These proven strategies will help you remember your face and name and not forget where to put your keys and wallet.
The scenario of keys and lost wallet is classic. You walk in the door, you throw your things somewhere without thinking, and, later, the place where you threw them is erased from your mind. Remembering where you put your things at home as well as names and girls are two of the most common memory tasks that become more deceptive with age.
“Normal changes in mental function are part of the aging process,” says Aaron Nelson, Chief of Psychology and Neuropsychology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a Harvard affiliate and co-author of The Harvard Medical School Guide to Achieving Optimal Memory. “Just as other systems in the body change – such as bones, wrists, muscles, and organelles – the brain is no exception to aging.
Being aware of these changes and compensating with some simple tricks, you can complete daily memory tasks.
Be careful so you can remember
To remember one thing, you have to reconnect your brain literally. The process is called encoding and works by forming connections between brain cells, such as connecting transistors to form an electronic circuit that “remembers” how to open the garage door.
More attention from you when you find new information is a proven and tested technique for improving memory. Dr. Nelson confesses that people come to his office and say they have memory problems, but often memory is not the real problem.
The culprit may be the precarious attention you pay: the fact that you are not paying enough attention to something you wanted to know, such as the name of an acquaintance or directions to traffic.
When you are not careful enough, the memory simply does not “connect” strongly. As a result, you have no subsequent memory because the information was not encoded in the brain from the beginning. It helps to be very careful. “When you really get involved in something, you’re much more likely to remember it,” says Dr. Nelson.
Put the memory aside
To memorize daily activities such as where you left your car keys or the list of products to buy, the most effective approach is not to use your memory at all.
“People tell me they want better memory. How can I improve it? ”And I tell them,“ Your memory is unlikely to get better, ”says Dr. Nelson. The secret is to build strategies and systems that minimize or eliminate the need to use memory immediately.”
For example, memory experts often recommend putting your keys or wallet in the same place every time so you don’t forget where you put them.
Because I’m always in the same place – a bowl or a tray near the front door, maybe – you already know the answer to the question “Where are my keys and wallet?”.
Another way to better memories is to combine multiple perceptions and sensory information. If you do this, the information is coded in a much more consistent way and makes it even more memorable.
This trick works if you want to remember an important event or experience as well as the name of a person you just met. It is embarrassing to forget a person’s name, frustrating and even offensive to others. The problem is that a name is not memorable unless it is strange or unusual. It’s just information. Scientists call it semantic memory, meaning the storage of information independent of place and time.
To be able to imprint your name so you can remember them later, try these techniques:
- Speak: When you meet a person, say their name in conversation at least once or twice without sounding weird: “You know, John, I’ve said that many times.” And when you leave, “Okay, John, I was glad to meet you – see you soon.”
- Imagine: Think of someone you know by the same name or first name and imagine that person and your new acquaintance together, riding a tandem bike or kayaking in the Grand Canyon. The weirder or more original the image, the better.
- Listen: Repeat the name out loud if you can: “Your last name, Banyon, sounds like the name of my first football coach, Mr. Lanyon.”
- Make associations: After saying goodbye, make a rhyme with the person’s name, a distinctive feature, and action: John Banyon kayaked down the Grand Canyon with coach Lanyon. “
Do not rush
The fact that you are frustrated by memory disorders will not stop them. The processing speed of the brain – how fast you can perform a mental task – can decrease with age. But if you give it time and attention, your memory will continue to work. It may take longer to learn new things and remember things you already have in mind.