In my mounds of research findings, one of my favorite lists
for improving the memory is from Johns Hopkins Health Alert and it goes like
Improve Your Memory With These 9
·The minor memory lapses that occur with
age-associated memory impairment can’t be eliminated completely; however, a
number of common-sense strategies can improve overall memory at any age. The
keys are to stay focused, active and alert.
·Memory Tip 1: Place commonly lost items in a
designated spot. If you’re prone to losing certain items, such as keys or
eyeglasses, pick a spot and always put the items there when you are not using
·Memory Tip 2: Write things down. If you have
trouble remembering phone numbers or appointments, write them down and place
the list in a conspicuous spot. Making a daily “to do” list will remind you of
important tasks and obligations.
·Memory Tip 3: Say words out loud. Saying “I’ve
turned off the stove” after doing so will give you an extra verbal reminder
when you later try to recall whether the stove is still on. Incorporating
people’s names into the conversation immediately after you have met them helps,
·Memory Tip 4: Use memory aids. Use a pocket
notepad, cell phone, wristwatch alarm, voice recorder or other aids to help
remember what you need to do or to keep track of information.
·Memory Tip 5: Use visual images. When learning
new information, such as a person’s name, create a visual image in your mind to
make the information more vivid and, therefore, more memorable.
·Memory Tip 6: Group items using mnemonics. A
mnemonic is any technique used to help you remember. For example, when
memorizing lists, names, addresses and so on, try grouping them as an acronym.
Another mnemonic technique is an acrostic. Acrostics use the first letter of
each item to create new words that form a sentence or phrase. Using rhymes or
creating stories that connect each element to be remembered is also
·Memory Tip 7: Concentrate and relax. Many
environmental stimuli compete for your attention at any given time. To remember
something, concentrate on the items to be remembered. Pay close attention to
new information and try to avoid or block out distractions. Anxiety and stress
can inhibit recall. Learning a relaxation technique, such as deep breathing or
muscle-relaxing exercises, may help.
·Memory Tip 8: Get plenty of sleep. During sleep
the brain consolidates and firms up newly acquired information. Studies
indicate that people are better at remembering recently learned information the
next day if they have had a good night’s sleep.
·Memory Tip 9: Rule out other causes of memory
loss. If you suspect that you are having memory difficulties, consult your doctor.
Some medical conditions can cause memory problems that can be corrected,
including depression, hearing or vision loss, thyroid dysfunction, certain
medications, vitamin deficiencies and stress.
Posted in Memory on July 4, 2011
I think that the 9
Memory Tips From Johns Hopkins are great, down-to-earth tips. I hope you enjoyed reading them - there’s no excuse not to practice
One of the best ways to help your brain be more fit, is to
make sure your mind is receiving good nutrition for better brain function. The basics for eating a nutritious diet
that’s good for your brain include the following:
Drink half your body weight in non carbonated, preferably
Drink green tea
Know what the right weight is for your body type and eat as
many calories as it takes to maintain that weight
Know what foods you are allergic to and avoid eating them
Consume fresh, unprocessed, local foods
Eat unsaturated fats, especially foods high in omega-3
Eat complex carbohydrates and low-glycemic foods
Use only natural sweeteners
Reduce salt intake and only use sea salt
Eat 9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day
The key to a great brain diet is to put the emphasis on
nutrition. Think of food as fuel for
your head and body instead of thinking of food as a reward, escape or
If you’re serious about eating to remember, you should know
that certain herbs and spices help promote brain health: Turmeric, Saffron extract, Sage and Cinnamon.
Eat thoughtfully, slowly and chew thoroughly. Start your day with a good breakfast and then
continuously snack throughout your day to keep your blood sugar levels up and
Whether you’re volunteering
to keep yourself fully engaged in life while making positive contributions to
society, or you’ve chosen to, or have to, rejoin the workforce - whatever
you do, don’t panic about your new adventure.
Learn how to cope and how to play the workplace games.
