Where are My Keys? Three Top Tricks to Boost Your Memory
How often have you torn the house apart in search of your keys, and found that they were in your bag all along? Maybe your boss told you how to do something which, not ten minutes later, you’ve completely forgotten, or perhaps you walked the kids to school and then, at the gate, remembered that today was the bake sale, and you were in charge of bringing the cookies. According to Martha Weinman Lear, author of the forthcoming book Where Did I Leave My Glasses? The What, When, and Why of Normal Memory Loss, getting forgetful is normal as you age, but you don’t have to put up with it.
Firstly, if you need to keep track of all the things on your To Do list, play a little mind game. Creatively tie all your tasks together, as if you were telling yourself a story involving your appointments and errands. Scott Hagwood, a memory contest champ and author of Memory Power: You Can Develop a Great Memory—America’s Grand Master Shows You How, explains, ‘Say you have to remember to buy milk and also take your son to the dentist. You can link those tasks together by imagining your son drinking a glass of milk, and seeing the milk wash over his teeth, depositing calcium.’
If you have a little trouble remembering names, a few eye exercises can help. According to British researchers, if you stop and move your eyes back and forth horizontally for 30 seconds before you enter a room full of people, it will help you retain the words and names that you hear. This is because your brain’s hemispheres interact with the horizontal movement, which memory wellness experts say is important in retrieving information.
To be one of those people who can multitask gracefully, try learning a new language. Margie Lachman, PhD, professor and chair of psychology at Brandeis University, and director of the Lifespan Developmental Psychology Laboratory, says ‘Stretch your mind, and you can create new pathways in the brain,’ which help you stay on top of things. Just drilling a few vocabulary words of a different language alongside an instructional CD in the car, or taking up a hobby like cooking or dancing, can get those pathways brewing.