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Old Sunday, January 22, 2006
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10 Ways to Boost Your Memory

Everyone forgets things from time to time. But for some people, poor memory can be a perennial problem. The brain never actually loses a memory. It records each one like a computer.

However, problems with recall begin when we don't practise retrieving this information and so the memories we had become lost. The brain, like other parts of the body, needs physical and mental exercise, together with particular nutrients, to increase the power of memory. Here are 10 things to remember to do in order never to forget anything ...

1 – Eat Soya

According to Professor Sandra File, head of the psychopharmacology research unit at Guy's Hospital in London, isoflavones, the natural plant oestrogens in soya foods, might act on oestrogen receptors in the human brain, particularly those in the hippocampus, a crucial area for memory.

As a result, new nerve connections form more readily. Medical trials revealed that those fed a high soya diet showed improvements in verbal and non-verbal memory and in mental flexibility, all of which are controlled by the brain's frontal lobes. Soya can be added to the diet through natural products such as soya milk or through a recommended daily 50mg soy isoflavone supplement.

2 - Take memory Minerals

Studies at Kings College, London, and the University of Rochester in New York showed that a reduced iron intake can have a detrimental effect on IQ levels and cognitive function.

This is because of lack of iron causes low haemoglobin levels, which affect the supply of oxygen to the brain. Iron also plays an important role in the transmission of signals in the brain. A deficiency of zinc, found in oysters, red meat and peanuts, can also interfere with memory. Take a supplement of 7 to 9mg daily.

3 – Drink Coffee

Caffeine can improve mental and memory performance because it stimulates many regions of the brain that regulate wakefulness, arousal, mood and concentration.

Researchers at the University of Arizona found that older adults who drank half a pint of coffee just before a memory test saw a large improvement in performance compared to those who drank decaffeinated coffee. However, the benefits might be confined to regular coffee drinkers. Others could suffer side effects such as shakiness, anxiety or impaired concentration.

It's still best to drink no more than six cups of coffee a day – those with heart problems should drink less. Too much brewed or percolated coffee can raise blood cholesterol – instant or filter coffee are better choices.

4 – Mental Exercise

Research has shown that mental stimulation keeps the brain healthy and increases the strength of memory.

As we age, it is normal to have changes in memory, but keeping the mind active does diminish weaknesses. Clinical psychologist Ron Bracey suggests using techniques such as puzzles, crosswords and widening cultural and social interests, all of which create different pathways in the brain.

5 – Physical Exercise

Half-an-hour of activity three times a week is enough to bring about significant increase in brain power; says a study at the Duke University Medical Centre in North Carolina.

Exercise improves the heart’s ability to pump blood more effectively. Memory benefits from improved blood flow to specific regions at the front of the brain whose functions include planning, organization and the ability to juggle different intellectual tasks.

6 – Chew Gum

Japanese researchers found that activity in the hippocampus, an area of the brain important for memory, increases while people chew. Recent research suggests that insulin receptors in the brain may be involved too, as chewing releases insulin because the body is expecting food.

But, says Dr Andre Scholey of the University of Northumbria, the simplest reason could be that chewing increases the heart rate, thus improving the delivery of oxygen to the brain and enhancing its cognitive powers.

7 – Take Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo is the world’s oldest living tree. It has been used for memory enhancement in Eastern cultures for thousands of years.

Dr George Lewith, complementary health consultant to Boots, says Ginkgo improves blood circulation to the brain by dilating blood vessels and increasing its oxygen supply.

Ginkgo also mops up harmful compounds known as free radicals, which are thought to damage brain cells. Advised supplement dose is 120mg a day.

9 – Eat oily fish

Omega 3 fatty acids, found in oily fish, are essential components of brain cell membranes, and their role in cell structure is thought to improve the powers of memory. High concentrations of Omega 3 in the brain and nervous system not only boost learning powers and age-related memory, but also greatly enhance mood.

Omega 3 is a particularly important during foetal development, so pregnant women should have a regular supply. Good sources include fish such as sardines, salmon, herring and mackerel. Sardines are also a rich source of the nutrient choline, which is a key brain chemical associated with memory. Try to eat three portions of oily fish a week or take a supplement of 330mg three times a week.

9 – Rosemary and sage

Essential oil made from rosemary and sage can stimulate the memory, strengthen clarity and awareness and help to relieve mental fatigue. Psychologists at the University of Northumbria tested essential oils from rosemary on memory attention and mood and discovered it made volunteers feel more alter and enhanced their long-term memory by around 15%. Some studies have found that volunteers’ ability to remember lists of words improved by more than 10% if they had taken a capsule of sage oil.

