If you’ve ever forgotten an appointment, meeting, deadline, or even names, you know how stressful an unreliable memory can be. No one needs additional stress, especially considering that it hurts your bones and your overall health.
But here’s the good news: you’re not a helpless victim of a forgetful brain, often associated with aging. You can be proactive about preventing memory deterioration, and literally teach your brain to be less forgetful. And your whole body will benefit, including your bones.
In today’s post, I share eight effective, scientifically-backed ways to help you regain (or retain) your youthful memory and prevent memory loss, starting with some creative fun…
1. Make Up A Crazy Story
Have a lot of obligations at once? Try putting them all together into one creative story or funny visual scenes. For example, say you need to pick up your grandchild from school, stop by the store for a bunch of kale, go to Yoga class, and go to a dentist’s appointment all in one day. You could envision your grandchild running out of school with a bunch of kale in his or her hands while wearing yoga pants and a white lab coat. Or create a quick story about your grandchild growing up and becoming a dentist and recommending yoga to his or her patients, and explaining to them how to grow their own kale.
You can also do this with a list of items you need to remember to buy. String them together with a funny visual or story to help jog your memory while giving your brain a little “workout.” If you need to buy pet food, eggs, and paper towels, for instance, imagine dropping your eggs and trying to keep your pet from eating them before you can get them cleaned up with the paper towels.
The more unique and silly the story, the better – you’re more likely to remember something your own brain generated, especially if it’s amusing.
2. Challenge Yourself
Most of us don’t think about taking steps to make things more difficult. Usually, we prefer to find ways to make things easier. But if you want to improve your memory, it pays to make yourself think a bit rather than doing things automatically. Think about it – you form new memories by forging new paths and patterns in your brain, and that’s what this kind of self-challenge can do.
Try challenging yourself to take a new route to the grocery store, or better yet, shop at a new store altogether. If you walk regularly for your bone health, you could take a different route or walk in a different area. Even little things can stimulate your brain to work in a new pattern, such as wearing your wristwatch upside-down.
3. Play With Your Electronic Device
As long as you counteract this with exercises that pull your shoulders and head back into good postural alignment, playing certain brain-teaser, physics-based games on your phone or other device can help build memory skills like concentration and strategizing. Some of these games can stimulate your memory so everyday tasks become easier, such as remembering which floor of the parking building your car is on, or where you put your keys.
Speaking of keys…
4. A Place For Everything
Do you find yourself hunting for your keys, wallet, phone, shopping list, and so forth? Besides being frustrating, such disorganization can make you late for appointments and other obligations, adding to the stress associated with being forgetful. Determining a place for these key objects (no pun intended) helps save a lot of trouble in the end. Here are some everyday items that need their own designated space so you won’t forget them when it’s time to leave the house:
- Car keys
- Cell phone
- Shopping bags
- Drinks, snacks, lunch
- Parking money/card
In addition to having their own space, keeping a checklist of these items posted beside your front door can be a big help. And if you find you’ve forgotten one or more of the items as you head for the door, you’ll know just where to grab it and you won’t have to waste time hunting for it.
5. Make Lots Of Associations
This technique is not unlike #1 above, but the associations are more natural, like trying to remember your names of people you recently met by thinking of their occupation, neighborhood they live in, what sports they like, etc. If you create associations between things you need to remember, it becomes much easier to recall what you need to know. I remember using this technique when I was studying for tests in college. It works!
6. A Person By Any Other Name …
It’s very embarrassing to forget someone’s name if you’ve already met him or her. Connecting the person’s name with visual cues can help a great deal.
For example, pay attention to the surroundings when you meet someone new, so you can recall those details when you see him or her again. Make connections in your mind with something well-known and easily recalled. Say you meet someone named Dorothy or Diana. Imagine Dorothy going down the yellow brick road in the Wizard of Oz, or note details of how like or unlike Princess Diana she is.
You can make connections with non-human items, too, like thinking of a bird if you meet someone with the name Martin. Feel free to get creative here – the person will never know the interesting associations going on in your brain!
7. Practice Recalling Details
Choose something to focus on for a few minutes early in the day. Make it an object that changes day to day, such as your friend’s earrings or your spouse’s shirt. Study the object of your choice for a moment, and think of at least four details about it (color, shape, pattern, texture, etc.). Write down the details you’ve observed and tuck the list away.
