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Simple Tips to Improve Your Memory

Updated on November 19, 2018
angela_michelle profile image

Having loved many people who have mental illnesses, Angela has researched as much as she can about the brain and mental illness.

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If you are like me, you probably have walked into a room and couldn't remember why you were there in the first place or set down your car keys with no recollection of where they are. Fortunately, my memory has improved greatly over the past years. It has been through these tips that I have increased my memory. Following these tips, I can't guarantee you'll always remember where those darn keys are, but you will find that you do think more clearly.

Brain Exercises

One person, who I will forever be in awe of, is my 92-year-old grandma. She is 92 and still as alert as, well me! I could say she has good genes, and I'm sure that is a big part of it, but she also did crosswords her entire life. She loved puzzles!

Then on the other side, after my grandfather had his stroke, he lost a lot of his memory. It has slowly come back, but I was not surprised when I discovered what the doctors told him to do to boost his memory: crossword puzzles, along with any other type of puzzles!

It' best if you do a variety of types of puzzles, as each kind exercises a different part of your brain. Crossword puzzles exercise your capability of thinking of a word, this will help you when you are trying to express yourself. Word searches help you to be more alert and pay closer attention, which will essentially help your memory retain what it has seen.

Some great suggestions:

  • Crossword puzzles
  • Word search
  • Sudoku
  • Mensa activity books
  • Even online games
  • Write on Hubpages or journal
  • Printable brain teasers found here

How Much Sleep Should I Get?

The average person needs 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Everyone's body is different, and some people need more than others, while others need less. Especially if you are pregnant, sick, suffer from a chronic illness, etc.
The average person needs 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Everyone's body is different, and some people need more than others, while others need less. Especially if you are pregnant, sick, suffer from a chronic illness, etc. | Source

Can Exercise Improve Your Memory?

I don't think it's a surprise to anyone that the better shape your body is in, the better shape your mind is in. Basically the more fit your body is, the better the circulation you have. The better circulation you have the better your brain is fed with a steady supply of oxygen. So not only will it benefit your memory in the here and now, but the more fit your mind will be as you get older.

It is recommended that you get thirty minutes a day of exercise three days a week. Along with exercising well, it is important to eat right as well. I recommend trying the couch to 5K program at coolrunnings.com. I did that and I am doing something I never thought I could do, due to my asthma, arthritis, and flat feet - running! This helps my mood, my sleep, and ultimately, you guessed it, my memory.

Sleep and Health

Getting plenty of sleep is an essential part of short-term memory. The more sleep you get, the better your short-term memory will be. Some people actually believe that the purpose of dreaming is to help us remember the day's events. Even if this is not true, recent studies done at Harvard University have proven that the amount of sleep a person gets in a night significantly impairs or promotes their ability to recall certain data.

There is also evidence that when we sleep, our mind is actually being remodeled. We often think of sleeping as a very passive activity, but truly sleeping is very active. It is restoring our damaged tissues and replenishing our bodies. We need a good amount of sleep in order to be fully functional at our top capacity.

Although they say most people need 8 hours of sleep, it is not unusual for someone to actually require as much as ten hours. Another person may be replenished after only seven hours of sleep. Everybody is different, and you need to be aware of your own needs regardless of statistical evidence.

Tips to Boost Memory

Memory Retention Tips: Increase Recall

There are also a lot of other ways you can retain information that may not fall into overall memory. Retention exercises work well when learning birth dates, appointments, names, data for a class, etc.

Repetitions:

One example of what someone might do is to simply repeat it over and over, which seems a little lame, but it works. Make sure you also allow enough time to learn it. If you become distracted too soon after you hear data, you will forget it much more easily.

It's important to exercise this habit, which will make it easier to remember things with less repetitions, for example if you're a Christian, practice memorizing verses. If not, then you could practice memorizing the first fifty numbers to pi, or the names of Presidents in a row, the states in alphabetical order, the countries in Africa. Find something that interests you, and set your mind to memorize it. It will be a great exercise for your brain and will help you recall those facts when you don't have a pen. This type of training also will exercise your mind, which will improve your capacity to learn.

Take Care Of Your Brain

You only have one brain, and its one of the few organs that cannot be donated  from someone else, so take care of it and exercise it!
You only have one brain, and its one of the few organs that cannot be donated from someone else, so take care of it and exercise it! | Source

Make Associations

I know when trying to memorize a phone number, I don't only repeat it several times but I also create associations. For instance, last week I did not have a pen; therefore I remembered or rather associated the first three digits with a similar phone number. I also noticed that the last four were almost in a pattern: 1324 - up 2, down 1, up 2. I often think of things in mathematical patterns like this. For those non math lovers, any association you can make as well. For instance my husband's phone number in high school, was a square if you dialed it.