10 – Take vitamin B

B vitamins deliver oxygen to the brain and provide protection against free radicals. They help to sharpen senses and boost memory. Niacin or B3 is particularly good for brain enhancement, while B6 is essential for the manufacture of neurotransmitters, especially mood-enhancing serotonin.

B12 is important for overall health of brain cells. B vitamins are also needed to help the body form acetylcholine, a key brain chemical needed for memory – Daily Mail.
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Default 120 Ways to Boost Your Brain Power

120 Ways to Boost Your Brain Power

Here are 120 things you can do starting today to help you think faster, improve memory, comprehend information better and unleash your brain’s full potential.
  1. Solve puzzles and brainteasers.
  2. Cultivate ambidexterity. Use your non-dominant hand to brush your teeth, comb your hair or use the mouse. Write with both hands simultaneously. Switch hands for knife and fork.
  3. Embrace ambiguity. Learn to enjoy things like paradoxes and optical illusions.
  4. Learn mind mapping.
  5. Block one or more senses. Eat blindfolded, wear earplugs, shower with your eyes closed.
  6. Develop comparative tasting. Learn to properly taste wine, chocolate, beer, cheese or anything else.
  7. Find intersections between seemingly unrelated topics.
  8. Learn to use different keyboard layouts. Try Colemak or Dvorak for a full mind twist!
  9. Find novel uses for common objects. How many different uses can you find for a nail? 10? 100?
  10. Reverse your assumptions.
  11. Learn creativity techniques.
  12. Go beyond the first, ‘right’ answer.
  13. Transpose reality. Ask “What if?” questions.
  14. SCAMPER!
  15. Turn pictures or the desktop wallpaper upside down.
  16. Become a critical thinker. Learn to spot common fallacies.
  17. Learn logic. Solve logic puzzles.
  18. Get familiar with the scientific method.
  19. Draw. Doodle. You don’t need to be an artist.
  20. Think positive.
  21. Engage in arts — sculpt, paint, play music — or any other artistic endeavor.
  22. Learn to juggle.
  23. Eat ‘brain foods’.
  24. Be slightly hungry.
  25. Exercise!
  26. Sit up straight.
  27. Drink lots of water.
  28. Deep-breathe.
  29. Laugh!
  30. Vary activities. Get a hobby.
  31. Sleep well.
  32. Power nap.
  33. Listen to music.
  34. Conquer procrastination.
  35. Go technology-less.
  36. Look for brain resources in the web.
  37. Change clothes. Go barefoot.
  38. Master self-talk.
  39. Simplify!
  40. Play chess or other board games. Play via Internet (particularly interesting is to play an ongoing game by e-mail).
  41. Play ‘brain’ games. Sudoku, crossword puzzles or countless others.
  42. Be childish!
  43. Play video games.
  44. Be humorous! Write or create a joke.
  45. Create a List of 100.
  46. Have an Idea Quota.
  47. Capture every idea. Keep an idea bank.
  48. Incubate ideas. Let ideas percolate. Return to them at regular intervals.
  49. Engage in ‘theme observation’. Try to spot the color red as many times as possible in a day. Find cars of a particular make. Invent a theme and focus on it.
  50. Keep a journal.
  51. Learn a foreign language.
  52. Eat at different restaurants - ethnic restaurants specially.
  53. Learn how to program a computer.
  54. Spell long words backwards. !gnignellahC
  55. Change your environment. Change the placement of objects or furniture — or go somewhere else.
  56. Write! Write a story, poetry, start a blog.
  57. Learn sign language.
  58. Learn a musical instrument.
  59. Visit a museum.
  60. Study how the brain works.
  61. Learn to speed-read.
  62. Find out your learning style.
  63. Dump the calendar!
  64. Try to mentally estimate the passage of time.
  65. “Guesstimate”. e.g. Are there more leaves in the Amazon rainforest or neuron connections in your brain?
  66. Make friends with math. Fight ‘innumeracy’.
  67. Build a Memory Palace.
  68. Learn a peg system for memory.
  69. Memorize people’s names.
  70. Meditate. Cultivate mindfulness and an empty mind.
  71. Watch movies from different genres.
  72. Turn off the TV.
  73. Improve your concentration.
  74. Get in touch with nature.
  75. Do mental math.
  76. Have a half-speed day.
  77. Change the speed of certain activities. Go either super-slow or super-fast deliberately.
  78. Do one thing at a time.
  79. Be aware of cognitive biases.
  80. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. How would different people think or solve your problems? How would a fool tackle it?
  81. Adopt an attitude of contemplation.
  82. Take time for solitude and relaxation.
  83. Commit yourself to lifelong learning.
  84. Travel abroad. Learn about different lifestyles.
  85. Adopt a genius. (Leonardo is excellent company!)
  86. Have a network of supportive friends.
  87. Get competitive.
  88. Don’t stick with only like-minded people. Have people around that disagree with you.
  89. Brainstorm!
  90. Change your perspective. Short/long-term, individual/collective.
  91. Go to the root of the problems.
  92. Collect quotes.
  93. Change the media you’re working on. Use paper instead of the computer; voice recording instead of writing.
  94. Read the classics.
  95. Develop your reading skill. Reading effectively is a skill. Master it.
  96. Summarize books.
  97. Develop self-awareness.
  98. Say your problems out loud.
  99. Describe one experience in painstaking detail.
  100. Learn Braille. You can start learning the floor numbers while going up or down the elevator.
  101. Buy a piece of art that disturbs you. Stimulate your senses in thought-provoking ways.
  102. Try different perfumes and scents.
  103. Mix your senses. How much does the color pink weigh? How does lavender scent sound?
  104. Debate! Defend an argument. Try taking the opposite side, too.
  105. Use time boxing.
  106. Allocate time for brain development.
  107. Have your own mental sanctuary.
  108. Be curious!
  109. Challenge yourself.
  110. Develop your visualization skills. Use it at least 5 minutes a day.
  111. Take notes of your dreams. Keep a notebook by your bedside and record your dreams first thing in the morning or as you wake up from them.
  112. Learn to lucid dream.
  113. Keep a lexicon of interesting words. Invent your own words.
  114. Find metaphors. Connect abstract and specific concepts.
  115. Manage stress.
  116. Get random input. Write about a random word in a magazine. Read random sites using StumbleUpon or Wikipedia.
  117. Take different routes each day. Change the streets you follow to work, jog or go back home.
  118. Install a different operating system on your computer.
  119. Improve your vocabulary.
  120. Deliver more than what’s expected.
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Default tips for improving memory

