Can’t remember names, dates – or even why you walked into a room? Luckily, there are lots of things you can do to increase your memory power.
Step 1: Play games Do crossword puzzles, play Sudoku, take up bridge — games like these stimulate the mind, helping the brain grow new neural pathways, improving your mental ability.
Step 2: Drink grape juice Drink purple grape juice (not white). Research has found that drinking eight ounces of Concord grape juice a day improves memory by 20%, thanks in part to loads of antioxidants.
TIP: Spring for organic grape juice; organic fruits and vegetables have 40% more antioxidants than non-organic ones.
Step 3: Spice things up Both rosemary and sage improve people’s scores on word-recall tests by stimulating the brain’s memory center. In fact, students in ancient Greece wore sprigs of rosemary in their hair on test days.
TIP: Need to remember a name? Picture it written across the person’s forehead; the visual image will help you remember it later. This was a favorite trick of Franklin Roosevelt, who was renowned for his ability to remember names.
Step 4: Dance! Hit the dance floor, jog, or do anything that gets your pulse racing. Physical activity rushes oxygen to the brain and builds new cells in the brain region linked to memory.
TIP: Repeat whatever you need to memorize – a name, an address, a phone number – when you first hear it. Saying it out loud helps lock it into your memory.
Step 5: Take naps If you can possibly swing it, take naps. Research has found that people who squeeze in a catnap during the day retain twice as much of the information they learned that day as those who don’t.
Step 6: De-stress yourself De-stress yourself by taking up yoga, meditation, or deep breathing. When you’re stressed, the brain activates an enzyme that impairs short-term memory.
TIP: If you’re trying to memorize something, do it on an empty stomach. The hormone that improves memory is highest when the stomach is empty.
Step 7: Be a social butterfly Be a social butterfly. One study found that people who socialize regularly do far better on memory tests than their less outgoing counterparts, since participating in conversations exercises the brain.
Step 8: Eat blueberries Have a handful of blueberries each day. Blueberries contain a chemical that dramatically improves memory, and a half-cup is all you need to get the benefit.
Step 9: Move your eyes Moving your eyes side to side for 30 seconds every morning can improve memory by ten percent. How? It gets the two sides of the brain working in harmony.
FACT: The average person forgets 30% of what he’s heard after 20 minutes, and 50% of what he’s heard within half an hour!