing will imprint the right answer in your mind, and you won’t forget again.
2. Use Your Wrong Hand
I’m right-handed, so if I really need to remember something, I do it with my left hand. Writing out an address or phone number, leaving myself a note – do it with the ‘wrong’ hand, but make sure it’s legible. Your brain will have to engage in a way it doesn’t for the other hand, so you are twice as likely to remember what you’ve written.
3. Three Times
Repeating something three times helps to ease it into your mind. I have no idea why, but this really works! I use it when I’m meeting new people. Once you’ve been introduced, try to use their name three times in conversation. You’ll be much more likely to remember – and avoid the embarrassment of calling someone the wrong name!
4. Forget Bookmarks
I’m so used to using bookmarks in various forms – pieces of paper mark my favorite recipes in cookbooks, I’ve got pages folded over in my current novel, and even in magazines and catalogues. Go without your bookmarks for a while, and let your brain remember where you are. It’s a great memory boosting exercise, and if you end up reading the same page a few times, you might even find something you’ve missed.
5. Get Excited
Have you ever noticed that when your heart is really pumping, your memory is so much better? Try using this to your advantage. Reading while trampolining isn’t too successful (trust me, I’ve tried) but making situations feel risqué can have the same effect. Give things you need to remember a hint of danger, and it’s much more likely to stick the first time.
This sounds obvious, but it’s so rarely done. Try remembering the next car numberplate that drives past you (this is a very useful skill!) and play memory games such as Simon Says. The more you use your memory, the better it’ll be – so stop relying on gadgets, and test your brain as much as you can!
7. Create Memory Links
Memory links work in almost every situation. If you need to remember a presentation, try practicing it on your favorite walk. Match parts of the presentation to parts of the walk – introduction to the gate, case study one to the cow field, etc, and mentally walk the walk to remember the presentation. For recipes, you could link instructions to packets, songs or walking around your kitchen. For names, look at the person – yesterday I met Rhianna (a hairdresser with striking red hair – make her Red Head Rhianna) and a Violet (a vet with bright blue eyes).
8. Submerge Yourself in Nature
Nature is beautiful and calming – and memory boosting too. Psychologists aren’t sure why, but looking at or being in a natural scene boosts the memory by 20%. So when you need to remember, surround yourself in the natural. I’ve got a gorgeous nature mural in my office now, for this very reason.
Of course, if your memory deteriorates very quickly, or you are concerned, see a doctor to rule out any medical causes. Things as simple as nutritional deficits can have a big effect on your brain power! Then, try these methods to quickly regain a powerful, reliable memory without going through any tedious or expensive training. There’s one other technique, too – Spend twenty minutes writing about something traumatic or stressful. Yogo and Fujihara (2008) found that writing out your problems can drastically improve your memory, making it up to five times better. So give yourself a few occasions a month to write down your problems, and you’ll really feel the difference. Do you know other ways to boost your memory? I’d love to hear it – I’ve had great fun testing these!
Top Image Source: marcusmam.com