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How to Increase Memory Power with Everyday Activities

Updated on August 28, 2017
MsDora profile image

MsDora, former teacher and counselor, is fascinated by the study of healthy aging and loves to share the information she finds.

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.


1) Sing Some 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 you missed some words, try it again with the CD playing or looking at the lyrics (most available online), paying attention to the words you missed the first time. In addition, if you are a churchgoer, use the hymn time to jog your memory. Close the hymnbook, look away from the song screen, and exercise the old memory.

Sing without a Songsheet

Photo by SplitShire
Photo by SplitShire | Source

2) Memorize 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) Put Away the Calculator

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 the money as you add the 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.

Do Some Mental Artithmetic

Photo by Alexas-Fotos
Photo by Alexas-Fotos | Source

4) Dial Numbers from Memory

The next time you have to make a telephone call to someone you call regularly, try to dial without checking the number. Even if you have not memorized it, put your fingers over the keypad. It may surprise you that you memorized it unintentionally. If you think you missed a digit or two, check the number then and make a mental note of the ones you did not remember. Say or write the entire phone number and make the effort to memorize it.

5) Plan a Password System

Use Several Passwords

Photo by geralt
Photo by geralt | Source

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) Match Colors on the Bus

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 (or in a waiting room). 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 “baldie” 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 (or 10 minutes after) cover the right side list and try to remember what color baldie was wearing, then go on down the page trying to give the right color for each one. Turn again and see how well your short term memory serves you.


7) Memorize the Recipe

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) Try 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 memorize several passages with minimal effort. Keep them in your memory by reciting them often.

Which Activity Do You Prefer?

Which one of these activities are you most likely to use as a memory exercise?

See results

© 2013 Dora Isaac Weithers

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    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Peg, thanks for your comment. Hope you mom can try something like singing without the hymnbook and remembering phone numbers. At 89, she may need a little more help. All the best going forward.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      These are such great ways to stimulate memory. My two favorites are singing oldies in the shower and the shopping list. Lately my concerns have increased for my mother who is losing a lot of precious daily memories even forgetting that we went to the doctor recently. She tries to "work" on the computer everyday to help strengthen her cognizant skills. At nearly 89, she still amazes me.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Mathi, thank you for checking out my article.

    • mathira profile image

      mathira 4 years ago from chennai

      Yes MsDora, your hints will definitely work. It is very practical and easy.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Kasman, the singing guy in the shower makes me smile too. Thanks for your affirmation of the article, and for voting and sharing.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Susan, we all suffer memory deficiency at some time. The shopping list exercise is a good one. Thanks for your votes.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Kitkat1141, glad you see the value of these exercises. As for the passwords, you can decide to have more or less passwords. Thanks for your input.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Marcy, don't forget the tips or don't forget to find a way to remember them? Either way, thanks for reading and I'm glad you found the tips helpful.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

      I need to find a way to remember to do these! Hope I don't forget . . .

      Truly a helpful hub - many thanks!

    • kitkat1141 profile image

      kitkat1141 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I love these practical ideas to exercise the brain. We don't all have the time and patience to sit down and do crossword puzzles! I already do some of these tips, like the grocery list one. The password exercise sounds dangerous! Nowadays you need a password for everything!!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I've been doing the shopping list exercise for most of my life and was happy to see it here on your hub. I should try a few more of your suggestions though as my memory isn't what it used to be.

      Voted up, interesting and sharing.

    • Kasman profile image

      Kas 4 years ago from Bartlett, Tennessee

      I liked this hub for one reason....I have such a temperamental memory, very selective actually. I'm now in the mode of just repeating to myself all the things I need to put into my pockets as I'm about to leave.....wallet, phone, etc. It's definitely helped to increase my memory stats. I also think the picture of the guy in the shower is hilarious with his glasses on. Great hub on this, I think the shopping list is a great idea! Voting up and sharing!

