Suggestions for Increasing Memory Power
In addition to the medical prescriptions and psychological gymnastics recommended to increase memory power, here are a few everyday activities which can help with the process. Some of them are already in your daily routine, and can benefit both your long term and short term memory if you are intentional.
Try Singing without a Song Sheet
(1) The Oldies
Begin the day with singing. Think of an oldie you used to know—an old hymn if you have morning devotionals, for your first memory exercise. If have the song on a CD, play it and sing along, paying attention to make sure you still remember the lyrics. If you missed some words, try it again with the intent of improving where you missed the words the first time. If you are a churchgoer, use the hymn time to jog your memory. Close the hymnbook, look away from the song screen, and let the old memory surprise you.
(2) The Shopping List
Make your shopping list and try to memorize it before you leave the house. Make sure you count the number of items you need; then put away the list in your purse or pocket. Enjoy the ride to the store and get ready to shop. Pick up the items you remember and count to make sure you have everything. Look at your list when you think you’re finished. Check to see how well your memory power served you.
(3) Mental Arithmetic
If you’re brave enough to attempt two things at once, do some mental arithmetic while you pick up the items on your list. Remember four times eight? Do the math when you buy 4lbs. of walnuts at $8 per pound, and keep adding (like you used to) as you pick up items. See how close you are to the correct amount when the cashier gives you the total. If you’re not correct, check the receipt and convince yourself that with a little more effort, you can still do it.
(4) Telephone Numbers
The next time you have to make a telephone call to someone you call regularly, don’t check the number. Even if you have not memorized it, put your fingers over the keypad and try to remember the number. It may surprise you that you memorized it unintentionally. If you missed a digit or two, make a mental note of the ones you did not remember. Say or write the entire phone number then try it this time, next time and again. Repeat with other phone numbers.
Some people short-cut the password process; they use the same password for emails, bank records, credit cards, debit cards and everything else. Passwords can actually become an exercise to boost memory power if there is more than one password to remember. Devise a way to connect each account with a password. For example, for your bank account choose a password which reminds you of money; for your department store account, use a password which you associate with the kind of purchases you make—furniture, clothes etc. Have a record somewhere of all these passwords, but be intentional about consulting it less and less, until you do not consult it at all.
(6) The Bus Ride
Puzzles are great for brain power boosts, but they are not the only useful suggestions for exercises you can do from a comfortable seat on the bus. As soon as you are seated, take out your pencil and notepad. Look in one direction—to your right or to your left—and make a note (in shorthand) of four or five colors specific people are wearing, or maybe the color of the purse or backpack they are carrying. For example: on the left of page write “bald.” On the right scribble “brown.” Scribble for three or four more people. Do that quickly, and then turn your head in the opposite direction. At the next bus stop, cover the right side list and see if you remember who is wearing what color. See how well your short term memory serves you.
Which Activity Do You Prefer?
Which one of these activities are you most likely to use as a memory exercise?
Trying a new recipe? Boost your short term memory power by memorizing the ingredients. Check your list when you think you’re done gathering all the items. Now try to memorize the method, but for each step, check to make sure before you act on your guess, since it would be havoc to do something which cannot be undone. Not only will you exercise your memory power, you will soon learn the recipe by heart.
(8) Something New
Give your memory something new to work on. Select an inspirational passage from the Bible or from your favorite author. Print and post it in a place where you will see it throughout the day—for example, on the kitchen counter or on your desk at work. Read it as often as you can and immediately after reading, try to recite the lines or phrases you can remember. Soon you’ll begin putting bits and pieces together until you remember the entire passage. If you repeat these suggestions several times a year you would have memorized several passages with minimal effort. Keep them in your memory by reciting them often.
© 2013 Dora Isaac Weithers