That evening before bed, try to recall the four details without looking at your list. Write down what you recall, and then compare it with the list you made earlier. How close are they? With practice, you’ll find yourself adding more and more details to your list until you will recall well more than four.
8. Keep Your Muscles Strong
The research is clear: regular exercise prevents sarcopenia (muscle atrophy associated with age), and also boosts memory.
A 2013 review published in the Journal of Aging Research made the following point about the connection between muscle strength and memory:
“On the neurological side, the loss of muscle power and muscle strength is associated with the age-related changes in motor units and in the degree of coactivation of antagonist muscles, respectively.”2
The study goes on to point out that:
“Physical inactivity reflects a reduced activity of the corresponding motor units. Unused or seldom used neurons will undergo disuse degeneration which in turn results in a further disuse degeneration of its synaptically connected cells.”3
In other words, if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it – “it” being both your muscle tone and neurological proficiency (memory). This explains “why sedentary individuals are more susceptible to sarcopenia”1 and why exercise boosts brain activity, as you’ll see next.
Exercise Corrects Cognitive Impairment
To elucidate the above point, University of British Columbia researchers conducted MRIs on three groups of women aged 70 to 80, all of whom had symptoms of mild cognitive impairment. The women were randomly assigned to three groups: balance and range of motion training, aerobic exercise, or full-body resistance training.
After six months of engaging in their group’s form of exercise twice a week, the women were re-evaluated and given another set of MRIs. Interestingly, the aerobic exercise group actually increased hippocampal volume by four percent4, an amazing fact considering the hippocampus is pivotal in the brain’s ability to store and retrieve information, the process involved in memory.
Scientists believe this is due to aerobic exercises increasing levels of specific proteins that enhance your brain’s information-receiving ability.
So to put it all together, aerobic exercise not only helps increase respiration and cardiovascular efficiency, and muscle mass (staving off age-related sarcopenia); it also boosts your ability to remember. And Savers know that exercise also builds bone density. All of that and more is included in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program.
The Osteoporosis Reversal Program Takes A Whole-Body, Comprehensive Approach To Bone Rejuvenation
Over and over the research points to the interconnected nature of our health. Rather than isolating a single system or biological process and attempting to manipulate it artificially (the pharmaceutical model), the Osteoporosis Reversal Program takes all body systems into account to build bone density and prevent fractures.
The Program’s emphasis on nutrition and exercise is of great benefit to the whole body, as is clearly shown in the evidence discussed above. The pH-balanced diet described in the Program has been shown to have multiple benefits for the whole body, because it corrects the acidosis associated with so many chronic diseases.
The nutritional aspect of the Program includes key Foundation Foods, chosen for their richness in healthful nutrients that nourish bones and improve your overall health. Many Foundation Foods contain brain-boosting nutrients and antioxidants as well as bone-nourishing vitamins and minerals. For instance, Foundation Foods like berries, chocolate, walnuts, flax seeds, and various herbs and seasonings are all excellent memory-boosters.
As you can see, the Osteoporosis Reversal Program leaves no stone unturned in the fight against osteoporosis and osteopenia. I hope this comprehensive aspect of the Program encourages those who are wondering whether the Saver approach is right for you.
I often get e-mails asking if the Program is “good for someone like me” or “if it’s too late for someone in my condition to keep up with the Program.” The bottom line is, the Osteoporosis Reversal Program is a comprehensive nutritional, lifestyle, and exercise plan that has tremendous benefits regardless of your age or situation.
Stop Worrying About Your Bone Loss
Join thousands of Savers from around the world who have reversed or prevented their bone loss naturally and scientifically with the Osteoporosis Reversal Program.
So when you are on the Program, you’re much less likely to “forget” your daily meal plan, exercise routine, and various other things that require a sharp memory. And that means less bone-damaging stress, too.
Do you have any tricks for helping you remember things? If you’d like to share some of those ideas, or if you have any other thoughts about topics covered in today’s post, please feel free to share by leaving a comment below.
Till next time,
1 Kwan, Ping. “Sarcopenia, a Neurogenic Syndrome?” Journal of Aging Research. 2013. Article ID: 791679. (2013): 10 pages. Web. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jar/2013/791679/
2 M. R. Deschenes. “Effects of aging on muscle fibre type and size.” Sports Medicine. 34. 12. (2004): 809-824. Web. https://link.springer.com/article/10.2165/00007256-200434120-00002
3 McEachern , J. C. and Shaw, C. A. “The plasticity-pathology continuum: defining a role for the LTP phenomenon.” Journal of Neuroscience Research. 58.1 (1999): 42–61.
