Not many of us can boast of a sharp memory, and those who do, certainly seem to have an edge professionally and personally as well. We’re not recommending any magic pill to boost your memory but rather some tips that will help you do so:
Clench your fist
This may sound weird but research suggests that balling up your right hand and squeezing it tightly actually makes it easier to memorise phone numbers or shopping lists. Later, when you want to retrieve the information, clench the left fist. Researchers think the movements activate brain regions key to the storing and recall of memories.
Alphabets to the rescue
When you’re trying to recall a piece of information such as the name of an actor in a film but just can’t seem to do so, use the alphabet search method. Basically, go through the alphabet to find the first letter of the word or name you are trying to remember in order to jog your memory. This trick really works.
Exercise more frequently
This is no rocket science because many studies have shown that aerobic exercise improves cognitive function and is particularly good at enhancing memory. Also, exercise is believed to encourage the growth of new brain cells in the hippocampus – an area of the brain important in memory and learning.
Ditch drinking at night
Alcohol may help you fall asleep but it leads to a disrupted night’s rest. Moreover, it has a harmful effect on concentration and memory, opine researchers. Not to forget the more you drink, the less deep – or REM – sleep you get.
Say the words out loud
Perhaps, the easiest of all methods for remembering anything is to say the words out loud, be it remembering where you put your car keys or what you need from the shop or revising for a test, say memory experts. Studies found that saying what you want to remember out loud to yourself – or even mouthing it – will help with recall.
Kick the butt
If you thought smoking only leads to cancer, you’re wrong. A separate study found that middle-aged smokers performed less well on tests compared with those without the tobacco habit.
Give yourself a cue
If there’s something you have to do every day at a specific time and often forget, a technique called implementation intentions can help you. For example, say to yourself ‘On my way home, I have to pick up clothes from the dry cleaners.’
Get visually speaking
A type of memory aid involves using imagery or visuals rather than words. For example, a classic way of remembering a person’s name is to try and imagine it (or something associated to it) on the person’s face. Psychologists have found that the more bizarre and vivid the image, the better it works.
Consume more milk
For study purposes, scientists asked subjects to fill in detailed surveys on their diets for tests to check their concentration, memory and learning abilities. They found that subjects who consumed dairy products at least five or six times a week did far better in memory tests compared with those who rarely ate or drank them.
Eating too much can double the risk of memory problems in old age, according to an American research. Studies found a high-calorie intake can substantially increase the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, characterised by memory loss, which can precede dementia.
A walk in the park
A study found people who walked around a garden did 20% better on a memory test than those who walked around streets.
Not only do music lovers perform better in cognitive tests, but research has also shown the beneficial effects of music on those with Alzheimer’s disease. It is believed that music with strong rhythms and patterns, like reggae and salsa, are best for memory and problem-solving. In fact, the more complex the dance, the more the brain will be challenged.