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How do I improve my memory?

Memory Exercises

Arthur Bornstein (Founder, The Bornstein School for Memory Training) gives expert video advice on: How do I improve my memory?; What should I consider when adopting a memory fitness program?; Why do I forget things after eating lunch? and more...

What is a "visual association"?

A visual association is when you visualize an idea and you bring another idea to that picture. When you see these two items together, they are going to come back together. As an example, if I said, picture a friend, right? Your friend, George, and you have a good picture of George, right? And you want to remember that you're going to meet George at one o'clock in the afternoon at a famous restaurant called Coco's. Can you see him - George - standing in front of the restaurant with a big clock on his head or something that says one o'clock? Now what you've done is you see your friend - that's a picture, you see the restaurant, and you see the clock. You bring these two together.

Who should develop a memory improvement program?

I say everyone should develop a memory improvement program, from children -- early age: 6, 7, 8 -- to a person who's never trained their memory and thinks their memory is not working well. They could be 50, 60 or 70. It's never too late to start training the memory. The idea is to start using memory systems and techniques, building your confidence in your memory. You want to keep that memory exercised so it's strong.

What should I consider when adopting a memory fitness program?

To start your memory fitness program, you want to consider a good diet, less stress and more exercise. Exercising the body to get more oxygen into your brain, and the confidence that comes along with it, helps the memory. The important elements of a memory fitness program are diet, exercise, less stress and keeping a positive attitude.

How will a positive attitude improve my memory?

A positive attitude will improve your memory beacuse you're more open to recording the information. If you're more relaxed, you'll find this attitude of saying "I like to learn. I'm excited about having a good, sharp memory." This positive attitude is then going to tie in with the confidence in your memory, with you knowing that you know you have information at your fingertips at the right time. In the past, perhaps you've had experiences where you've developed a lot of stress because you couldn't remember names, numbers or where you put your car keys? So this positive attitude of training your memory and having a good memory is very important.

Does stress affect my memory?

Stress affects your memory in this way: it actually locks the information, it doesn't allow those synopsis to make connections in your brain. You find that your brain is not functioning on peak level when there's stress. Lack of sleep and too much alcohol can create a stress that will affect your memory. Eliminate as much stress in your life as possible. There are exercises to relieve stress through breathing and relaxation that will help.

How does diet affect my memory?

If you have too much fat in your diet, you're going to have less circulation to the brain, when the brain needs oxygen. So too much fat in the diet means less oxygen travelling to the brain. It could be a sluggish feeling after eating too many heavy meals that will affect you, because the blood is working on the stomach and not on the brain. So its very important to control the elements that can affect your memory, such as food.

Why do I forget things after eating lunch?

Many times the question of feeling tired after lunch, fatigue sets in. That's because the heavy lunch, drinking too much, or let me say eating too much sugar, will elevate the insulin in your body or some people might even be hypoglycemic, which can affect your memory. Fatigue sets in in the mind through the food because the body takes the chemicals to the brain and the brain is affected in that way. So watch yourself in the afternoons when you get that low feeling when you want to lie down and sleep for twenty minutes or a half hour, it's only because that meal and the chemicals being digested are affecting your thinking process.

Can exercise improve my memory?

Exercise improves the memory by getting more oxygen into your lungs, which is then transferred into your entire body, including the brain. The brain feels good, the body feels good and your memory is going to function at a much higher level by doing certain exercises. These exercises could be dancing, singing or just taking a nice long walk on the beach. Get that oxygen, get that exercise, to keep that memory sharp and clear.

How can stretching improve my ability to remember?

Stretching is very simple. You can be sitting in chair and stretch. You can get on the floor and do some yoga exercises or pilate. You'll find it releases tension and the tension from the muscles in the body, and actually the tension in the neck and the brain - of course at the same time, which will improve your memory. So will the idea of stretching, you don't need a gym to stretch. You just need your arms to go out; your legs to go out. You can be on the floor and stretch. And of course, if you have somebody to give you a little message, why not? It'll help.

Can acronyms improve my memory?

The question is, can acronyms help you remember items. Absolutely. In fact, I call it the "initial system" of remembering. Don't even have to think of acronyms. It's the initial, the first letter of the word stimulates the whole idea to mind. As an example, in grade school you learn the names of the five great lakes. Now if you're not sure of them right now, watch this. I want you to picture the five great lakes. See them? And I want you to remember one word, "homes"--H-O-M-E-S. And I want you to see these "homes" all around the five great lakes. H is for Huron, O for Ontario, M for Michigan, E for Erie, and S for Superior. So think of homes, you always get the five great lakes. What are the five great lakes? H is for one, Huron, O for Ontario, M for Michigan, E for Erie, S for Superior. And by the way, if the child doesn't know Huron because of the sound, just say "you're on Huron". Okay? S for Superior, think of Superman. Anything that makes sense to you, or to the child, lock it in and have fun using. I call it the initial system, you want to call it acronyms. They're all the same.