With names or other things, you use different associations. For instance, while trying to remember your friend's husband's name is Paul, you might associate his name with a rhyming word like tall. Hey look it's tall Paul. Or if he's round. Paul is round like a ball. The more unusual, the more likely you'll remember.

There are so many ways to improve your memory. But the truth of the matter is, if you want to have a better memory as you age, you need to start now. The more you practice, the better sleep you get, and the more you challenge your brain, the better your memory will be as you get into your aging years. If you want to be one of those people who are quick with wit at ninety, then you need to decide that you need to work on it now. Although genes have a lot to do with memory, there's a lot we can do that has nothing to do with our DNA makeup.

Try This Word Association Quiz

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© 2010 Angela Michelle Schultz

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    • profile image

      brakel2 

      3 years ago

      Hi Angela - You have great ideas to improve memory. My husband does crossword puzzles, and I retain memory through my writing and sometimes do a brain game on the computer. I love to study the brain ever since I got interested in photographic memory. Thanks for this hub full of ideas. Pinning. Blessings, Audrey

    • angela_michelle profile imageAUTHOR

      Angela Michelle Schultz 

      8 years ago from United States

      LOL, I bet it does. :) I think the secret is by doing a lot of different brain exercises.

    • profile image

      Garnetbird 

      8 years ago

      I play hours of online SCRABBLE a week--I hope it helps as my attention is often in an allergy fog. haha

    • angela_michelle profile imageAUTHOR

      Angela Michelle Schultz 

      8 years ago from United States

      Thanks! But just a word to the wise, don't refer to them as your elderly friends. LOL. :p

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 

      8 years ago

      Great write-up, I'll share this with my mom and elderly friends. :)

    • angela_michelle profile imageAUTHOR

      Angela Michelle Schultz 

      8 years ago from United States

      Bayoulady. I often will say honey or sweetie too, because I can't remember names. I would do it a lot when I was a camp counselor, and now it's more with my friends kids. Not that I don't remember their names, but my recall takes too long.

    • angela_michelle profile imageAUTHOR

      Angela Michelle Schultz 

      8 years ago from United States

      LOL Fred. I can't tell if you are serious or making a joke!!! Funny either way! :)

    • angela_michelle profile imageAUTHOR

      Angela Michelle Schultz 

      8 years ago from United States

      You should Daisyjae!!! They are really good for you!!!

    • bayoulady profile image

      bayoulady 

      8 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA

      Good subject! What I hate most about my memory lapses is forgetting names! I am a teacher and if I see my students the summer after I promoted them, I can't remember their name! So I say." Hi honey, are you having a good summer?" I hope the sweet thing does not notice that i did not say her name!

    • fred allen profile image

      fred allen 

      8 years ago from Myrtle Beach SC

      Can't remember ever reading a hub on this subject. I forget why I ever stopped doing puzzles.

    • daisyjae profile image

      daisyjae 

      8 years ago from Canada

      Nice hub. I will have to start doing more puzzles.

    • angela_michelle profile imageAUTHOR

      Angela Michelle Schultz 

      8 years ago from United States

      That's a really good point David. I think you are very right about that!!

    • David Stone profile image

      David Stone 

      8 years ago from New York City

      Great, pro writing, Angela.

      A quick note on memory that pertains to a lot things–I'm inclined to forget things when I multi-task. If I don't give full attention, my forget level goes up like a rocket. As busy as we are, little things tend to get multitasked into the background and never get laid down well in memory, which is the real problem–where's the record?

    • angela_michelle profile imageAUTHOR

      Angela Michelle Schultz 

      8 years ago from United States

      Minnetonka, I think you are so right about that, because the more you use your brain the more exercise it is getting. hehe, I'm going to steal that, and put writing on hubpages as one of the mental exercises. Hahaha!!

    • angela_michelle profile imageAUTHOR

      Angela Michelle Schultz 

      8 years ago from United States

      Samsons thanks so much for such a nice comment. I appreciate the voting up!!! Thanks!

    • angela_michelle profile imageAUTHOR

      Angela Michelle Schultz 

      8 years ago from United States

      Very true Mentalist. Maybe I should make one tip ways to reduce stress since stress is a big factor in memory.

    • profile image

      Minnetonka Twin 

      8 years ago

      Voted up and useful. My memory has gotten so much better since writing on Hpages. Thanks for the great info.

    • samsons1 profile image

      Sam 

      8 years ago from Tennessee

      voted up & useful! very good hub, great information, factual and concise...

    • Mentalist acer profile image

      Mentalist acer 

      8 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

      AHhhhh Sleep,Finding positive distractions to replace the negative ones will eliminate stress thus releasing the brain chemical balance that promotes memory,,,listening to music reading and writing(or one could keep a journal)to force out hyper-tensive stressors of even just simple boredom;);)

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