Are you one of those people who can’t remember a name to save your life but never forget a face? Or you’re constantly retracing your steps to find your glasses or keys? What about walking in circles throughout a parking lot looking for your car, sound familiar? If this is you, don’t feel bad. You’re definitely not alone. And lucky for you, there are memory techniques that can help combat this impairment and improve your memory.
Remembering things is a skill, and just like other skills, you can improve your memory with practice and good habits. So, here are a few memory techniques and tricks to help you remember.
Use Multiple Senses
When you’re trying to remember something, relate the information to as many senses as possible. Utilizing senses, such as sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing, helps to increase your ability and efficiency to encode the memory for later retrieval.
Each type of sensory memory gets stored in a different region of the brain. For example, visual memory is stored in the back of the brain (occipital lobes), whereas auditory memory of what is heard is stored in the side regions (temporal lobes). Because these sensory memories are stored in multiple areas of the brain, when you attempt to retrieve a memory via one of the ways the information was experienced, the other parts of the memory will be coactivated and available for recall.
Use Mnemonic Devices
Mnemonic devices are clues of any kind that help us remember something. They’re usually in the form of acronyms, abbreviations, songs, or rhymes. You probably used this method in school. For example, remember the name ROY G BIV that teachers engrained in our brains so we could recall the colors of the spectrum – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet?!
Similar to using senses, mnemonic memory tools also work by tapping into how your brain stores the data. Many mnemonic techniques rely on images, senses, emotions, and patterns, which all help create strong memories. In addition, because the brain repackages the information, it is easier to retrieve when needed due to association.
Rely on Technology Less
Yes, Google and Siri have been great when we need a quick answer, but unfortunately, they’re making us mentally lazy. The same goes for GPS. Because we’re not relying on our memory and neural pathways to retrieve information, part of our brain actually begins to shrink. When you can’t recall something, give it a moment and really try to think it through in an attempt to retrieve the information. The same goes for GPS. If you’ve driven the route several times, rely on your brain to get you there. Your brain needs to be challenged from time to time.
In addition to using these memory techniques to help you remember, eating a balanced diet with fish and green vegetables, exercising daily, and getting enough sleep is vital for maintaining a healthy and strong memory.
Contact your provider today if you start to notice extreme difficulty remembering or begin having problems completing daily tasks because of forgetfulness.