Improving your Memory:

TIPS AND TECHNIQUES FOR MEMORY ENHANCEMENT:





If our brains were computers, we'd simply add a chip to upgrade our memory. However, the human brain is more complex than even the most advanced machine, so improving human memory requires slightly more effort.


Just like muscular strength, your ability to remember increases when you exercise your memory and nurture it with a good diet and other healthy habits. There are a number of steps you can take to improve your memory and retrieval capacity. First, however, it's helpful to understand how we remember.
IN THIS ARTICLE:

What is memory?
Tips for memory improvement
Healthy habits to improve memory
Nutrition and memory improvement
Memory and aging





What is memory?
Simply put, memory is the mental activity of recalling information that you have learned or experienced. That simple definition, though, covers a complex process that involves many different parts of the brain and serves us in disparate ways.

Memory can be short-term or long-term. In short-term memory, your mind stores information for a few seconds or a few minutes: the time it takes you to dial a phone number you just looked up or to compare the prices of several items in a store. Such memory is fragile, and it’s meant to be; your brain would soon read “disk full” if you retained every phone number you called, every dish you ordered in a restaurant, and the subject of every ad you watched on TV. Your brain is also meant to hold an average of seven items, which is why you can usually remember a new phone number for a few minutes but need your credit card in front of you when you’re buying something online.

Long-term memory involves the information you make an effort (conscious or unconscious) to retain, because it’s personally meaningful to you (for example, data about family and friends); you need it (such as job procedures or material you’re studying for a test); or it made an emotional impression (a movie that had you riveted, the first time you ever caught a fish, the day your uncle died). Some information that you store in long-term memory requires a conscious effort to recall: episodic memories, which are personal memories about experiences you’ve had at specific times; and semantic memories (factual data not bound to time or place), which can be everything from the names of the planets to the color of your child’s hair. Another type of long-term memory is procedural memory, which involves skills and routines you perform so often that they don’t require conscious recall.

