You exercise your body to stay physically in shape, so why shouldn't you exercise your brain to stay mentally fit? With these daily exercises you will learn how to flex your mind, improve your creativity and boost your memory. As with any exercise, repetition is necessary for you to see improvement, so pick your favorite exercises from our daily suggestions and repeat them as desired. Try to do some mentalrobics every single day!
As with most skills, practice improves your performance. Unfortunately, simply practicing by memorizing long lists over and over is not going to improve your ability to remember. There is no "mental muscle" that you are making stronger. However, if you practice memorizing using mnemonic techniques such as acronyms or pegwords, you will get better at using these techniques, which will improve your ability to remember.
In other words, you cannot improve your inherent memory ability through practice, but you can improve your skill at certain memory techniques that make learning more efficient.
One of the best ways to improve your memory for every day facts and avoid absentmindedness is to get organized. Disorganized people report more memory problems than people who can easily structure the information that comes to them.
Having a good organizational system in place will ensure that information will not be misplaced, because if you have a specific place for everything, the mind knows exactly where to go to retrieve that information. For example, a disorganized person might throw their keys anywhere in the house. This means that they must remember at all times where their keys are, otherwise the keys become lost. If you are organized and always place your keys on the hook next to the door, then your brain doesn't need to remember where they are because they are always in the same place.
For less tangible information such as phone numbers and dates, you could use a PDA or notebook to keep track of the information. This frees up some mental energy for more creative or productive uses. Once this stuff is written down, you no longer have to expend energy keeping it in your brain.
People of nearly any age can learn and benefit from mnemonic techniques such as the Link and Loci systems.
Children as young as five can use these techniques effectively to learn material appropriate for their age group. Additionally, mnemonics have been shown to help elderly people with declining memory faculties.
The phrase "A picture is worth a thousand words" means that you can describe something by producing a picture just as well as by using a bunch of words. A single picture is able to convey a wealth of information.
There is some research evidence that visual images are remembered differently than verbal material in the mind. For example, it is much quicker to read the word "shoe" off a page than it is to look at a picture of one and say the word "shoe." Also, in many research tests, the mind has been shown to have a much larger memory for pictures than words. In other words, if you are shown 20 pictures and 20 words, you are much more likely to remember the pictures.
This fact is an important reason why many mnemonics rely on making mental visualizations. Since images are easier to recall, using a visualization of a word will help you remember it better. Additionally, visualizing a word will encode it into your visual memory as well as your verbal memory, which doubles your chances of keeping it in your brain.
When people get overwhelmed with tasks, a common problem is that the mind gets paralyzed because it can't decide what to do first. Often, the mind jumps from task to task to task without making much progress with anything. This can lead to a cycle of ever increasing stress about the growing list of things to do.
A simple strategy is to do all the little things first. Find all the tasks that can be completed in only a few minutes and do them in sequence without letting your attention get diverted. Once you have weeded out all the easy stuff your mind will feel less cluttered and it will be easier to concentrate on the bigger tasks
This strategy is even more useful when you apply it to your daily life because it can prevent you from getting into a cluttered mindset in the first place. As a benefit, you will also have fewer problems with forgetting to do something because you do it right away. Anytime you have a short task presented to you, instead of putting it off, just do it and get it over with. One example of how to do this is with email. Whenever you get an email that you need to reply to, just reply to it right then and there. Leaving it in your inbox for later just leads to an overwhelmingly full inbox.