People use intimidation and upset to interrupt or impede
your ability to be comfortable; fully participate in the workplace, and to be
at your mental optimum. In Part II of my book, Aging Gracefully, I deal with "Empowerment and Intimidation
Management,” giving a number of important strategies and techniques to deal
with shenanigans – whether they be on purpose or not.
Stay on the alert to recognize
these types of game players:
·The "Word Supplier"
·The “Word Corrector"
·The “Finisher of Sentences”
·The “Look That Is Meant To Embarrass You”
The “Word Supplier or “Word Corrector” is always waiting-in-the-wings
to catch you pausing for a word, or perhaps mispronouncing a word, or using an
incorrect word so they can jump right in to ‘help’ you. The last thing you want
is that their ‘helpfulness’ implies something is wrong with your abilities. To nip-it-in-the-bud, your response to the
know-it-all: Whatever, accompanied by a smile or accompanied by a gesture of
The “Finisher of Sentences” is also waiting around like an
understudy ready to push the leading lady or man off stage at any moment. To stop-them-in-their-tracks, your response
to their rude behavior: Kindly refrain from finishing my sentences. I
prefer to do that. And if the person
who finished your sentence and was completely wrong in their assumption about
what you were going to say then quickly turn the tables with: That’s not what I was going to say. You’re
completely off topic.
And as for the incredibly impolite person who just has to
flash ‘The Look That Is Meant To Embarrass You’ with their raised eyebrows, their
holier-than-thou look, which seems to say, "Where in the world are you
going with this?" or "What in heaven are you trying to say?" Your
response: Stop right there. Of course laughing at them may do it, too.
“The Disrupter” is like a cheetah ready to pounce in a nanosecond,
challenging something you are saying, disrupting your flow, steering you off
topic, and manhandling the direction and conversation in a completely different
direction. Your response, Go on…., (this indicates that you’re on
to them and that you are giving them permission to continue), and then hold on
tight to your thoughts and the points you want to make. (When a friend of mine does this, she holds
her fingers out on one hand to help her remember every point she wants to make
and with the other hand, she keeps track of counter points to The Distrupter’s
conversation.) Another alternative is to
hold up the palm of your hand or index finger to signal "Wait your turn,”
or, “Hold on,” “In a moment," etc. Whatever
you do, when you take over the floor in conversation, take your sweet time to
get out everything you need to say.
Rude people are everywhere so it’s up to you to figure out
your own style of verbal and non-verbal self defense. Some people will get the hint to back off
from trying to take you on. Others are
just ignorant fools and should be recognized as nothing more than specimens of
character study or as fodder to be capitalized on at a later date, (such as
being used for material in a book, play or blog)….
If you stay healthy in mind and
body, you can remain productive well beyond your 80’s. Research shows that a
healthy body results in a healthy mind. But it also works the other way: change
your brain, according to Dr. Amen, and you’ll change your body. Dr.
Amen’s work proves that if you boost your brain, you’ll improve your overall
health, skin, weight and energy! Dr. Amen’s work proves that you can change the brain you were born with for the
Exercise and nutrition greatly affect
mental capacity. Luckily, it’s never too
late to start exercising, eating healthy, or retraining your brain. Getting in
shape and staying in shape are easier than ever. So if you’ve been putting off
any of those things, why wait?
One of the easiest and most vital
things that you can do to keep your brain cells happy so that you maintain high
levels of memory function is to be well oxygenated. Force yourself to yawn and take 4 deep
breaths through your nose. (Other great
ways to get oxygenated include walking, bicycling, dancing, table tennis,
tennis, yoga, etc. In general, aerobic
exercise is great for oxygen intake and blood circulation.) Avoid things that deplete oxygen such as smoking,
chemicals, not sleeping, not eating well and stress.)
Other things that you can start
doing today to help your brain and body: drink lots of water to stay hydrated,
think positive, forgive, practice gratitude, connect with others, hum or sing,
and learn something new, (even if learning something new means learning a new
The message is simple: take good
care of your mind and body.