Certain areas of the brain are especially important in the formation and retention of memory:

The hippocampus, a primitive structure deep in the brain, plays the single largest role in processing information as memory.
The amygdala, an almond-shaped area near the hippocampus, processes emotion and helps imprint memories that involve emotion.
The cerebral cortex, the outer layer of the brain, stores most long-term memory in different zones, depending on what kind of processing the information involves: language, sensory input, problem-solving, and so forth.

In addition, memory involves communication among the brain’s network of neurons, millions of cells activated by brain chemicals called neurotransmitters.

Stages of memory foundation and maintenance:
There are three stages that the brain goes through in forming and retaining memories.

Stages of Memory Foundation and Maintenance
Acquisition →

Consolidation →

Retrieval


New information enters your brain along pathways between neurons in the appropriate area of the brain. The key to encoding information into your memory is concentration; unless you focus on information intently, it goes “in one ear and out the other.” This is why teachers are always nagging students to pay attention!

If you’ve concentrated well enough to encode new information in your brain, the hippocampus sends a signal to store the information as long-term memory. This happens more easily if it’s related to something you already know, or if it stimulates an emotional response.

When you need to recall information, your brain has to activate the same pattern of nerve cells it used to store it. The more frequently you need the information, the easier it is to retrieve it along healthy nerve cell connections.

Tips for memory improvements:
Do you feel that you have a poor memory? You may just have some less-than-effective habits when it comes to taking in and processing information. Barring disease, disorder, or injury, you can improve your ability to learn and retain information.

Brain exercises:
Memory, like muscular strength, is a “use it or lose it” proposition. The more you work out your brain, the better you’ll be able to process and remember information.
Novelty and sensory stimulation are the foundation of brain exercise. If you break your routine in a challenging way, you’re using brain pathways you weren’t using before. This can involve something as simple as brushing your teeth with your nondominant hand, which activates little-used connections on the nondominant side of your brain. Or try a “neurobic” exercise – an aerobic exercise for your brain – (see Keep Your Brain Alive Exercise) that forces you to use your faculties in unusual ways, like showering and getting dressed with your eyes closed. Take a course in a subject you don’t know much about, learn a new game of strategy, or cook up some recipes in an unfamiliar cuisine. That’s the most effective way to keep your synapses firing.

General guidelines to improve memory:
In addition to exercising your brain, there are some basic things you can do to improve your ability to retain and retrieve memories:

Pay attention. You can’t remember something if you never learned it, and you can’t learn something — that is, encode it into your brain — if you don’t pay enough attention to it. It takes about eight seconds of intent focus to process a piece of information through your hippocampus and into the appropriate memory center. So, no multitasking when you need to concentrate! If you distract easily, try to receive information in a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted.

Tailor information acquisition to your learning style. Most people are visual learners; they learn best by reading or otherwise seeing what it is they have to know. But some are auditory learners who learn better by listening. They might benefit by recording information they need and listening to it until they remember it.

Involve as many senses as possible. Even if you’re a visual learner, read out loud what you want to remember. If you can recite it rhythmically, even better. Try to relate information to colors, textures, smells and tastes. The physical act of rewriting information can help imprint it onto your brain.
Relate information to what you already know. Connect new data to information you already remember, whether it’s new material that builds on previous knowledge, or something as simple as an address of someone who lives on a street where you already know someone.

Organize information. Write things down in address books and datebooks and on calendars; take notes on more complex material and reorganize the notes into categories later. Use both words and pictures in learning information.
Understand and be able to interpret complex material. For more complex material, focus on understanding basic ideas rather than memorizing isolated details. Be able to explain it to someone else in your own words.
Rehearse information frequently and “over-learn”. Review what you’ve learned the same day you learn it, and at intervals thereafter. What researchers call “spaced rehearsal” is more effective than “cramming.” If you’re able to “over-learn” information so that recalling it becomes second nature, so much the better.

Be motivated and keep a positive attitude. Tell yourself that you want to learn what you need to remember, and that you can learn and remember it. Telling yourself you have a bad memory actually hampers the ability of your brain to remember, while positive mental feedback sets up an expectation of success.

Mnemonic devices to improve memory:
Mnemonics (the initial “m” is silent) are clues of any kind that help us remember something, usually by causing us to associate the information we want to remember with a visual image, a sentence, or a word.

