If you have a hard time remembering names or what to get at the supermarket, there are ways to boost your memory.
According to a study in the journal Consciousness and Cognition, one of the best things you can do is say the information you want to remember out loud, and it’s even stronger if you repeat the information to another person — that means not just mouthing the words. This could explain why you can recite your child’s favorite book unaided — read it out loud enough times and you can have near total recall.
An everyday example is to repeat the name of a new acquaintance out loud as soon as you’re introduced. Instead of just saying, “It’s nice to meet you,” add their name and say, “It’s nice to meet you, Mary.”
Making word and number associations is effective, too. Break down a phone number you want to memorize into digits you can associate with special dates or the ages of your kids, for example. You might try dividing almost any type of information into chunks that you learn one by one.
Other research explains why making lists is so effective. The human brain is better at recognition — or seeing words — on a to-do list rather than trying to mentally recall errands you’re supposed to run.
Finally, make friends with technology if you haven’t done so already. Use the apps on your phone to make lists and add the names of people you meet to your contacts as soon as you meet them — this gives you the opportunity to repeat their name and write it down digitally.
The U.S. National Institute on Aging has a helpful booklet on memory loss that will help you boost your memory and understand what’s normal as you age.
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