As in anything in
life, levity makes our personal journey that much better. Science has proved that “Laughter is
the best medicine.” Laughter reduces
stress, pain and conflict while strengthening social bonds, ( according to Scientific American Mind).
Aging is a
process. How you feel about yourself affects
how you experience your life’s journey.
How you feel about yourself also affects others. Vast studies have been made confirming the
connection between health, healing, positive thinking, and laughter. From the laboratories at major universities
to ancient wisdom and new thought thinkers, such as Ernest Holmes who created
Religious Science, what you think is as important, (and in some cases more
important), than what you do!
Is your glass half
full or half empty? How do you really
perceive your world and those around you?
Isn’t there enough
pressure in our world without adding more to it? It seems to me that relishing in the moment,
rejoicing in accomplishments, and viewing as much as possible with a humorous
slant, can brighten the day. (I’ll certainly welcome a bouquet of happiness
with open arms! Won’t you?)
I know someone who
turns her frowns upside down as soon as she catches herself feeling down. She told me that as soon as she does that and
forces a smile, that smile soon softens and becomes natural, her thoughts
smooth over and her heart lightens. And
when she can laugh about it – just like that - everything that wasn’t “right”
We all encounter
people who are funny. If you over hear a
comment that tickles your funny bone, remember and use it. Then start to build on what you’ve
If you’ve never been
the sharpest comic in the room, not to worry.
Believe-it-or-not, there’s a group just for you: "The Association
for Applied and Therapeutic Humor."
Of course you can read quotes from such great humorists as Mark Twain or
watch classic comedies, (I Love Lucy, Burns and Allen, etc.) on DVD, on-line,
(YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, etc.), cable and Television. Search for the top sitcoms in the U.S., in
Britain and elsewhere. (Check out your
local library’s video section and find out what’s available for free.) You can also attend theatre shows and join
comedy workshops to up your humor.
According to Institutes such as Johns Hopkins, brain
function is intact almost until the end of life. New brain cells and their connections are
generated all the time. Keeping brain-fit
to access your Personal Retrieval System is vital in order to continue to learn,
grow and make contributions to society throughout your life.
Just as the work by Erik and Joan Erikson’s forecasted longevity
filled with continuing achievements and contributions by the older population,
today’s scientific research backs up their predictions.
But in order to reap the benefits of longevity, you have to
practice being brain-fit in order to maintain healthy and on-going brain
function. Experts now believe that the
more cognitive reserves you create, the better your chances are of having a
healthy brain. It’s the old saying, “Use
It or Lose It.” As important cardio and
weight baring exercises are for your overall health - improving, exercising and
recalling your memory is vital to healthy brain function.
Research demonstrates that continuing participation in a
range of mentally stimulating activities such as chess and bridge or learning a
new language or musical instrument are wonderful ways in which you can contribute
toward your brain’s health. The more you
engage in challenging your brain, the more new cells and pathways you
Joining a community drum circle is excellent activity for
staying brain fit and more, as is, playing board games with children, (of
course, the more complex the games are, the
better). Other ideas for keeping
brain-fit include using your non-dominant hand whenever possible. By doing so, you could possibly strengthen
pathways in the opposite side of your brain.
According to the work done by the late Dr. Katz, keeping your eyes
closed while eating might help with forming new cells and pathways devoted to
the processing of sensory input.
Besides engaging in new and dynamic ways throughout your
life to contribute toward brain health, it is important to socialize, reduce
stress, sleep, maintain a healthy heart, be at the right weight for your body
type, exercise, (especially walking which improves blood flow), eat healthy, and
be aware of which medications block the brain chemical, acetylcholine, which is
imperative to memory. (Check with your
doctor to find medications which do not affect your memory.)
If the concept of having a healthy brain is new to you, the
idea of having to change many things in your life to improve your brain health,
might be overwhelming. But if you break
everything down into manageable steps, and take one thing at a time, (perhaps
start with walking every day), you’ll be contributing toward being more brain
fit. And that’s exciting!