Common types of mnemonic devices include:

Visual images - a microphone to remember the name “Mike,” a rose for “Rosie.” Use positive, pleasant images, because the brain often blocks out unpleasant ones, and make them vivid, colorful, and three-dimensional — they’ll be easier to remember.
Sentences in which the first letter of each word is part of or represents the initial of what you want to remember. Millions of musicians, for example, first memorized the lines of the treble staff with the sentence “Every good boy does fine” (or “deserves favor”), representing the notes E, G, B, D, and F. Medical students often learn groups of nerves, bones, and other anatomical features using nonsense sentences.
Acronyms, which are initials that creates pronounceable words. The spaces between the lines on the treble staff, for example, are F, A, C, and E: FACE.
Rhymes and alliteration: remember learning “30 days hath September, April, June, and November”? A hefty guy named Robert can be remembered as “Big Bob” and a smiley co-worker as “Perky Pat” (though it might be best to keep such names to yourself).
Jokes or even off-color associations using facts, figures, and names you need to recall, because funny or peculiar things are easier to remember than mundane images.

“Chunking” information; that is, arranging a long list in smaller units or categories that are easier to remember. If you can reel off your Social Security number without looking at it, that’s probably because it’s arranged in groups of 3, 2, and 4 digits, not a string of 9.
“Method of loci”: This is an ancient and effective way of remembering a lot of material, such as a speech. You associate each part of what you have to remember with a landmark in a route you know well, such as your commute to work.
Healthy habits to improve memory:
Treating your body well can enhance your ability to process and recall information.

Healthy Habits that Improve Memory are:
*Regular exercise

*Increases oxygen to your brain.
*Reduces the risk for disorders that lead to memory loss, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
*May enhance the effects of helpful brain chemicals and protect brain cells.
*Managing stress

*Cortisol, the stress hormone, can damage the hippocampus if the stress is unrelieved.
*Stress makes it difficult to concentrate.
*Good sleep habits

*Sleep is necessary for memory consolidation.
*Sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea leave you tired and unable to concentrate during the day.
*Not smoking

Smoking heightens the risk of vascular disorders that can cause stroke and constrict arteries that deliver oxygen to the brain.

Nutrition and Memory improvement:
You probably know already that a diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and “healthy” fats will provide lots of health benefits, but such a diet can also improve memory. Research indicates that certain nutrients nurture and stimulate brain function.
B vitamins, especially B6, B12, and folic acid, protects neurons by breaking down homocysteine, an amino acid that is toxic to nerve cells. They’re also involved in making red blood cells, which carry oxygen. (Best sources: spinach and other dark leafy greens, broccoli, asparagus, strawberries, melons, black beans and other legumes, citrus fruits, soybeans.)
Antioxidants like vitamins C and E, and beta carotene, fight free radicals, which are atoms formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. Free radicals are highly reactive and can damage cells, but antioxidants can interact with them safely and neutralize them. Antioxidants also improve the flow of oxygen through the body and brain. (Best sources: blueberries and other berries, sweet potatoes, red tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, green tea, nuts and seeds, citrus fruits, liver.)
Omega-3 fatty acids are concentrated in the brain and are associated with cognitive function. They count as “healthy” fats, as opposed to saturated fats and trans fats, protecting against inflammation and high cholesterol. (Best sources: cold-water fish such as salmon, herring, tuna, halibut, and mackerel; walnuts and walnut oil; flaxseed and flaxseed oil)
Because older adults are more prone to B12 and folic acid deficiencies, a supplement may be a good idea for seniors. An omega-3 supplement (at any age) if you don’t like eating fish. But nutrients work best when they’re consumed in foods, so try your best to eat a broad spectrum of colorful plant foods and choose fats that will help clear, not clog, your arteries. Your brain will thank you!

See Helpguide’s Healthy Eating and Healthy Fats for more information.
Memory and aging
Several factors cause aging brains to experience changes in the ability to retain and retrieve memories:

The hippocampus is especially vulnerable to age-related deterioration, and that can affect how well you retain information.
There’s a relative loss of neurons with age, which can affect the activity of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters and their receptors.
An older person often experiences decreased blood flow to the brain and processes nutrients that enhance brain activity less efficiently than a younger person.
However, in healthy older adults, these changes represent more of a slowing in the ability to absorb, store, and retrieve new information, not a loss. The factual information you’ve accumulated over the years remains largely intact, as does procedural memory. You can make and recall new long-term memories; the process just takes a little longer.

Of course, some older adults do develop more significant problems with memory that are the result of diseases such as Alzheimer’s or stroke; injury; poor nutrition; other physiological issues; or emotional problems.

