Tricks to improve your memory
Having problems remembering what you went into the other room for? In CNN’s Health segment Lisa Mulcahy reports on exercises which can help you stay on task. Here are a few that I found to be potentially helpful, and a couple that were just unusual enough that I may have to try.
Problems keeping track of you to-do’s: Play a mind game. Use creative visualization to connect the dots between activities on your agenda. Scott Hagwood presents the following example “Say you have to remember to buy milk and also take your son to the dentist. You can link those tasks together by imagining your son drinking a glass of milk, and seeing the milk wash over his teeth, depositing calcium.”
Need to ace that presentation? Stop and smell the roses. A recent study in Germany proposes that literally sniffing a rose (or rose scent) improves recall. This was conducted by having student s sniff a rose scent as they matched pairs of cards; they were then re-exposed to the scent as they slept. When they woke up the “rose-sniffers” had better recall memory, than those who didn’t get to sniff anything.
Have problems remembering names? Exercise your eyes. British researchers have found that a simple eye exercise can help you retain words you are about to hear. Simply move your eyes back and forth horizontally for 30 seconds before entering a social gathering with new people.
Difficulty Absorbing critical info? Breathe deeply. Sonia Lupies, Ph.D., director of the Center for Studies on Human Stress at the Douglas Institute in Montreal, Canada says that “attention is the main door to memory”, as such, keep your mind focused during meetings by meditating beforehand. “Never meditated before? Sit or lie on the floor in a quiet room in a comfortable position, rest both hands on your stomach, and breathe deeply, focusing on the silence. Try to meditate for at least 10 minutes daily.”
Multi-tasking not your strong point? Learn a new language. You don’t have to become fluent, just drill vocabulary with an instructional CD, this will create new pathways in the brain, which can help you stay on top of everything you already have on your plate.
Want to power through a grocery run? Play mah-jongg. If you want to remember things more quickly, grab a few friends and start a mah-jongg night. It’s not just for elderly ladies. It’s a pretty complicated game of skill in which players visually match tiles as quickly as possible. Mastering the game may help you rapidly commit locations to memory. You can play solo, too.”
Lisa also presents exercises to assist with not being able to find your parked car, delivering the punch line, mastering a new work-out move, and reducing forgetfulness.