It is a fact that an elephant has a giant memory, and as the saying goes: “An elephant never forgets.”Wouldn’t it be great if you could have a memory like an elephant?
As we get older most people take it for granted that our memories will be weaker. It doesn’t have to happen though as long as you keep mentally and physically active, practice good eating habits, and keep your stress levels down. It is a fact that a weakened memory has more to do with chemicals that are released in the brain from stress, or inflammation, than it does with actual loss of memory.
Perhaps all the things we have said in previous posts about how to improve your memory have slipped your mind? In that case, let’s review:
1. Keep learning. You don’t have to actually go back to school to continue your education, although it couldn’t hurt. Pay attention to things around you. Listen to the news, read the newspapers and online sources for topics you are interested in. Learn by keeping up-to-date on current events, technology and social issues. You don’t have to own a cell phone or computer to understand some of terms.
2. Foster a learning environment. Encourage those around you to learn by having a library or sponsoring a book club. Have a space for yourself where you are comfortable reading and relaxing, where there is minimal traffic and noise. Create a work area for you to learn new skills at, like an organized desk to write or draw on, or a workbench area to learn a craft.
3. Stay socially active. Don’t lose touch with your friends and family. Keeping active keeps you feeling young and useful. Once you decide you don’t have anything of value to contribute you start to go downhill fast. You can get your blood flowing better by getting active; doing volunteer work to help others; and participating in community discussions, religion or politics. Talking to others stimulates many areas of the brain, and listening with an open mind fosters learning.
4. Open up your senses. Take in the air around you. Learning involves utilizes all your senses. Learn to play a musical instrument or listen to different types of music. You remember more from your sense of smell than any other sense. Go around and smell your garden -your house – your neighborhood. Learn the names of flowers and memorize their scents. Even though your senses of smell and taste bring out strong memories, they aren’t especially helpful when trying to organize information in your memory. They are useful, however, if you were to suck on a mint, or a piece of fruit while you are trying to learn and remember something. They stimulate your thought processes in order for your brain to work better.
5. Do not try to multi-task. Scientific studies show that multi-tasking does not improve memory, and in fact makes the brain have to strain to untangle all the different signals it is receiving at the same time. Multi-tasking takes your focus off of the one thing you are trying to learn and divides it into different segments all vying for your attention.
6. Get organized. There is nothing wrong with organization. It simplifies your life and that simple and mundane tasks are easier, allowing you to have time for more important things. In other words, if you were organized you would always put your keys back in the same place, and won’t waste valuable time looking for them. Write lists of things your want to do, have a specified place for everything, and learn how to prioritize. You will find you have more time to do the things you want to do if you aren’t wasting time, or memory, on retracing your steps. Disorganized people report more memory problems than those who are organized.
7. Keep fit. Getting your body and mind in good shape requires proper rest, nutrition and exercise. Keeping your circulation flowing and eliminating plaque buildup keeps your heart in good shape, and oxygen and nutrients flowing to the brain. Keeping your blood sugar levels constant helps to improve your memory as well as keeps your body healthy. Your brain health depends on keeping your body in good health. Stop smoking.
8. Stay positive and learn to laugh more. Nothing drains memory faster than stress and depression. A positive attitude keeps the proper brain chemicals being released, and makes you and your brain younger. Stress releases the chemical Cortisol from the adrenal gland, which can cause damage to the hippocampus if left to go too long. Stress produces the enzyme “protein kinase”,which damages short-term memory and other prefrontal cortex functions used for decision-making in the brain and concentration. A positive attitude inhibits these chemicals from causing any problems. Learn to relax. Humor has been known to possess healing powers, so laugh as often as you can!
About the author:
Ron White is a two-time U.S.A. Memory Champion and memory training expert. As a memory keynote speaker he travels the world to speak before large groups or small company seminars, demonstrating his memory skills and teaching others how to improve their memory, and how important a good memory is in all phases of your life. His CDs and memory products are also available online at BrainAthlete.com.
Online Education Database “ The Memory Toolbox: 75 tips and resources to go from amnesiac to elephantic: http://oedb.org/library/features/the-memory-toolbox