Ways to improving memory

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ALTHOUGH there is no conclusive evidence that memory can be improved with some simple exercises, the experts do recommend lifestyle changes such as undertaking memory exercises, eating healthily, engaging in moderate physical activity, and reducing stress to enhance the power of recall.

The International Longevity Centre released in 2001 a report which includes ­recommendations for keeping the mind in good functionality until advanced age.

Some of the recommendations are to stay intellectually active through ­learning, ­training or reading (even after one’s retired) and to keep ­physically active so as to promote blood ­circulation to the brain.

Other ways include to socialise more, to reduce stress in your life, to keep sleep time ­regular, avoid depression and emotional ­instability, and to observe good nutrition.

Memory, like muscular strength, is a “use it or lose it” proposition. The more you work out your brain, the better you’ll be able to process and remember information.

Here are some exercises to try out:

  1. Paired associate learning
    Learn to associate one specific word with another. For example, when trying to remember  a word such as “safe”, you must learn to say another specific word, such as “green” to tie in the first word. This is ­called stimulus and response.
  2. Free recall
    Study a list of words and then ­sometime later, try to recall or write down as many words as you can remember.
  3. Recognition
    First, remember a list of words or ­pictures, then try to identify those words or pictures from among a list of alternatives that were not given in the original list.
  4. Pay attention
    You can’t remember something if you never learned it, and you can’t learn something, if you don’t pay enough ­attention to it. So, no multitasking when you need to concentrate.
  5. Organise information
    Write things down in address books and datebooks and on calendars; take notes on more complex material and reorganise the notes into categories later. Use both words and pictures in learning information.
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