Is there a better subject to learn than aging? Perhaps.
But for me there isn’t. That’s why I wrote Aging Gracefully With Dignity,
Integrity & Spunk Intact: Aging Defiantly. With psychology, sociology, science, medicine
and technology on my side, I know what’s in store for the Silver Generation and
boy is it exciting! So instead of
wishing we could reverse aging, we can rejoice and embrace it.
If you’re wondering who influenced my writing, I can tell you that there
were 5 prominent authors whose work had the most impact on my book and who
changed my perception about aging. For
starters, I was enthralled by the famous social psychologist, Erik Erikson and his wife,
Joan, as well as their collaboration with Helen Q. Kivnick. Together, their work on aging and society
opened my heart and mind to a whole new level of self exploration and
understanding about aging and the aging process. I was fascinated with the Erikson’s research
which outlines a productive and rich life in later years while exposing social
hogwash that we as a society have bought into.
I also enjoyed Eric Berne’s classic book, "Games People Play."
(And boy, do people like to mess with anyone over 50. Berne’s book is where I got the idea to
include the 10 tips to get people off your back.) And the fifth author who inspired me was Norman
Vincent Peale, writer of the ever popular, “The
Power of Positive Thinking,” which supports the importance of using humor.
Today, with so much media bombardment, aging gracefully can be
daunting. Aging with joy seems like
flying in the face of conventional wisdom.
And it is! Because conventional
wisdom has fallen behind in the advancements made in science, medicine and
technology in the area of aging. Buried
deep in our subconscious are the remnants of out dated, unadventurous thinking
which prevents most of us from embracing the here-and-now and becoming open to
new possibilities about aging.
My body of work is inspirational and insightful, shedding light about
the wonders of aging and reflecting on how our subconscious mind plays a big
part in how we experience aging. In
"Scenes From a Summer Home," I explore the changing and undefined
boundaries between time and space, and between beginnings and endings. “Fear, Trembling & Renewal," is
about breaking through old paradigms to achieve new insights and perspectives
about aging and life. While my latest
book, “Changing Landscapes of Our Lives,” is a collaborative work and one that
rejoices in the process of life itself.
Regardless of your gender, race, religion, status, and so on - how you perceive,
how you experience aging - begins in your mind.
So I ask you: How do you think about aging?
The Silver Generation can expect to reap improved heart
function, reduction of heart attacks, increased energy, and reduced shortness
of breath by picking up exercising later in life, even as late as 70.
You’d think by now that the vital work by Erik Erikson
and his wife Joan Erikson, The Life Cycle Completed (Extended Version), would have
taken hold in our society with wide acceptance that our Silver Years are a
dynamic stage of life complete with new plans, goals, and ambitions. But instead, our society would rather have us
just fade out into the sunset after our 50’s. Well, “Hogwash!” to that!
Learning doesn’t stop because you’re in your 50’s or
older. More than likely, the one
stopping you from excelling and fully engaging in life, is you. Bring yourself up-do-date with the 21st
Century and the new advances in aging gained in science, medicine and technology.
And make sure you learn how to handle those annoying people
who just can’t help themselves from taking jab after jab at you because of a
number you own and that they’re afraid of.
Don’t go overboard about memory loss. My suggestion to you is that if you can't
remember a word – just substitute it with another. And don’t worry about impressing anyone with
the word you decide to use as the substitute.
Just get your thought out.
And for Pete’s-Sake, quit letting people interrupt
you. There’s no need for you to be
polite while being bullied. Just because
you’re not in the boxing ring together, constant interruption, constant line
stepping, is rude. It’s a form of intimidation
– a form of bullying. And you don’t have
to take it.
Empower yourself every day. Focus on your brain’s health and over all
well being. Make the changes you need to
do in order for you to be at your optimum.
