How to Have a Sharper Memory

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Your brain is an amazing thing. Each part of your brain is continuously working to do many different functions at the same time. One part tells your heart to breathe, another tells your body how to walk, and other parts help you form thoughts and words to communicate with others. As we age, our brain starts to work a little slower. Just like a muscle, you need to exercise your mind to keep it sharp. Here are some ways to have a sharper memory:

  1. Read: Our mind becomes dull if we stop using it. Don’t let your brain become idle with television and electronics. Put your brain to work by constantly learning new things through reading. Read fiction novels, self-help books, or nonfiction history. Read what you’re interested in to keep you motivated to keep reading. You’ll find new connections in things around you, and you’ll grow your vocabulary. No matter what you read, the action of using your brain will keep your mind sharp and improve your memory.
  2. Don’t Use Maps: We’ve become so accustomed to having a GPS system with us no matter where we go. Even if we’ve lived in a city for years, we still program a GPS system to get to our destination. While you are learning to navigate a new city, it’s fine to have the aid of the GPS for a while, but try to commit your surroundings to memory. The hippocampus is a small area in our brain that is responsible for spatial recognition. One scientific study showed that taxi drivers have a significantly larger hippocampus than other professions. Use your mind to remember your local streets and businesses to keep your spatial awareness sharp.
  3. Mnemonics: These are strategies or tricks to help us remember things. Make Songs: If there is a certain phrase that you need to remember later, use a memory trick like a song. Setting things to music helps our mind connect thoughts and ideas, making it easier to recall. When we hear ourselves speak words, several parts of the brain are used. Your brain uses one part to make the words, and another to hear the words, which makes it more likely that we will commit it to long term memory. Sing it to someone else, so that you share the memory, and they can remind you if you forget a part. Funny Stories: Think of something you need to remember, and correlate it with something that is strange or funny to you. If you need to remember a shopping list, but don’t have a pen and paper, then create a short story about the things that you need. Let’s say your grocery list is cat food, applesauce, and plastic utensils. Create a visual story that will help you remember everything on your list. Something like, Kittens bowled with apples and knocked down all of the forks and spoons.

Use your full attention when doing an activity to commit everything to memory. The more often you repeat something over a span of time, the more likely you are to remember something long term. Our body and mind go hand in hand. Exercise your mind and your body to stay sharp and fit to have a long and fulfilling life.

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