What was the name of that new restaurant?

The Top 10 Ways to Boost Your Memory

You know that feeling when you get a new laptop – when everything about it is lightning fast?

My mind used to be that way.

I knew, in a flash, where absolutely everything was in my office. (Even the things that weren’t where they should’ve have been.)

I was able to keep track of where everyone in my family needed to be, when they needed to be there and what they needed to have with them.

In fact, I could have told you what I wore every day of my life from age 6 to 36.

Things have gotten progressively muddier since then. (My brother, who has complained of a poor memory his entire life, thinks it’s hilarious.)

I rely on my phone for everything. I take pictures of the label when I like a wine, I keep scores of lists in notes and I use Google keywords until I happen upon the name of that new restaurant I forgot to write down.

Whether like me, your data bank isn’t what it used to be, or like my brother, retrieval never really was your thing, there are some really simple ways you can improve your memory.

And the number one way? Mindfulness.

This Week: 
10 ways to boost your memory.

  1. Pay attention to the moment you’re in. Sometimes what we think we’ve forgotten, we never properly learned in the first place. When your mind is jumping from the person you’re talking with, to your phone, to the list in your head about what you need to do next, your brain won’t properly file what you’ve heard.
  2. Make associations. Link what you want to remember to something that you already know.
  3. Create pictures. Whenever you visualize something, you are much more likely to remember it accurately.
  4. Write it down. This may sound like a cheat, but the act of writing something down (especially with pen and paper rather than typing) greatly improves your retention.
  5. Reduce the overload. Just like your tired laptop, when you bombard your brain with tons of information and fill it with unneeded data, it s l o w s down.
  6. Repeat, practice, repeat. That’s right, old school. The more you practice or repeat something, the more likely you’ll remember.
  7. Time travel. When you’re trying to remember something, allow your mind to recreate the space where you learned it in the first place.
  8. Get sleep. Sometimes poor memory and overload are merely a function of your brain needing a bit more time to re-boot. And powering down for humans means sleep.
  9. Create a rhyme or a song. As every child of the 70's knows, (we can all perfectly recite the Preamble to the US Constitution – thank you, Schoolhouse Rock) you’ll never forget something if you sing it enough times. If you’re not a child of the 70's – or if you are and want a bit of nostalgia, here’s Schoolhouse Rock, Preamble. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_NzZvdsbWI
  10. RELAX. Sometimes you just need to stop forcing the memory and let your brain work on it for you. If it’s in there, the answer will come to you.