Forgetfulness is experienced so often and by so many people that you probably don’t worry too much when you suffer a memory lapse. Still, wouldn’t it be wise to take steps to develop brain power, so you’d never have to waste time hunting for your car keys or feel disappointed after buying a movie ticket and realizing that you’ve seen it before?
Here is a brief overview of steps you can take to improve your and your loved one’s memory. Recommendations cover everything from aromatherapy to mental exercises to diet. It might seem like a lot to follow, but the payoff is worth it.
Develop Memory Through Association
One way to remember something is to associate it with something else you’re more familiar with and can easily recall. For example, a person’s name may be linked to an object, color, trade, or a relation with the same name. Another way to recall the name is to run through the alphabet considering each letter for a moment. The letter the name begins with is sure to jog your memory.
Don’t Let Numbers Leave You Numb
In this digital age, it’s no surprise that numbers have gained so much importance. Apart from telephone and bank account numbers, there are Personal Identification Numbers (PINs), Tax Identification Numbers (TINs), and numbers-only passwords that you and your loved one have to deal with.
Remembering a number is easy if you can break it up into chunks and create a mini poem with a rhyme built in. Then, repeat the poem until you memorize it. For instance, 9811-8261-46 is easier to remember than the number undivided.
The Acronym Trick
When you have to remember a list of things, try creating an acronym from that list. Editors, writers, and students who must have good grammar skills, for example, need to remember only “FANBOYS” to recall coordinating conjunctions for, and, nor, but, or, yet and so.
Try making an acronym out of a shopping list. “BEST” would help you remember to buy a brush, Epsom Salts, sugar, and tea. If an acronym can be formed, use it. After all, one word is easier to recall than many.
Acrostics Make Remembering Fun
If your list can’t be turned into an acronym, try creating an acrostic instead. This is a brief composition (a poem or a sentence, for example) that uses specific letters. If you have to remember the names of four countries (Morocco, England, Holland, France), take the first letters of each name and use them to form a phrase: Every Man For Himself. Then all you need to do is remember the phrase and focus on these letters to recall the countries.
Build Your Vocabulary
Make it a point to learn at least three new words each day. Write them down with their meanings and test yourself regularly using the reverse approach: hide the word with your palm and try to recall it by reading its definition. It’s tough, but this is how the brain works when searching for the right word to express something. By learning new words, you will not only build vocabulary but improve memory power as well.
Eat Right, Live Right
A healthy mind and body demand a healthful lifestyle. Cut down on alcohol consumption, quit smoking, and exercise regularly. Avoid processed foods and foods containing trans fats. Reduce your sugar intake drastically. And choose a diet consisting of fresh seasonal fruits, vegetables, whole grains, pulses, and nuts, keeping meat and dairy products at a minimum.
If you want a specific guide, check out the MIND diet. In tests involving over 1,000 seniors, it has proved effective in reducing their risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease by 53 percent.
These Oils are Essential
Essential oils are used in alternative medicine to treat a wide range of physical, emotional, and cognitive problems. Here is a list of five proven memory boosters:
Among many properties of this essential oil is its ability to improve memory. Rub a couple of drops over your palms and inhale deeply, or use the oil in a diffuser to transform the atmosphere at home. Rosemary will charge up your little grey cells and make you and your loved one less forgetful.
Are you too tired to even think about your hectic schedule? Then let the sweet, uplifting scent of basil reduce fatigue and help you keep pace with life’s demands so you won’t miss a thing. Inhale the fragrance directly from the bottle, or use it in a reed diffuser in your study room or office and let its magic work on your mind.
Extracted from the leaves of the evergreen cypress tree, this essential oil has a woody, slightly vegetal aroma. Though subtle, it has a positive effect on the mind, reducing stress and aiding concentration. Use it in a diffuser or add about ten drops to a steam bath and just soak in it.
Most people recognize the sharp, revitalizing aroma of peppermint. A perfect pick-me-up for the mind, it’s great for those needing to cut down on coffee. Use peppermint essential oil in a diffuser first thing in the morning to prep yourself mentally for the challenges of the day.
Get a sensory boost with this stimulating essential oil. Its spicy fragrance has been used for centuries to deal with mental issues like depression and memory loss. To benefit from the healing powers of sage, simply inhale its fragrance from the bottle or use it in a diffuser in spaces where your mental faculties are engaged to the fullest, like in your office or a study room.
Make Life Easier for Yourself
While a memory-boosting regimen will certainly yield positive results, you could make life easier for yourself by fixing a to-do list on the fridge door or a clipboard and updating it as the week goes by. This single-source reminder would list purchases to be made, appointments to be kept, tasks to be completed, and so on. If you update the list regularly and refer to it before you leave the house, you’re less likely to forget important things.
You’d also do well to remember the adage, “A place for everything, and everything in its place”. If you put things away in their usual spots, you won’t have to remember where you left them.
Finally, make full use of your mobile. Set reminders across the entire calendar year, and you’ll never have to face flak for missing someone’s birthday or anniversary.