For more information on aging and how it affects memory,
see Helpguide’s Recognizing, Reducing and Preventing Age-Related Memory Loss.

Memory improvement:
Memory Improvement and Learning Skills – A resource chock-full of articles on every aspect of memory improvement. There are also sections titled Mnemonics, Amazing Brain, and Great Minds. (Project Happy Child, UK)

Don’t Forget! Playing Games With Memory – A series of four memory games designed for kids of all ages that test memory along with advice for improving memory. (The Exploratorium, San Francisco)

Keep Your Brain Alive Exercise – Illustrated memory improvement exercises that teach you to exercise your brain. These mental gymnastics strengthen nerve connections and activate little-used pathways in your brain to help keep your mind fit. (Neurobics.com)

Improving your memory – Simple, clearly presented guide to how reviewing, organizing, interpreting and making associations for what you learn can help you with memory improvement. (University of Illinois at Chicago)

Nutrition and memory improvement:
Feed Your Head – Part of a special report on mental acuity, this article lists a number of foods that can help you stay sharp longer. (AARP)

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Improve Cognitive Function (commercial site) – Report on how fish oils, specifically DHA, help prevent memory loss. (Life Enhancement)

Memory and aging:
Memory and Memory Loss – Excellent explanation for the layperson of how memory works and the different degrees of memory loss, plus guidelines for preserving memory function. (Duke University Medical Center)

Memory Loss with Aging: What’s Normal, What’s Not? (Commercial site) – Easy-to-read article about the normal changes in memory as we age, as well as information on how to tell if your memory problems are serious. (FamilyDoctor.org).

Ellen Jaffe–Gill, M.A., Amara Rose, Gina Kemp, M.A., and Suzanne Barston contributed to this article. Last modified on: 11/21/07.
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Despite being the smartest computer on the planet, our brains get exhausted and need time to recuperate and recharge.

With these fourteen easy-to-follow tips - that are based on scientific research from the past decade - you’ll be able to achieve brain maintenance that’s so essential to staying smart.

1. Eat Almonds

2. Drink Apple Juice

3. Sleep well

4. Enjoy music you love

5. Play with your children

6. Run, bike or swim everyday

7. Fast for a day

8. Play scrabble or crossword puzzle

9. Learn a new skill or a language

10. Practice Yoga or Meditation

11. Reduce Sugar intake

12. Eat a light meal in the night

13. Control your temper

14. Take Vitamin B-complex
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Default How to Improve your brain/memory?

Everyone can take steps to improve their memory, and with time and practice most people can gain the ability to memorize seemingly impossible amounts of information. Whether you want to win the World Memory Championships, ace your history test, or simply remember where you put your keys, this article can get you started. Scientists believe that exercising your brain can create a ‘cognitive reserve’ that will help you stay sharp as you age.


1. Convince yourself that you do have a good memory that will improve.

Too many people get stuck here and convince themselves that their memory is bad, that they are just not good with names, that numbers just slip out of their minds for some reason. Erase those thoughts and vow to improve your memory. Commit yourself to the task and bask in your achievements — it’s hard to keep motivated if you beat yourself down every time you make a little bit of progress.

2. Keep your brain active.

The brain is not a muscle, but regularly “exercising” the brain actually does keep it growing and spurs the development of new nerve connections that can help improve memory. By developing new mental skills—especially complex ones such as learning a new language or learning to play a new musical instrument—and challenging your brain with puzzles and games you can keep your brain active and improve its physiological functioning.

3. Exercise daily.

Regular aerobic exercise improves circulation and efficiency throughout the body, including in the brain, and can help ward off the memory loss that comes with aging. Exercise also makes you more alert and relaxed, and can thereby improve your memory uptake, allowing you to take better mental “pictures.”

4. Reduce stress.


Chronic stress, although it does not physically damage the brain, can make remembering much more difficult. Even temporary stresses can make it more difficult to effectively focus on concepts and observe things. Try to relax, regularly practice yoga or other stretching exercises, and see a doctor if you have severe chronic stress.

