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!
Without new and interesting experiences our brains get bored and lazy. One way to introduce some novelty into your lives is to try new foods. The sense of taste is an underused sense that has a large capacity to trigger old memories. One bite of your grandmother's apple pie might bring back dozens of childhood experiences.
Instead of having your normal everyday breakfast, try something completely new. If you always have cereal, have eggs instead. If you cook at home, try to incorporate one new recipe each week. When you are at the grocery store grab one item off the shelf that you have never had before and take it home for a taste-test. If you eat out or order in, branch out and try a new restaurant or order something from the menu that you have never had before. If you never try new things, you'll never know if you are missing out on something that you really like. The new tastes and smells will help form new memories and may even remind you of something long forgotten.
The peg mnemonic system can be used to remember long numbers. Since each digit has its own pegword, you simply need to link the pegwords together to remember each subsequent digit. Here are the rhyming pegwords for each digit.
For example, let's say that your credit card number is 5831-7489-2467-0000 (not a real credit card number!). You could memorize this by linking the words: hive-gate-tree-bun-heaven-door....
Use this technique to remember account numbers, PINs, phone numbers, social security numbers, etc. You could even memorize the digits of pi (3.14159265...) using this method.
The peg mnemonic system is useful because it can help you remember items in non-sequential order. This is especially helpful for material that already has a natural order to it. For example, you could use the peg system to easily remember the Ten Commandments, the amendments to the US Constitution, the periodic table of elements, or the planets in the solar system.
The following example shows how you could use the peg system to remember the first 5 US states in order of population. The first word given is the peg word, followed by the state, then the substitute word that we will use to make our association. For example, to remember that California is number 1, you would make a visual association between a bun and the Hollywood sign.
1. Bun - California - Hollywood Sign
2. Shoe - Texas - Longhorn Cattle
3. Tree - New York - Big Apple
4. Door - Florida - Oranges
5. Hive - Illinois - Sears Tower
You could easily continue this list for all the states.
When you learn a fact, there are many associations that are learned along with it. The more associations you have for a particular fact, the more likely you are to remember it because each association acts like a cue to remember the original information. You can use this idea to help you remember something that is on the tip of your tongue. Try to recall everything that is related to the idea. Chances are that something you DO remember will lead you to what you DON'T. For example, if you are trying to remember an actor's name, try to name all the movies that he has been in and all of his costars. It's very possible that in doing this, the name will just pop into your head.
The context of where and how you learned a piece of information is also stored in your memory. If you are trying to remember something that your math teacher taught you in class, try to picture the class and the circumstances surrounding the time when you learned it. This might cue your memory.
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.