Techniques to Improve Your Memory

There are many books devoted to memory improvement by using a variety of tricks and techniques. I will not discuss techniques used by high school and college students to cram for exams, and instead will focus only on those methods that can help prevent age-related memory loss in people above the age of forty.

1. Pay attention. Pay attention to what needs to be learned or remembered. This seems obvious, but it's easy to lose track and forget things when you are pulled in many directions by personal or career demands. Reducing stress, and making a strong effort to maintain your concentration whenever necessary, are essential to improving your memory.

2. Heighten your sensory awareness. Heightened sensory awareness is essential to maintaining peak attention. Auditory memory makes use of the patterns, the rhythms of speech. Simple phrases, connected words that can be strung into a tune, these are techniques used by advertisers to zero in on your sensory awareness and get you to remember. The Nike, or Michael Jordan, phrase "Just do it!" is something most of you will always remember, even if you have mild memory loss. Or the small elderly woman yelling, "Where's the beef?'' in the hamburger ad. Three factors help imprint these memories in your brain:

a. The dramatic nature of their content.

b. The emotions they evoke in you.

c. Frequent repetition that helps create a permanent auditory memory.

3. Be emotionally aware. Emotional awareness means being consciously aware of your emotions in relation to an event. Memories are registered best when the event has emotional meaning but doesn't overwhelm you with extreme anxiety or stress. This is why weddings and funerals are indelibly etched in our minds, yet there may be some parts that are simply not registered properly in memory because the emotions were too overwhelming. Focusing on the exact emotion you felt during the event will help you remember it better.

4. Focus to register a memory. Recognize the positive and negative influences that impact on your ability to remember.

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