You can’t find your glasses (they’re on your head), you forgot the morning staff meeting (it was an hour ago), and the kids are safely at school (but their lunches are still on the kitchen counter). Oh well, when you’re crazy-busy, exhausted, or valiantly multitasking from morning till night, something’s got to give and it’s usually your memory. Not to worry; A little memory loss is perfectly normal once you hit middle age. But, guess what? You don’t have to put up with it. These 9 memory-boosting tricks will have you remembering where you parked the car in no time.
Keep track of your to-do’s
The trick: Play a mind game
When you plan your day, tie everything together through creative visualization, sort of like telling yourself a story that draws from your appointments and errands. It may sound hokey, but it works. Say you have to remember to buy milk and also take your son to the dentist. You can link those tasks together by imagining your son drinking a glass of milk, and seeing the milk wash over his teeth, depositing calcium.”
Ace a presentation
The trick: Stop and smell the roses
In a recent German study, some students sniffed a rose scent as they matched pairs of cards and then were exposed to the scent again as they slept; other students didn’t get to sniff anything. When they woke up, the rose-sniffers were better at recalling the cards they had matched. To sharpen your own wits, try spraying a favorite fragrance on your sheets the night before you give that big presentation.
The trick: Exercise your eyes
Before you walk into your next cocktail party, move your eyes back and forth horizontally for 30 seconds. Yeah, you might look weird, but British researchers say the exercise can help you retain words (including names) you’re about to hear. The horizontal movement makes the brain’s hemispheres interact, and that’s important in memory retrieval, the experts say.
Absorb critical info
The trick: Breathe deeply
Keep your mind focused during meetings by meditating beforehand. Studies show it’s a great way to boost your attention span and attention is the main door to memory. Never meditated before? Sit or lie on the floor in a quiet room in a comfortable position, rest both hands on your stomach, and breathe deeply, focusing on the silence. Try to meditate for at least 10 minutes daily.
The trick: Learn a new language
Stretch your mind and you can create new pathways in the brain. The new pathways can help you stay on top of everything you’ve already got simmering. One way to stretch: Dip into a foreign language. There’s no need to get fluent; just drill vocab with an instructional CD in the car. Other ideas: Try a new hobby like cooking or dancing.
Master a new workout move
The trick: Hit snooze
Get a good night’s sleep, and you’ll be better prepared to kick butt in any situation that requires your memory to guide your body. Research from Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center shows that the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls speed and accuracy, is especially active after a full slumber session.
Find your parked car
The trick: Take a good look
Think parking garages and mall lots were designed to torture you? You won’t forget where you parked for the fourth time this week if you look back at your ride as you walk away, Hagwood suggests. Just before you leave the garage or lot, take a final glance backward.
Deliver the punch line
The trick: Vary your routine
Forget the punch line every time you tell a joke? Shake up your routines. Try brushing your teeth with the other hand, or take a new route to work. This stimulates nerve cell growth in the brain, something your noggin probably needs if you’re still telling knock-knock jokes.
Avoid senior moments
The trick: Get moving
You just forgot why you walked into a room? A new study from Columbia University shows that exercise encourages neuron growth in a region of the brain that’s associated with normal, age-related memory loss. Researchers haven’t figured out what form of exercise best fits the bill yet, but right now they believe any aerobic workout or an intensive strength-training regimen is great. Both get oxygen flowing to the brain. For starters, walking briskly for 30 minutes at least three times a week could help that is if your doctor approves.