I’ve been told by several people that I am around a lot that I have a terrible memory – kinda like Dory from Finding Nemo. I LOVE THAT MOVIE! Ellen did such a great job. I can’t believe she’s gonna be an American Idol judge! Wait, what was I saying? Oh yeah, I think I have a pretty good long term memory, but it’s the short one that is a bit of a challenge I’ve found over the past couple years. I keep meaning to buy some Omega-3 Fatty Acids supplements or play some memory games (as per Donovan‘s advice) but I keep forgetting to. It’s a vicious cycle. So, I’ve decided to write an article so I can spend some time thinking about it. Here are some ways I found that are supposed to help:
Tell yourself that you have a good memory. If you tell yourself that you have a bad memory or are bad with names, etc., it isn’t going to do any good to help you. Okay, so that is one major thing I can change right now. The more people have told me I have bad memory, the more I believe I do, the more I have accepted that having a bad memory was my reality.
You can add/change a few things in your diet.Of course, eat well and eat right, but there are some other specific things that can help. B Vitamins (particularly B6, B12, and Folic Acid which is B9) are good because they help for a protective shield for neurons traveling to the brain and they also aid in the production of red blood cells which carry oxygen to the brain. Also, Antioxidants (Vitamin C, E, and beta carotene) help protect brain tissue by breaking down free radicals, which can impair the functioning of neurons in your brain. In addition, as aforementioned, taking Omega 3 fatty acids helps because they contain important fat molecules that enhance memory and brain function. You can find it in fish (salmon, tuna, halibut, etc.), walnuts, and flaxseed. As a supplement, Ginko Biloba has had a lot of hype for memory loss but it hasn’t been proven. That being said, it does help with the flow of blood, including the blood to your brain, which thus helps.
Exercise your brain. Just as Donovan told me, this helps the brain to keep growing and helps develop new nerve connections that can improve your memory. Dono mentioned that there are some games I can download on my iPhone, so I have to do that, as it is probably the most convenient way for me to do puzzles, etc. Any good ones you know of?
Exercise daily. This makes you more alert and relaxed, and of course improves your circulation. It also helps you to better be able to take “mental pictures” throughout your day.
Reduce stress. Stress kills, so if not for my memory, I know that I have to always minimize stress, which is sometimes challenging for me but I’m getting better at knowing how to avoid it and how to deal with it.
Be patient. Memories are very fragile in the short-term, and I know all to well that distractions can make you quickly forget something as simple as a phone number – like right away. That is so me. The key to avoid losing memories before you can even form them is to be able to focus on the thing to be remembered for a while without thinking about other things, so when you’re trying to remember something, avoid distractions and complicated tasks for a few minutes.
Create vivid images. The more visual you can be, the more likely you are to remember something. If you want to associate a guy and you want to remember that he is a hairdresser (it just popped in my head), try not to visualize him working at the job – that’s too simple and forgettable. Instead, come up with something more jarring, like him chopping up Tyra Banks weave or the scissors chasing him down the street. The more shocking and emotional the images, the better.
Repeat, Repeat, Repeat. The more times you hear, see, or think about something, the better your chances are to remember, of course. If you want to remember a name. Repeat it to yourself several times, or write it down on paper.
Meditate. Hummmm. Research suggests that people who meditate are able to focus better and may have better memories, which totally makes sense to me.
Sleep well. The amount of sleep you get absolutely affects the brain’s ability to recall recently learned information. A minimum of 7 hours per night is good and may improve your short-term memory and long-term relational memory, according to a Harvard Study.
The next one is…I forget. I’m kidding. I think that’s a good start. Hopefully, I’m able to integrate these strategies into my regime because as the clock ticks, I don’t think it gets any easier to work with your memory.
What works for you? Do you have any memory issues? Long term memory or short?