Mind your memory

Staying strong in mind and body will help keep your memory in good shape.
Here are ten helpful tips:

1. Use it and you won’t lose it.
Engage in activities that make you think and learn new things. For example, learn to play chess, socialize, attend cultural events, take an evening class.

2. Keep your body healthy.
Eat nutritiously. Try “neurobics” – exercising for the brain as well as the body. Whether you walk, dance, or do something else, enjoying it is key. Get enough sleep. Avoid smoking, and drinking too much alcohol. See your doctor for regular checkups.

3. Repeat information.
To memorize something, repeat it to yourself several times and gradually space out the repetitions over longer and longer intervals.

4. Pay attention.
Make a point of focusing on information you want to remember, such as the name of a person you’ve just met or where you parked your car.

5. Talk to yourself.
State out loud (or to yourself) the task you intend to do or are currently doing – why you came into the living room, for example.

6. Be consistent.
Memory strategies work best when used consistently. Use your notebook or day planner every day. Keep items that are easily misplaced (keys, reading glasses) in a sensible location and get into the habit of always returning them to those places.

7. Manage stress.
Make time for things you find relaxing such as going for a stroll, listening to music, or reading a good book. Meditating, deep breathing and yoga are also good ways to relieve stress.

8. Write things down.
Use a notebook or electronic organizer to record phone numbers, important dates, current medication, etc. Writing things down does not make your memory lazy – it’s an active memory strategy.

9. Make things meaningful.
To remember a name, think about what the name means or associate it with something or someone that reminds you of the name.

10. Think positively.
There are things you can do to improve your memory and having a positive attitude will make them easier to learn and remember. If you are depressed and worried about your memory, consult your doctor.

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