Do You Have a Bad Memory? Forget it!

Photo courtesy of Glimpse of Serendipity
I was lying in bed three nights ago when I had the idea for today’s post. In addition to immediately jotting it on my to-do list, I sent myself an email and a text because I knew that within minutes I would have had absolutely no recollection of what I had wanted to write about. Truth be told, it’s kind of a miracle that this post got written at all.

Struggling to remember things is something that my friends and I started noticing in our mid thirties, and if our parents are any indication, things are only going to get worse as we get older. In order to accomplish important daily tasks, I find myself up to my eyeballs in lists and written reminders everywhere I turn. What I realized, though, is that while reminder notes are helpful, they are literally doing nothing for my actual ability to remember things, and in fact, may be acting as a bit of a brain ‘crutch.’

Knowing that the brain is an amazing and fascinating highway of neurotransmitters, I decided to begin some earnest research about how to make the most of all of those unused pathways I’ve supposedly got going on upstairs.  What I was looking for was a virtual GPS for my brain. While what I discovered isn’t quite that simple, it does look promising indeed.

I spent hours in several bookstores over the weekend and in between inhaling the intoxicating scent of new books, I poured through multiple publications – each claiming to be the “Best Memory Manual” on shelves today. Luckily, I forgot their titles, because they didn’t seem to be worth remembering anyway. There was one book that looked worthwhile, and I brought that one home with me: The Memory Book: The Classic Guide to Improving Your Memory at Work, at School and at Play by Harry Lorayne and Jerry Lucas.

Although I’ve just embarked on this journey, here are some of the first things I’m implementing:

  1. I learned that I need to keep my brain on its ‘toes’. I think I’ll do that by reading one news article a day that I would normally skip.
  2. I’m already working on limiting distractions when I’m performing a task with details that I will need to remember later, and I’ve noticed a slight improvement in my recall.
  3. Memory problems can be worsened by eating a less-than-ideal diet, and although I admit to eating much less brain food than I actually should, I’m making better choices every day.
  4. Making sure I get physical every day is always a priority for me, in that it helps manage my chronic health condition. But it also helps increase blood flow to the brain! Win/win!

I hope you’ll join me on my Better Memory Mission. If you have any memory-improving tips to add to my burgeoning list, please share in the comments or drop me an email. I think this can be a great way for us to work as a DailyPath community, and it has potential to grow into a weekly feature that would include your ideas and stories too!

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    • Laurie

      I had some juicy tip, but I forgot it!  (Seriously!  No joke, here!  Being in my mid forties if I don’t run my brain daily, I cannot keep up with fifth graders!)  However, THAT comment brought to mind my next best tip for keeping the brain muscle limber.  Play brain-teaser type games with the kids.  I do mean with children still in school, too, and not with our grown children who are not attending any classes as they stretch their brain daily and will keep us honest.  Kids will challenge us and look it up when no one really knows the answer and it is not given in the game.  (We, adults, tend to skip it thinking that we will look it up later and … you guessed it … we will FORGET to look it up!!) Our family has always been competitive, too, so being beat by the kids causes excruciating teasing by the rest of the members of the family, especially the victorious one, adding another reason for the need to remember.

      • Adrienne McGuire

        Great tip, Laurie! I do that sometimes, but not enough, and will add it to my to-do list as long as I don’t forget!

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