Five easy memory tricks – once again for emphasis

The following brief post has been repeated for emphasis, as we all could use a little help recalling names of actors, friends, places and events. Fortunately, my wife knows my shorthand and can ascertain whom or what I am speaking about with a few phrases like “do you remember that place we used to go to near the mall…” or “isn’t she that actress in the show we liked about the Australian doctor….”

With two of our four parents succumbing to complications due to Alzheimer’s, memory maintenance is of interest to my wife and me. Readers’ Digest ran an article by Andrea Au Levitt called “5 Easy Memory Tricks.” Her intro paragraph follows:

“You know that eating healthy, staying active, and solving a few brain games can help keep you sharp. But these lesser known habits work wonders, too.”

1. Sit tall – when slouching it follows or promotes defeated, anxious and depressive thoughts, which hinder memory.

2. Exercise – once – gains in memory after one exercise are similar to gains after regular exercise (note still do the regular stuff).

3. Limit TV – including online versions of TV, too much screen time can harm cognitive development and maintenance.

4. Doodle – people can remember things better if they doodle or draw a picture of what they are thinking of. Writing the words of the thing is not as memorable as drawing a picture.

5. Walk backward – real, imagined or watched walking backward or even forward, can help remember something. So, in keeping with #2 above, take a walk (and walk backwards on occasion).

Let me take one of the above and break it down more. One of the examples from Malcom Gladwell’s book, “Talking to strangers,” notes that torture is a horrible way to gain information. Why? Under trauma, people remember less than they would normally. The comment about sitting tall in #1 above, notes if we slouch we increase anxiety or depressive thoughts, a mild form of trauma.

Outside of the walking backward, I do the above things. The sitting tall actually helps this tall person with his back. As for doodling, for some reason when I work the various puzzles in the newspaper, I blacken in the circular letters (O’s, D’s, P’s etc.) in the title of the advice section (sorry Dear Abby). Maybe it helps me with the puzzles (or advice).

As I leave you, think of Barbra Streisand walking backward singing “Memories light the corners of my mind, Misty water-colored memories of the way we were.”

13 thoughts on “Five easy memory tricks – once again for emphasis

  1. My husband and I were just talking about how bad our memories are right now. I’ve just started an exercise class, so this confirming. Guilty of not always sitting up straight. Good points, Keith.

  2. That’s right. Stress and anxiety block totally and for sure it blocks the memories too. That’s why many have their “black-outs” during school tests. I need to try this walking backward thing. Sounds interesting.
    You can also remember things better when you smell a certain scent while learning and smell it again when you are writing your test.

    • Erika, thanks for your thoughts. As I mentioned to Janis, trying not to fall walking backward may heighten awareness. The smelling idea has merit. My guess is sound being equated with it may help, as well. Maybe we should use a favorite relaxing spray (lavender and rosemary, eg) when we study and spray it again on our clothes before a test. Keith

      • Yes, music or simple sounds (but you may not be able to sing in a classroom while writing a test… lol) can have the same effect like smells. I would rather use a certain scent that is basically linked to the things that need to be remembered. Or a scent that is always used when learning or doing homework. Using others smells could not trigger that same clear link to the learned things. But it should exactly be used the way you mentioned it. Spraying on the clothes or on a tissue.

  3. Note to Readers: An old professor of higher math used to say “think with your pencil.” If you don’t know how to do a problem, write down what you do know first. Then, the solution may flow out of your pencil.

  4. I didn’t know that about walking backwards! It totally makes sense since our entire body has to switch up and reorganize. I walk every day, Keith, and will start a bit of backward walking, plus maybe a twirl or two. Lol. Thanks for the reminders!

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