10 Brain Exercises to Boost Memory
Self-improvement starts with action. In today’s hectic world, your focus may not be on improving your brain health and memory. To help you put together a plan for boosting your memory ability, we have put together ten great brain exercises you can start today.
- Try putting away the different types of calculators you may use, whether online or one of those watches that do every function. Go to the grocery store and practice adding up numbers in your head. Forget about the taxes; just make the individual purchases. Afterward, check and see if you got it right. This mental math is an excellent exercise for the brain.
- We all use GPS or even those big paper map books. For this exercise, keep your route in your head, and when you get home, write it out. Check your paper map afterward to see if you missed a street while going from home to the big box store.
- If you already cook, try something different, such as Thai or Ethiopian food. New recipes work other senses, such as your smell and taste. Working out portions involves some mental math. You can even take a cooking class if your basic cooking isn’t up to speed.
- Memory involves recall, so exercising this part of the brain is very helpful. Try memorizing something you like. For example, if you watch many movies, look at the producers, associate producers, and writers’ names. After watching the movie, write out the names and check to see how many you got right.
- Learning to play a musical instrument strengthens the neural pathways in your brain. You will need to memorize all the notes. If you play an instrument, pick another one foreign to you. For example, if you play the piano, give the harmonica a try.
- Visualization is key to boosting memory. Just for fun, think of a word and see it in your mind. Then visualize other words that start and end with the same letters. For example, visualize the word “computer.” An easy 2nd word would be “car.” Can you visualize a more problematic word now? No, then how about “caterpillar.” Your turn.
- How many languages do you speak now? The idea of learning new languages opens more doors for you, and the process of discovering individual words and phrases will boost your memory skills. There are several free starter videos on YouTube that you can try and then pick the language you want. From there, you can go to a full scale paid program on DVD.
- Memory exercises can be done by trying new hobbies that require the eye to hand coordination. One of the best for this is learning how to knit. If that doesn’t suit you, consider putting together a 3D puzzle, which works your memory skills.
- New sports can be used to train memory. Playing darts requires hand and eye coordination, plus math skills as you add up the darts thrown, plus what you need to hit on the board for your combinations to make your goal score.
- Remember that cooking skill we talked about. You can take it a step further by involving the family. Each person makes a dish, and then you need to work on tasting and figuring out all the ingredients. “Hmm, is that cilantro I taste?” Imagine that someone cooks a nice Indian meal for you and think of the variety of spices that would be involved in putting this together.
Try all the brain exercises at least once and then use the ones that fit your lifestyle and that you enjoy doing. Remember, if you hate cooking, then after giving it another try, you might find that it has become appealing to you. Cooking healthy meals for the brain and the body should be on your goal list.
How To Remember Things With Mnemonics
Special techniques or hacks allow us to do things rapidly, giving us more time in our day. Such is the case with mnemonics that can be used in a variety of situations. Here are some very handy mnemonics you can try today, depending on what you need to learn.
Chunking – This is combining numbers, letters, or phrases to make them much easier to remember. We all do it without even thinking about it when we memorize our new phone number. Typically phone numbers such as 647-012-1234 are separated by the hyphens to make it easy for you, rather than the example of 6470121234 as a large number to remember. We memorize the 647 first and work out way through the rest until we can repeat it easily.
We can do the same thing with places such as Mississippi chunked down to “Miss-issi-ppi.
Music – This technique should not come as a surprise as it the basic idea behind learning your numbers or alphabet as a child. Many people use song titles that are a match with something they need to know. Using music as a mnemonic tool has helped people who are beginning to suffer from age-related brain issues such as Alzheimer’s.
Loci Mnemonics – This is an ancient tool used by a Greek poet and academic scholars after that. The concept is to visualize rooms and perhaps corridors that you know well and then assign a fact or long piece of information to each room. As you need to remember, you step in the first room and recall the information attached to that room. For example, if you know your local grocery very well, you could use that. If you are working on remembering a combination of numbers, see the produce aisle in your mind and put that combination with that mental image. Once you have completed this, close your eyes and begin walking the produce aisle, the coffee/tea aisle, and the cereal aisle, while pausing and remembering the information assigned to each.
TGIF – People who work Monday to Friday know this acronym all too well. But if you don’t, it stands for “Thank God It’s Friday.” Job haters are prone to utter this every Friday.
Many well-known companies have acronyms so that potential clients can quickly recognize who they are and what they do. For example, we have IBM, “International Business Machines,” or BMW for Bavarian Motor Works.”
Try using this system to memorize whatever you need. For example, if you need to pick up spices for your beef curry, you could use TCCC, which stands for Turmeric, Cumin, Chillies, and Coriander.
Linking – This is the process of using a story or images to remember information. As you tell yourself the story, it will link back to what you need to remember, and that image will be in your mind. For example, if you were going to your karate class tonight, you would need your uniform, belt, gloves, and helmet. The story you could create to remember that would be:
“The cop put on his helmet and gloves after he secured his belt and holster. His uniform is now complete.”
Rhyme – This is another memory tool we have used since our childhood. Our books were full of rhymes to help us learn how to read. Although Mozart composed twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, the rhyme as we know it today came later from the author, Jane Taylor. In using rhyme for your memorization, work on doing it with humor. We tend to remember things that make us laugh or give a bad scare, more than anything, as they are opposite extreme emotions.