Forgetting where you put your keys or missing someone’s birthday may become a more frequent occurrence with each passing year. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are a growing problem as America’s population continues to age. But don’t panic at the prospect of joining the ranks of seniors – memory loss is not an inevitable part of old age.
If you want to boost your memory and sharpen your mind, here are seven tricks you can implement right now.
7 tricks to boost memory
Become a creature of habit: Sticking to a routine and partaking in the same habits can help you stay organized and boost memory. If you continuously put your things in the same spot, for example, you will be less likely to forget where they went.
Use visual cues: Place items or images in areas you visit frequently to serve you as reminders about the important tasks to compete. For example, if you need to walk the dog, keep its leash around the door handle, so before you head out you will see it and remember to bring the dog with you.
Pair essential items with common items: Similar to visual cues, placing items of secondary importance next to the items of primary importance will help you remember about the former because you can’t do without the latter. For example, keep your lunch bag near your car keys, so that when you grab your keys you will be less likely to leave your lunch behind.
Tie emotions to things: Attaching an emotional significance to tasks or objects can help you remember them better. For example, if you forget to pay your house bills, you won’t have power or water, which is dreadful to the family. This can instill fear or sadness, prompting you to remember to pay the bills. Or, consider how badly someone’s feelings may be hurt if you forget their birthday – this, in turn, will make you sad, so you will remember to call in on the date.
Create a story: Ever left your house with a bunch of errands in mind to only come back home and realize you forgot to complete half of them? Before you step out the door, create a story of what you need to do. For example, “Today I need to dash down the block for milk or else we won’t have cereal, and I need to mail my letter or else the recipient won’t get birthday card on time.” That is a tame example, but the more outrageous your story is, the more likely you will remember it.
Group items together: Your short-term memory can only hold so much information, so grouping items together can help “save space,” so to speak. For example, if you’re planning to make a meatloaf, you may find yourself at the store trying to recall every ingredient in the recipe. That’s pretty tricky, isn’t it? Instead, think of the meatloaf as one unit. This one big thought should trigger the ingredient list in your mind.
Use all your senses: We have five senses, which can all boost our memory. You can try to remember something by forming a sensory association. For example, if you need to buy lemons at the store, smell lemons at home (or anything that is lemon scented), so when you get to the store and smell lemons, it will trigger a reminder that you need them. Scent is a powerful sense that can really trigger our memory. Try to use your senses as much as possible as a memory booster.
By implementing these tips, you can better help improve your memory and be less forgetful.