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    5 Quick Exercises to Improve Your Memory

    Note: This is a guest post by freelance writer Uma Campbell.

    crossword

    Whether you’re a student with final exams and midterms coming up, or someone who is simply experiencing the natural effects of aging (as much as we’re loathe to admit it, it happens), we all wish we had a better memory.  Some believe that a good memory is something born with, but we can all have a good memory; it’s a case of mind over matter.  Here are five tips (in no particular order) that are sure to help you stay sharp:

    1. Create routines for yourself.  Always losing your glasses? Make a space where you’ll be sure to remember them—a glasses stand or a simple bowl can be a great option.  Or, if you have trouble remembering to floss, make it a rule to floss every time you shower, and you will be more likely to remember.  Simple but effective!
    2.  Focus is an important element in memory. These days with excess stimuli constantly coming from our iPads, smartphones, etc., it can be difficult to truly focus. Take some time to unplug; turn off all of your electronic media, and you’ll find that it helps your ability to remember.  For example, if you have an important test coming up, make sure to give yourself the peace and quiet to do so.
    3. Be creative; expand your brain.  Sound difficult?  It’s not: just by simply taking the time to write down your memories, you drastically improve your recall ability.  Some people even find it helpful to keep a memory journal—a book kept handy for birthdays, to-do lists, phone numbers, ideas and more.  It has been shown that the simple exercise of writing something down helps your brain retain the information.  And if you’re not one for writing?  Even repeating something aloud to yourself can help you remember it — you will find that repetition is a key factor in an effective memory.
    4. Brain exercises can also be helpful. Activities like reading, crossword puzzles, playing music—even watching trivia shows like Jeopardy can help keep your mind sharp and active.  Studies have shown that activities like crosswords can slow the effects of dementia.  It has also been shown that new activities—be it a class in a discipline you’re not familiar with, or world travel—will improve your ability to recall memories.
    5. In addition to exercising your mind, actual physical exercise can also help improve your memory.  Did you know that dancing, particularly ballroom dancing, is especially good for your memory?  According to a 2003 study, it has been shown to help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.  So, in addition to acting as some light cardio to keep your body in tip-top condition, it can also help to keep your mind on point. If you’re not looking for any strenuous activity, even meditating has been proven to improve your memory. A University of Washington study found that meditating improved your memory by enabling you to concentrate more, remember more details and stay in an overall better mood.

    So there you have it: with just a few simple tweaks to your routine, you’ll greatly improve your memory.  You might even have a good time while you’re at it: take up ballroom dance, complete the Sunday crossword while watching Who Wants to be a Millionaire, go to string quartet practice, and start writing in a journal—who said improving your memory had to be a chore?  To us, it sounds quite fun.


    Uma Campbell is a freelance writer from Southern California. She loves learning about natural ways to combat the effects of aging, To view more of her writing, you can visit the Soothing Walls website.



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    6 Responses to “5 Quick Exercises to Improve Your Memory”

    1. Bruce says:

      : You might even have a good time while you’re at it: take up ballroom dance, complete the Sunday crossword while watching Who Wants to be a Millionaire, go to string quartet practice, and start writing in a journal—who said improving your memory had to be a chore? To us, it sounds quite fun.

      Mihály Csíkszentmihályi’s concept of “Flow” comes to mind. You want a level of mental challenge in which you are not bored (and hence letting your mental skills waste away) and you are not anxious (and hence unable to concentrate).

    2. Laurie says:

      Here’s an interesting article on this topic from Harvard Health Publications and it basically agrees with this post in mind-meditations:
      http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/two-ways-to-stay-mentally-sharp

      The Harvard Health Publication article also states “Establishing and maintaining close ties with others is another way to maintain mental skills and memory.” That activity is obviously beyond the scope of “quick exercises to improve your memory”!

    3. Karen says:

      : Focus is an important element in memory.

      Memory retention and multi-tasking definitely do not work well together!

    4. Tom says:

      : It has been shown that the simple exercise of writing something down helps your brain retain the information.

      Yes, that worked for me in college. I wonder if typing is as effective as writing. I suspect it is. Both seem to provide the same benefit: a form of rehearsal and a visual representation of your thoughts.

      • Cindy says:

        : Yes, that worked for me in college. I wonder if typing is as effective as writing. …

        I heard on the John Tesh radio show the other night that thanks to digital devices, people are writing much less frequently. In fact, people are losing their handwriting skills!

    5. Lynn says:

      : A University of Washington study found that meditating improved your memory …

      That finding dovetails nicely with the previous mind-meditations article entitled “Benefits of Teaching Children About Meditation”!

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