Most of us can lose our train of thought midway through a sentence .“In a recent study of healthy adults, the average number of memory slips, like putting the coffee jar in the fridge, was around six per week, irrespective of age, gender and intelligence,“ says neuropsychologist Dr Joanna Iddon. In fact, it was the younger, busier people that were the most absent-minded. Remembering is an active process and making the most of your memory involves paying better attention, planning and organising. Luckily , there are some tricks and strategies to help you banish those thingumabob moments.
ASSOCIATE THE MEMORY WITH THE ENVIRONMENT: So if, for example, a joke is learned in the presence of a particular smell, that same aroma may cue the memory for that joke. “More simply , when in an exam, I advise my students to visualise the place in which they were revising as a cue to memory,“ says Andrew Johnson, memory specialist and lecturer in psychology at a UK-based university .
CLENCH YOUR FIST: Research suggests that balling up your right hand and squeezing it tightly actually makes it easier to memorise phone numbers or shopping lists.Later, when you want to retrieve the information, clench the left fist. Researchers think the movements activate brain regions key to the storing and recall of memories.
LEARN SOMETHING BEFORE BED: The best way to `consolidate a memory' is to go through the information just before going to sleep This is because there are fewer `new' interfering memories so you will remember it better the next day .
AAH! LOOK AT CUTE KITTEN PICTURES: Looking at cute images of baby animals doesn't just make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, it can also help the brain to concentrate. Researchers at a university in Japan split 132 students into three groups and gave each one tasks such as playing a game where body parts are removed without making contact with a livewire or finding a number in a random sequence. After one attempt, they spent several minutes looking at cute pictures of kittens or puppies and did it again.Performance scores improved by an average of 44 per cent.
DRINK MORE MILK Scientists asked 972 people to fill in detailed surveys on their diets and to complete eight rigorous tests to check their concentration, memory and learning abilities. Adults who consumed dairy products at least five or six times a week did far better in memory tests compared with those who rarely ate or drank them.
EXERCISE MORE: Several studies have shown that aerobic exercise improves cognitive function and is particularly good at enhancing memory . Exercise is also thought to encourage the growth of new brain cells in the hippocampus -an area of the brain important in memory and learning.
WIGGLE YOUR EYES: Forget what it looks like to others! Wiggling your eyes from side to side for 30 seconds could be the key to boosting concentration. That's because the left and right sides of the brain perform different functions and improving communication between them can bolster mental performance.
DON'T SWALLOW IT WHOLE: When someone gives you a phone number, use `chunking' as a way of remembering it. When you chunk the numbers, it becomes a sort of a story for you to remember than trying to break it down to remember it.
DRINK GREEN TEA: Chinese researchers say regularly drinking green tea could improve your memory and delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease thanks to its key ingredient -the organic molecule EGCG (epigallocatechin-3 gallate), an antioxidant that protects against age-related degenerative illnesses.
LEARN ANOTHER LANGUAGE:Learning a foreign language can boost your brain, even in adults.A research carried out by a university in UK found verbal fluency and intelligence in 262 people who took on another tongue.Other studies have also hinted that being bilingual can delay the onset of dementia by several years. The effects were present in those who learned their second language early .(Aug 14 2016 : The Times of India (Mumbai)