Researchers claim that with the working age we gradually start loosing our memory, though it is possible to train brain in order to improve both short term memory (i.e. working) as well as long-term memory.
Would you be able to remember phone numbers of your beloved ones if you lost your phone, and your colleague would offer to call from theirs? Are you able to recall a name of your friends boyfriend you met yesterday, while passing by and meeting the happy couple? If you answered “no” to both of questions, you might have a room for improvement. And that is not even too hard.
In many cases people over forties would experience “shrinking memory” as they often start to notice that their memory and mental clarity are not what they used to be like before. In such cases people would usually observe the “shrinking” effect of their short term memory, where they would realize they have forgotten where did they put the keys that they just had in a palm or would forget the name of a colleague.
Is It Inevitable?
The short answer, just like to majority of situations would be “it depends”. It depends on your job, your social skills, your abilities and even your genes. It might seem innocent and inevitable, but loss of mental focus can potentially impact ones professional, personal and social lives. Happily enough, neuroscientists claim that a lot can be done to increase our memory capacity, especially with brain exercising. Brain needs to exercise exactly like our muscles do and mental exercises can therefore increase the capacity. Thinking and accurate reading is the first step towards brain training, as it essentially is a process of making neural connections to the brain.
Even though strong memory depends on your age, health and vitality, a good thing is, that no matter your age, everyone can improve their memory and everyone can become better at this regardless of how good or bad it currently is.
Train Like A Pro
Not too long ago, San Francisco web-based company has taken even a step further in memory development and developed the first online-based “brain training program”, which is designed to help people improve and retain their memory. Lumosity is a website, where users are being offered to play various crosswords, based on creativity, attention and memory training. It shows you the ideal score you could have achieved as well as the one you did, so you can keep the track of your improvements. Besides, it also shows your progress after each class as it compares each of your actions daily. By now, more than 14 million people from 180 countries have trained online.
It is said to be far more than an online place to exercise mental skills, as it systematically allows you to train, keep track and improve based on variety of pre-designed tasks. Most importantly, it modifies and enhances the games making them slightly bit harder as you progress, so you could improve even more.
Besides regular daily activities, such as accurate reading, thinking and daily memory usage, there are some simple ways to improve your brain. Neuroscientists suggest to play a so called “vowel game”. You have to print an article or take a magazine, take a pencil or a pen and mark all vowels you see in a text as quickly as possible. Such kind of childish games do improve brain function. At least 10-20 minutes of daily exercise and in a few weeks you will not only see a significant improvement on your memory and attention, but also on the IQ!
Scientists also suggest changing your daily habits into doing something that you are not used to. Try doing that every single day and change the activity, so that you wouldn’t mechanically learn it but that it would still require conscious effort to complete it. A good example of such activity would be brushing your teeth with a left hand if you are right-handed, drink your coffee while holding a cup in the hand that you are not used to and try writing with the hand you don’t write with. Psychologists claim that the more “weird” actions you engage in, the more actively your brains work, therefore keeping it “in shape”.
If you have problems remembering names of people you are associated with, try associate names with something funny. Images and emotions remain in memory longer than plain names, therefore make funny associations for the names or think of nicknames that you would associate name with. I myself had a lot of problems when I just came to Denmark since Danish names were something unusual and I would have a really hard time remembering them. I would remember Mette as “meet a” and Line as a liner (sorry!). It might not be very nice of you if you start addressing people with the associations you made, but there’s nothing bad in helping yourself to remember names the easiest way for you. The more interesting and/or funny you make it, the easier it becomes to remember.
If you have problems remembering numbers and number combinations (phone numbers, PIN codes etc.), try making a sentence out of the numbers you have, which would be easy to remember. For example, you want to remember your car number, AN 44 887. Help yourself making a sentence out of it – “Anne Christensen in the week 44 turned 88, she celebrated birthday on Sunday”. Another example would be remembering a PIN code for your bank card, for example, 1821. Make an association of something similar to “In Europe you can buy alcohol when you turn eighteen, whereas in US only from the age of 21″. Another option for that would be searching for number associations based on how it looks like. For example, if you imagine that 0 looks like a balloon, 1 – like a street light, 2 – like a swan and so on, it could help you remember numbers if you remember (imagine) them by the things you associate them with, e.g. 0180 – balloon, street light, bow in the hair, balloon. Funny and effective.
It doesn’t matter what kind of brain-training game you choose, remember to do it regularly to enjoy improved memory for a long time!