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.”