Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Tips for Improving Memory

Have you ever been introduced to someone, only to forget her name two seconds after you shake her hand?

Don't worry. This is NOT evidence that you're losing your mind. Turns out, it's actually an extremely common occurrence for many people. The good news is there is plenty of research on the subject and there are a number of simple, practical steps you can take to improve your memory now and long into the future.

With that in mind, here are a couple of great tips for proactively strengthening your memory:

Tip #1: Neurobic Exercise
You know all about the wonderful effects aerobic exercise has on the heart, but have you heard of neurobic exercise for the brain?

According to Lawrence Katz, co-author of Keep Your Brain Alive: 83 Neurobic Exercises, the best exercise for the brain is to force it to form "new patterns of association" or new pathways. In other words, challenge your brain every day. take it off autopilot and make it relearn or create new associations with the most routine activities of your day.

Katz's book offers numerous examples of small changes you can make to activate your brain, including: brushing your teeth with the other hand; taking an alternative route to work; moving your wastebasket to the other side of your desk; closing your eyes while putting your key in and unlocking the front door; and changing where you and your family members sit at the dinner table.

So if you feel like your memory might be starting to slip a bit, try some of these simple neurobic exercises today!

Tip #2: Mnemonic Drilling
There are actually three steps or stages of memorization: acquisition, consolidation, and retrieval. That means, once we acquire new information, like someone's name for instance, the way in which we consolidate that data will directly affect how well we're able to retrieve it from memory.

Whether you're a visual or auditory type of learner, there are many mnemonic devices that can help you to better organize or consolidate the new information that you need to recall.

Here's an example of simple steps that might help:

First, associate the data you want to remember with common images. For instance, let's say you meet someone named Jennifer Green. Imagine Jennifer playing golf, or picture her wearing all green clothes, or imagine her face painted completely green.

Second, think of associations you can use to help you remember this person. For instance, link Jennifer to the quality that best fits her personality (use alliteration and rhymes whenever possible): Jolly Jennifer Green.

Finally, connect sound to your memory by saying the name aloud.

Do this regularly and, before you know it, you'll never forget anyone's name again!

Info from MMG Weekley

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