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Born2Care, so happy that you found the article interesting. We all have to try, and these are everyday efforts we can make. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Born2care2001 profile image

      Rev Bruce S Noll HMN 4 years ago from Asheville NC

      Hi MsDora,

      This is a hub of great interest to an aging guy who desperately wants to remain contemporary in every facet! I'm going to try more than one of this tools. Thanks for helping me...and every other person who care about there neural pathways!

      Voted up and interesting!

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Mathira, join the club of memory power laggers. We have to be intentional about sustaining our memories.

    • mathira profile image

      mathira 4 years ago from chennai

      Useful tips McDora, worth following. My memory power is lagging and I think I should follow your excellent tips.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Habee, that's great. We should all be paying attention to memory improvement. Thanks for sharing.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 4 years ago from Georgia

      I do a lot of mental exercises to help my memory. I'm always making lists on paper and in my head. Great ideas. Voted up!

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Rajan. I appreciate your input and I understand your comment.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      These are interesting and useful exercises for the brain. Exercising the brain will keep the memory sharp.

      Voted as interesting and useful.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Marlene, glad you find these tips helpful. True, the longer we live, the more we need these and more.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 4 years ago from Northern California, USA

      As I get older, I find that I actively have to deploy various tricks to help jog my memory. These are all very helpful tips.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Billybuc, really lucky for you that your memory still functions well. Those of us who write have our memory work cut out for us.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Khmazz, I smiled at what you said about your dad. I wonder if he will smile too. Anyway, I'm very pleased that you like the ideas.

    • khmazz profile image

      Kristen Mazzola 4 years ago from South Florida

      What fantastic ideas!! I am going to have to give these a try! Thanks for sharing them, MsDora...My dad is going to have to try them with me (his memory has never been good)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I don't know how I missed this one my friend, but I'm here now. I am of the age where these tips are most useful and appreciated. Luckily my years of teaching kept my memory functioning pretty well, and I have found writing stimulates my mind too....still, these tips will come in handy. Thank you!

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Hi Nell, thanks for commenting and sharing these interesting and fun ideas.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      Hi, I remember when I was doing a psychology class, we had a shopping list test, we had thirty seconds to memorise it! lol! the secret was to make everything 'big' in our minds. and then make it into a story. Such as, tomatoes, imagine you are carrying a huge tomato and its getting heavy, cheese, you slip on the cheese because its on the floor, and so on, it was silly but so much fun! lol! great ideas MsDora, and so helpful, nell

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Fastfreta, greetings! Glad to meet you. Hope you have fun and success with the mental arithmetic. It keeps the brain from getting lazy.

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 4 years ago from Southern California

      Very good hub, I am going to try the mental arithmetic one. I've done most of the others and they really do work. Thanks for the suggestions. Voted up, useful, interesting.

    • MsDora profile image
      Author

      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Doc, thank you for affirming my suggestions. You prove that they're doable. I appreciate your input.

    • drmiddlebrook profile image

      Sallie B Middlebrook PhD 4 years ago from Texas, USA

      I use the passwords memory trick, not in the exact way you mentioned, but I come up with numbers (not obvious to anyone except me) that mean something to me, and then an order for them that means something too. I also try to be within $5 to $10 of my bill when I get to the checkout in the grocery store every week. It never fails to me amaze me how often I am no more than a dollar or two away from the exact bill!

      Great article! Voted up and useful.

    • MsDora profile image
      Author

      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Icbenefield. Hopefully, it would become less and less strenuous; but then you might have to try something new to continue the workout.

    • lcbenefield profile image

      lcbenefield 4 years ago from Georgia

      These are some really good ideas. My brain would definitely get a work out trying to remember everything on my shopping list and keeping the talley without pen and paper. Thanks for sharing this.

    • MsDora profile image
      Author

      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Frank. Something new tests the short term memory, which is where the malfunction is more as we grow older.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      very interesting msDora.. I like giving the memory something new that sounds like it'll work great list here thank you :) Frank