Five simple ways to improve your memory every day
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Picture the following scenario: You’re browsing the produce at the grocery store when you notice a familiar face picking out oranges nearby. As you approach to greet her, you realize that her name and how exactly you know her has completely escaped you. Is she the mom of one of your son’s friends? The wife of a coworker? Immediately you turn around and continue on your way, hoping to avoid an awkward conversation.
If this has happened to you, you’re not alone—especially if you’re a man. While we’ve all dealt with the frustration of not being able to remember something simple, men experience it a little more often. In a recent study published in BMC Psychology, researchers surveyed men and women on their ability to remember names, dates and other tidbits of information. The researchers found that men reported problems recalling more often than women.
Regardless of gender, however, it’s always beneficial to try to improve your memory. Below are a few simple steps and strategies to work into your daily routine that will keep your recall powers in tip-top shape.
Stay mentally active. Much like your body needs exercise to stay in peak physical condition, you need to rev up your mind to stay sharp. Simple steps like taking an alternative route home from work or using your other hand to control your computer’s mouse will engage your brain and get you off auto-pilot.
Keep yourself organized. Sloppy surroundings can make it more difficult to remember important information. To better recall appointments, dates and other to-dos, keep a daily calendar and make a checklist of action items. Bonus step: As you make out your to-do list, read out each item aloud to cement the task in your memory bank.
Keep moving. In addition to helping you stay in shape, consistent exercise helps boost your memory. Working exercise into your daily routine keeps blood moving to the head, naturally stimulating brain function and enhancing recall power.
Take a mental picture. This can be especially helpful in cases like the above awkward meeting. The first time you meet someone, repeat their name several times while thinking of an image that corresponds with your location. If you met at a bowling alley, think of bowling pins when you’re repeating the name. Next time you meet, the image of bowling pins will prompt you to recall the name.
Condense and shorten. The next time you need to remember a long number or list, try condensing it into groups by practicing the art of chunking. For example, your grocery list may contain apples, bananas, cheese, milk and corn. Pare that list down and you’re left with 2 “C’s”, 1 “A,” 1 “B” and 1 “M.”
Photo credit: mutsmuts