4 Ten Brinke, Lisanne F., et al. “Aerobic exercise increases hippocampal volume in older women with probably mild cognitive impairment: a 6-month randomized controlled trial.” Br J Sports Med. October 2013. Doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2013-093184. Web. https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2014/03/04/bjsports-2013-093184
A way to improve memory that worked for me very well is to do mindful meditation. By example going though what in in a closet or on your night table on your desk (while away from the desk…), just like visualizing the details. Since I practice this every once in a while, my memory improved tremendously, better then when 20 years longer. Before I would forget where I put a certain tool or other object and waste time looking for it. Now I remember well, even better than my wife.
This technique for me is less stressful as there is no goal to achieve.
Again thanks a million for sharing!
Great comments coming up so I’m not the only one doing this which is good to here.Great article thank you.
When somebody tells me there name if I have a sister,daughter,or some one in my family with that name find that a great help.Sukodu has helped me a lot also giving your brain a few tapping in the morning when u wake up helps.
Thank you, Ita.
I have another suggestion to help with memory loss. When going to the grocery store I text to myself the items I want to buy. I have also a few times typed out where I have parked my car incase I should forget. It’s good to try & park where you usually do but if the lot is full & you park it far away, it can be helpful.
A memory reminder for me when was I wanted to use a restroom at a restaurant, I asked for the code to get in. It was 3176. I immediately thought 31 was the age when I got married & 76 was the year. Two days have past & I still remember it. 🤗
This is great advice! Thanks so much for all you do! I’m challenging myself to memorize piano pieces and to learn French and Spanish. But the biggest daily practical aid is the “Reminders” app on my iphone!. I have many categories, such as “Today” for things that are urgent, “Grocery”, “Family”, “House”, “Health”, “Pets” and more. It’s been a lifesaver, plus I never lose my written list anymore – it’s right on my phone!
Love the list idea, just can’t remember where I left the list….only kidding…
I find your advice very helpful thanks, but one thing I do is put reminders on a mobile night before it’s due so I get set for it in my mind.
I find these suggestions, insights, etc. very helpful. Thank you!
That was the most helpful article I’ve read in ages Vivian and I’m sure others will appreciate it. I’ve followed your exercise routine for a few years now and your diet as much as I can. About a month ago I started writing things I needed to do before going to bed.I try to remember them the next day before looking in the book. It helps tremendously. My biggest problem is remembering where I put things that I won’t need for a long while!! Thank you for all the thought you put into your emails and letting us know the effects of certain drugs on our bodies. Just wish I lived in a place with more sunshine instead of having to rely on the Vit D3 capsule. Here in Britain the skies are grey more than they are blue! 🙁
I totally agree with Christine and also live in the UK! I have to think hard nowadays to remember names, like if we get new neighbors! Recently, a couple called Martin and Wendy moved near by and I told her I would remember her name as many years ago I had wanted to call my 1st born Wendy, but he turned out to be a boy! So Vivien, I can now remember Martin when I think of a little bird! The most embarrassing thing is when I see someone who obviously knows me and I just don’t remember them! I know I have to work on it! Many thanks!
Good morning Vivian,
Thank you very, very much for sharing this Excellent
informative, and suggestive article, especially # 2 Challenge Yourself. I find # 2 very encouraging and
helpful for me, an example is memorizing verses from
the Bible and practicing what I memorized.
Have a wonderful day. Marlene
Girls, how about playing memory cards with your grandchildren or scrabble. It’s fun but it helps your memory and you have to think. Or memorize the countries states and capitals. I also love walking and talking to God about my day and thanking Him for all that He does for me and my family. It’s good for your soul.???????Thanks Vivian for all your help and knowledge you pass on to us. It’s helping a lot.??
Play the games at freerice.com . The word game is one I’ve been using for years but the others are good for other areas of memory. And when playing you are helping the needy.
I record fast paced quiz programmes, watch them, then watch the recording a couple of days or more later and see how many more questions I get right.
I often go through the alphabet letter by letter to jog my memory of the name of a person or place. It works. Also, when stoping by store for just a few items I mentality list the number of things I need. This helps but I also sometimes get my exercise in walking around store trying to remember that 4th item. Lol. A list works best.
What about taking courses & learning new things, broadening your knowledge. ?
I have taken a few online courses recently.