November/December 2002
Page 8

Don't Forget

Seven Steps To Improve Your Memory

If we can preserve and maintain some kinds of memory as we age, can we do even better? Can we hope to improve? The answer from the experts is a heartening "Yes!" "Everyone can improve memory," says Danielle Lapp, a memory-training specialist at Stanford University, and author of Nearly Total Recall. In her training program at Stanford, Lapp has helped thousands of people to sharpen their storage and retrieval skills.

Here are some memory-strengthening tips from Lapp's book, and from Thomas Crook's How to Remember Names:

  1. Set Priorities: Don't expect to be able to juggle six things at once," says Lapp. Get mentally organized; distinguish between what's important to remember and what isn't;
  2. Sharpen The Focus: Crook suggests paying special attention to landmarks when you're doing your routine driving. "This will help you develop a more active sense of awareness," he says.
  3. Pause And Ponder: You can improve the amount of written material you can recall by as much as 300% if you simply stop to think about what you've read.
  4. Make Associations: Find key words, pictures, or letter combinations to help you remember. This is known as mnemonic memory. If you meet a woman named Rose, for example, remember her name by picturing the flower.
  5. Use Your Senses: "When you order a dish at a restaurant," Crook writes, "note the texture, the subtle flavorings, the temperature, and the colors." In general, use as many of your senses as you can to aid in remembering.
  6. Do Your Exercises: Memorize numbers that may be important to you, such as your drivers' license and Social Security numbers. When you're at a party, make it a point to remember the names of at least four of the new people you meet. When you write your shopping list, try to remember all the items without looking when you get to the market.
  7. Be Kind To Yourself: Losing the car keys or forgetting the name of your bridge partner for a moment is not a sign of mental disintegration.

From Tacoma (WA) Newsletter via S. Brevard (FL) OSTOMY NEWSLETTER, Dec. 2001, via Inside Out On-line Nov/Dec 2002.

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