brainMany go to great length to train our muscles. They flex them a hundred times for greater endurance and undergo intensive muscle-toning regiments in gyms. These are very commendable activities  but sometimes many ignore to train the most important part of the body — the brain.

Perhaps, training your muscles may harden and increase their strength and endurance. However, when you exercise your brain, you gain far more important benefits such as:

  • Being able to absorb and retain information much faster. Learning new skills is easier. This may result to advancements in your personal or professional lives.
  • Saving countless embarrassments such as forgetting names or faces, or experience mental blocks in the middle of speeches. You also prevent life-threatening accidents like forgetting to turn off the cooking gas, or leaving a lighted candle unattended thus causing fire.
  • Preventing or delaying the onset of mental illnesses associated with age.

Here are several tipnames on how to improve your memory:

Use association to remember names and numbers. If you find it difficult to remember the names of people, associate their names with things. For example: “Brian”, picture the guy with his brain spilling his over his forehead (ugh); “Rosette”, imagine small bunches of roses on her head; “Tom”, think of a guy playing a tom-tom drum; “Sofia”, a lady reclining on a sofa, etc.

As for numbers like J23-12-79 (J= candy cane; 23=number of Michael Jordan; 12= Christmas month; 9= Santa’s reindeers; 7= dwarfs in the Snow White story). So you imagine a candy cane being licked by Michael Jordan surrounded by dwarfs riding on Santa’s reindeers.

Use chunking to remember numbers. If you find it difficult to remember a long number such as that of a mobile phone, break it into smaller clusters.  Example: Break 09227695474 to 092-2769-5474

Use rhymes. For example, if you’re trying to figure out if April has 30 or 31 days, just say the old rhyme aloud: “Thirty days has September, April, June, and November.” Then you’ll remember that April does indeed have 30 days. A child can easily remember the letters of the alphabet if they are sung like in the popular ABC song.

Use acrostics. You are reminded of the names of the planets in our solar system in their correct order from the sun by remembering the sentence:  “Perhaps, nights in a soaking jacket makes everyone very mad” (p=Pluto; n=Neptune; s=Saturn; j=Jupiter; m=mars; e=Earth; v=Venus; m=Mercury); or” My Dear Aunt Sally” for the correct sequence of mathematical procedures used in solving algebraic equation, namely : Multiplication, Division., Addition, and Subtraction.

acronymsUse acronyms. Remember what the letters stand for.  Examples:  SSS for Social Security System; CALL for Computer Assisted Language Learning ;  IELTS for International English Language Testing System, etc

Use the Loci or location method. This method was used by ancient Greeks. Picture your house and line up the things you want to remember along the route from the door up to kitchen. For example you have a list of fruits you are supposed to buy (apples, grapes, mangoes, bananas, watermelon), picture an apple lying on the porch, a bunch of grapes hanging on the door knob, mangoes on the sofa, your pet monkey eating bananas on your dining table, and an oversized watermelon stuck in the frig.

Move your eyes from side to side. It is a proven fact that moving your eyes from side to side for 30 seconds once a day will align the two parts of your brain.  This will make your memory work more smoothly. Try this upon waking up in the morning.

Use your environment. Around the house, change temporarily the normal position of things to remind you of activities you have to do. Once you are reminded  and have done of what you are supposed to do, place back the items in their normal position. For Example, if you want to remember you have to call someone, place the receiver on a reverse position; or if you have to take your medication, put the bottle upside-down until you have taken your pill.

exercise brainExercise your brain. Regularly “exercising” the brain keeps it growing and stimulates the development of new nerve connections.  These can help enhance memory. Try engaging in some mental games like Soduko and crossword puzzles, or play Scrabble with family members or friends instead of watching TV during your bonding times. Try your hand also in stimulating board games such as chess, backgammon, monopoly. etc.

Say aloud names or things you want to remember. Repeat the names of new people you meet or introduced to you twice or three times.  Not only will you remember their names but how to pronounce them correctly as well. Say aloud: “I will call Uncle Simon today”, or “Mrs Betty Thompson is a new neighbor”, etc. Saying things aloud will re-enforce your memory. This also works to remember an address or a meeting time. Repeat it aloud to the person who invites you: “24 Elm Street corner Oak Avenue at 6 sharp? That sounds perfect.”  This will make you, not only remember the address, but also confirm the correct time.

Normally, there is no such thing “bad memory”. As long as no medical condition is involved, everyone can improve his memory. It just needs some dedication and an optimistic attitude that you can do it and it will be done — remember this!

For more tips, watch this: How To Improve Your Memory :