5 ways to improve your memory

“Has anyone seen my keys?”
“Why did I come upstairs?”
“I thought you were picking up the kids!”

We’re all forgetful from time to time, but there are tips and tricks you can use to improve your memory.

1. Free up space in your mind – and schedule.
When I stop the metaphorical ball, it usually means I am overbooked. If you notice that you are consistently misplacing appointments, there is a good chance you need to simplify your life. Delete some things off your mental hard drive and free up some memory.

2. Get yourself moving.
Now that you have freed up some time, you need to put a little exercise into your routine. An active body helps to foster an active mind. Whether it’s finding a gym close to your workplace or home, or buying a Nintendo Wii to work out in your living room, you need to get yourself moving.

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity, or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity, preferably spread throughout the week.

3. Write stuff down.
In addition to making your thoughts visible and permanent, the act of writing something works to place ideas in your long-term memory and out of your short-term memory.

4. Get out of your head – and just get out.
People with good memories have good social lives. According to the Mayo Clinic, social interactions help reduce depression and stress—two factors that can render a memory powerless. While it may seem counterintuitive when you are busy, do not pass up invitations to meet with friends.

5. Never stop learning.
Next, you need to find things to keep your memory active. Once we finish school it’s tempting to cease educating ourselves. After all, it’s easy to settle into routine and just coast through retirement and beyond. Just as muscles grow weak without use, you can atrophy your memory without working it out.

Find ways to keep learning. Whether it’s taking a class or simply using flashcards (you remember those from school, right?) for important things you want to remember, make a plan to keep your mind working on new things.

(Edited and reprinted from Vibrant Life magazine.)


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