Are you one of those perpetually forgetful people? Always wondering where you left your car keys – or, even worse – where you left your car? The good news is that we can dramatically improve our memory with a few simple techniques. The better news is that we can have fun doing it!
1. Play a game of tennis, ride a bike or just go for a brisk walk. Just 20 minutes a day of moderate aerobic activity will help increase the blood flow to your brain.
Bonus tip: This is also a great technique if you are sitting at your desk trying to solve a knotty problem. Taking a quick break and engaging in a totally unrelated physical activity allows your brain to reassemble all the information while you are concentrating on something else.
More often than not, when you return to your problem you’ll have an “ah ha” moment when you see new possibilities for solving it.
2. Do a daily crossword puzzle. Doing word puzzles increase your brain’s capacity to absorb and store new information. You may never be able to complete the NYT crossword in 15 minutes – but you’ll find that even a few weeks of doing a daily word puzzle will increase your short term memory.
3. Break out the crayons and draw! Drawing, sketching or painting, regardless of your skill level, will strengthen the neural connections that help you recall, reconstruct and retain information.
Not only will you see the improvement in your long term memory, you’ll see an improvement in the amount and vividness of the detail you’re able to recall.
4. Play a fast paced video game for an hour a day. That’s one hour folks – longer than that brings diminishing returns. But, sticking to an hour of play will help improve your concentration, focus and mental agility.
5. Think positively. When you face a difficult task or test, tell yourself how well you will perform. Being anxious or worried actually takes up some of the working memory capacity you need to perform well.
Try to pick one these five activities and do it every day for a week. Your brain (and memory) will thank you.