5. Eat well and eat right.

There are a lot of herbal supplements on the market that claim to improve memory, but none have yet been shown to be effective in clinical tests (although small studies have shown some promising results for ginkgo biloba and phosphatidylserine). A healthy diet, however, contributes to a healthy brain, and foods containing antioxidants—broccoli, blueberries, spinach, and berries, for example—and Omega-3 fatty acids appear to promote healthy brain functioning. Feed your brain with such supplements as Thiamine, Vitamin E, Niacin and Vitamin B-6. Grazing, eating 5 or 6 small meals throughout the day instead of 3 large meals, also seems to improve mental functioning (including memory) by limiting dips in blood sugar, which may negatively affect the brain.

6. Take better pictures.

Often we forget things not because our memory is bad, but rather because our observational skills need work. One common situation where this occurs (and which almost everyone can relate to) is meeting new people. Often we don’t really learn people’s names at first because we aren’t really concentrating on remembering them. You’ll find that if you make a conscious effort to remember such things, you’ll do much better. One way to train yourself to be more observant is to look at an unfamiliar photograph for a few seconds and then turn the photograph over and describe or write down as many details as you can about the photograph. Try closing your eyes and picturing the photo in your mind. Use a new photograph each time you try this exercise, and with regular practice you will find you’re able to remember more details with even shorter glimpses of the photos.

7. Give yourself time to form a memory.

Memories are very fragile in the short-term, and distractions can make you quickly forget something as simple as a phone number. The key to avoid losing memories before you can even form them is to be able to focus on the thing to be remembered for a while without thinking about other things, so when you’re trying to remember something, avoid distractions and complicated tasks for a few minutes.

8. Create vivid, memorable images.

You remember information more easily if you can visualize it. If you want to associate a child with a book, try not to visualize the child reading the book – that’s too simple and forgettable. Instead, come up with something more jarring, something that sticks, like the book chasing the child, or the child eating the book. It’s your mind – make the images as shocking and emotional as possible to keep the associations strong.

9. Repeat things you need to learn.

The more times you hear, see, or think about something, the more surely you’ll remember it, right? It’s a no-brainer. When you want to remember something, be it your new coworker’s name or your best friend’s birthday, repeat it, either out loud or silently. Try writing it down; think about it.

10. Group things you need to remember.

Random lists of things (a shopping list, for example) can be especially difficult to remember. To make it easier, try categorizing the individual things from the list. If you can remember that, among other things, you wanted to buy four different kinds of vegetables, you’ll find it easier to remember all four.

11. Organize your life.


Keep items that you frequently need, such as keys and eyeglasses, in the same place every time. Use an electronic organizer or daily planner to keep track of appointments, due dates for bills, and other tasks. Keep phone numbers and addresses in an address book or enter them into your computer or cell phone. Improved organization can help free up your powers of concentration so that you can remember less routine things. Even if being organized doesn’t improve your memory, you’ll receive a lot of the same benefits (i.e. you won’t have to search for your keys anymore).

12. Try meditation.

Research now suggests that people who regularly practice “mindfulness” meditation are able to focus better and may have better memories. Mindfulness (also known as awareness or insight meditation) is the type commonly practiced in Western countries and is easy to learn. Studies at Massachusetts General Hospital show that regular meditation thickens the cerebral cortex in the brain by increasing the blood flow to that region. Some researchers believe this can enhance attention span, focus, and memory.

13. Sleep well.

The amount of sleep we get affects the brain’s ability to recall recently learned information. Getting a good night’s sleep – a minimum of seven hours a night – may improve your short-term memory and long-term relational memory, according to recent studies conducted at the Harvard Medical School.

14. Build your memorization arsenal.

Learn pegs, memory palaces, and the Dominic System. These techniques form the foundation for mnemonic techniques, and will visibly improve your memory.

15. Venture out and learn from your mistakes.

Go ahead and take a stab at memorizing the first one hundred digits of pi, or, if you’ve done that already, the first one thousand. Memorize the monarchs of England through your memory palaces, or your grocery list through visualization. Through diligent effort you will eventually master the art of memorization.

I found it useful for my forum fellows.

Regards,
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Default 13 steps to improve your Memory..

1. Organize your life

2. Exercise your brain (puzzles etc.)

3. Exercise daily (walk for 30min)

4. Reduce stress & take naps

5. Eat well & eat right (fruit, veggies, fish)

6. Sleep well (also nap in afternoon)

7. Give yourself time to form a memory

8. Memorize in parts not a whole

9. Categorize information; dont be-random

10. Continually repeat what you've memorized

11. Participate in group discussions

12. Build your memorization techniques

13. Venture out and learn from your mistakes....
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Old Saturday, August 24, 2013
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Nap in the afternoon - does that really work?
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