5 tips to im­prove your mem­ory

Sim­ple ideas to help you re­mem­ber

Prevention (Australia) - - In This Issue - BY STEPHANIE OSFIELD

1 “I KEEP MISPLACING MY CAR KEYS OR MO­BILE PHONE”

Of­ten we mis­place per­sonal pos­ses­sions be­cause we’re fo­cused on some­thing else when we set them down – we of­ten have too many things go­ing on in our lives, and our brains.

Mem­ory Booster

Have set lo­ca­tions where you keep items you use all the time – such as a hook for your car keys or a spe­cial spot on the bench for your mo­bile phone.

2 “I SUD­DENLY FOR­GET MY MO­BILE PHONE OR BANK AC­COUNT NUM­BER”

“Go­ing sud­denly blank like this usu­ally hap­pens be­cause peo­ple are fo­cused on many things at once rather than one thing at a time,” says neu­ro­sci­en­tist, Dr Ma­ree Far­row, from the Wick­ing De­men­tia Re­search and Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­tre at the Univer­sity of Tas­ma­nia. Mem­ory Booster

Use a tech­nique called ‘chunk­ing’; di­vide num­bers into pairs and link those pairs with a mem­ory ‘hook’ – for ex­am­ple, the num­bers 99 might be linked to 99 from Get Smart.

3 “I HAVE TROU­BLE CON­CEN­TRAT­ING WHEN I READ”

Go­ing over the same para­graph three times (or more) can be very frus­trat­ing, but don’t worry too much. “Stress, dis­trac­tions and wor­ries are the most com­mon rea­sons we can’t con­cen­trate fully on a task like read­ing a book,” ex­plains clin­i­cal neu­ropsy­chol­o­gist Pro­fes­sor Sharon Nai­smith, who heads the Healthy Brain Age­ing Pro­gram, at the Univer­sity of Syd­ney’s Brain and Mind Cen­tre. Mem­ory Booster

Read mind­fully. Con­sciously try to switch off brain chat­ter about shop­ping lists and bills and fo­cus. Slow down the speed at which you read and savour each word.

4 “I CAN’T RE­MEM­BER IF I LOCKED THE FRONT DOOR”

“In most peo­ple this is sim­ply an is­sue of inat­ten­tion and not be­ing mind­ful in that moment,” Far­row says. Mem­ory Booster

When leav­ing the house, say “I’m switch­ing off the heater” or “I’m turn­ing off the iron” – vo­cal­is­ing what you are do­ing en­cour­ages your brain to pay ex­tra at­ten­tion.

5 “I FOR­GET WHY I WENT INTO AN­OTHER ROOM”

We’ve all had this an­noy­ing ex­pe­ri­ence along with ‘oops’ mo­ments such as wait­ing on the phone and for­get­ting who it was you just called. “This is usu­ally a sign of a busy mind,” Far­row ex­plains. Try to fo­cus on one thing at a time.

Mem­ory Booster

Re­lax and slow your breath­ing when you find your­self for­get­ting things like this. “When you’re stressed and rush­ing all the time, you can be in con­stant ‘fight or flight’ mode where your brain re­leases chem­i­cals such as cor­ti­sol and adrenalin which, can in­ter­fere with con­cen­tra­tion and brain func­tion,” Far­row says.

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