Do you have secret suspicion that your reading glasses scamper away whenever you put them down? Or that someone is sneaking out to the parking lot and moving your car from where you left it?
No one’s memory is perfect, and as we get older our memories tend to get less perfect every day. Forgetting things now and then probably does not mean that you are getting Alzheimer’s disease. In most cases, it simply means that your brain isn’t able to retain as many of the little daily details as it used to.
Like any other part of your body, your brain needs exercise in order to work most efficiently. In addition, there are a lot of simple strategies that will help you remember things even when your brain isn’t cooperating.
Here’s what doctors advise.
Set a schedule . Immanuel Kant, considered one of the greatest philosophers of all time, kept a schedule so precise that town folks could set their clocks by his afternoon walks. If keeping a schedule freed up Kant’s mind enough to revolutionize philosophy, think what it can do for you.
Doctors often recommend that people with memory problems do all of their routines according to a schedule: Wake at the same time, wind your watch first thing in the morning, water the plants every Friday, and so on. By ingraining a schedule into your memory, you’ll free yourself from having to remember those 1,001 details that might otherwise get overlooked.
Try the Orient Express . Some memory loss is caused by poor flow to the brain. Since ancient times, the Chinese have used leaves from the ginkgo biloba tree, believed to be one of the oldest trees on the earth, to treat cerebral and cardiovascular conditions because of its talent for increasing blood flow to the brain and other parts of the body. Ginkgo can be purchased in capsule form at many groceries and drugstores, as well as at natural or health food stores.
Cut down on fat. Did you ever get that sluggish feeling after a meal,, when you just can’t think, let alone remember small details? A fatty diet slows down blood flow to your brain, increasing forgetfulness. Try to cut down on fat in general, and replace produce such as butter with unsaturated oils such as safflower oil.
Absorb the details . We live in a busy world with zillions of details zipping by every day. It’s impossible to always remember them all. What you can do, however, is make a conscious effort to remember the details that matter. Practice observing things around you. Mentally narrate when you’re seeing, doing, and experiencing. With practice, you’ll find that you’re remembering more and more things with less effort. In fact, you’ll begin noticing all of these details without even being aware that you’re doing it.
Repeat the facts . How many times have you heard someone’s name and forgotten it a second later? Here is a trick for remembering things better: Repeat them. Mentally repeating names, dates, and other details helps cement them in your mind, making them easier to recall later on.
Create memory links . Memory experts have clever techniques called mnemonic devices to help people remember. These are simply mind games to help you associate the thing you want to remember with something else that’s nearby and familiar. Linking the two makes them much easier to remember. Mnemonic devices often are rhymes oriental pictures suppose, for example, you need to pick up eggs at the store. The mnemonic device might be “I won’t forget to walk my legs over to the store.” Or perhaps you just met someone named Paul, who happens to be six feet tall. To remember his name you might tell yourself, “He’s tall Paul.
Identify memory zones . If you’re constantly misplacing those eyeglasses or keys, designate one area in your home as an “easy memory zone” – the one place you’ll always put things you know you’re in danger of losing. It could be the top of the refrigerator, a table in the living room, or anywhere else. As long as you always use it, you’ll never have to search for your car keys again.
Keep your mind active . Many of us stop exercising our minds at about the same time we leave school – and that’s mistake. The brain needs to be constantly stimulated to stay strong and agile. So set aside a little time for mindercise. Take up Scrabble or other word games. Read. Do crossword puzzles. Engage in lively conversation, or tune in to interesting television and radio programs. Anything you can do to keep your mind active will help make it stronger – and that’s the best ways to forget about forgetting.