Memory Skills: Strategies for Keeping an Active Memory

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October is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, and in preparation we’re continuing our memory skills series with another set of strategies to help you keep your memory limber and active. Practicing these memory exercises on a daily basis will not only improve your memory skills, but will encourage you to pay more attention to how often your memory is successful all on its own. When you “catch your memory doing right,” take a moment to celebrate and feel grateful. Memories are precious, even the smallest ones, and the older we get the more we learn never to take them for granted.

  • Recite your A, B, C’s – If you find yourself stuck and unable to remember something, run through the alphabet in your mind. This “alphabet search” might jog your memory when you encounter the first letter of the word you are trying to recall.
  • Narrate – When you want to remember something, say it out loud to yourself. This works for anything from what time you planned to meet a friend to remembering important names or numbers.
  • Go green – It’s no secret that green things are good for you. Green tea is said to improve memory and delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease when sipped regularly. Eating a healthy diet rich in leafy greens and other nutrient-dense foods is also linked to memory health.
  • Meditate – Many studies have indicated the value of meditation in improving memory skills. Meditation teaches you to be present, aware, and focused. Practicing this same awareness in your daily life increases your ability to retain information.
  • Clench your fist – Research has shown that, for some reason, clenching your fist can make it easier to recall information such as lists, names, or phone numbers. Try clenching your right fist while receiving new information, and then your left fist when you want to retrieve it again.
  • Get outdoors – Studies have found that people who interact with nature perform better on memory tests. Take a daily walk around your neighborhood for exposure to the sun, trees, and fresh air.
  • Be goofy – If you want to be sure to remember something specific, such as where you are setting your house keys in a hurry, do something wacky such as stomping your food or making a strange exclamation (“yee-haw!”). This memorable action will help jog your memory later.

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