You don’t have to do everything all at once and master everything before
the day’s done. But make sure you keep
on yourself to improve yourself for the better, a little bit at a time, every
Remember: sure and
steady steps make progress to success.
It’s up to you to embrace a new you. You can Age Gracefully, Defiantly
and with Spunk Intact!
While researching my material for Aging Gracefully with Dignity, Integrity and Spunk Intact: Aging Defiantly,
what started out as a journey to find out how to keep the mind young, I ran
smack into the complexities of the human mind – an amazing puzzle that
scientists are still unraveling.
Many of us think we’re living healthy but are we? Are you taking care of your brain?
Do you know that your brain is in charge of everything
from your weight to your sex life? It’s
very important to take care of your Personal Retrieval System so it can take
care of you!
Every day, make sure you’re keeping your stress levels
low, getting enough sleep, (8 hours), eating healthy snacks throughout the day
to keep your blood sugar up, getting enough vitamin D, looking at complex
images/patterns and learning something new.
You can also slow down your brain tissue from deteriorating
by getting your heart rate up so that you increase blood flow to your
brain. Invest in walking 3 times a week
for a half an hour to improve your memory.
According to a study done at the University of Illinois by Arthur
Kramer, Ph.D., (professor of cognitive neuroscience), "We examined brain
structure before and after fitness training and we found increases of brain
volume in a number of areas," says Dr. Kramer.
Of course being overweight doesn’t help your brain
health, either. Why? Because fat cells hold on to toxins that can
be harmful to your brain. And free
radicals can actually kill brain cells.
Check with your doctor about where your BMI, (Body Mass Index), should
be. The average is below 25. (Suggested BMI for 75+ is 27.) Remember to drink plenty of water and to eat
plenty of foods that are rich in antioxidants to help right those free radicals
out of your body. (Green apples have a
lot of pectin to help more those pesky fat cells around. Plus, apples have the antioxidant quercetin
in them to fight those nasty free radicals.)
In my exploration of the brain being able to generate new
cells for a lifetime of continued learning, I came across an article in Scientific
American about Neuroscience that discussed how new discoveries about brain
function is rapidly changing the way aging is perceived. The bottom line is
this: “Use It or Lose It!”
Certainly there are things we can do every day to enhance
our neuro functions. However, there are
3 core things that we need to consider to help enhance brain function and they
are: 1. providing a sense of purpose, 2.
social interaction, and 3. stimulation of the brain.
An excellent way to achieve all 3 things is to return to
the work force or volunteer your time.
These activities are great because they provide a sense of purpose; they
integrate interaction between people, and they force you to learn new things
which keeps your brain more elastic.
Deciding to re-enter the workforce can be
perplexing. Start networking right
away. Let everyone know you’re
interested in looking for a position. Be
pro-active; register with your local temporary employment agencies. (Do this even if you don’t know a lick about
computers because once you’re registered with an agency, if they’re a really
good agency, they will have free tutorials that will teach you everything you
need to know to be brought up-to-date with software and make you competitive.) Another thing you can do is intern. Internships are a great way to learn a new
trade and a new industry while being digitally brought up-to-date.
Volunteers are needed all the time in the non-profit
sector and in schools, libraries, hospitals, and so forth. If you want to be of service, start asking
around and before you know it, you’ll be right in the thick-of-things.
Challenge yourself to make changes. Get a new look. Set an appointment for a ‘new you’ at the
nearest make-up counter. Make-overs are
usually offered for a nominal price. Get
a new hair cut or color. On a tight
budget? Hunt for deals on Groupon and in
your local papers. Be on the lookout for
grand openings. Check with beauty
colleges and schools for great deals on haircuts, manicures and facials.
Get into shape. YMCA and YWCA offer
different kinds of memberships at different prices pending age and income. Check out your local Parks and Recreation
department for classes. If you’re shy
about working out with others, check out Hulu.com and YouTube.com for on-line
exercise videos you can do at home. You
can also keep track of your progress on-line by joining fitness and weight loss
memberships such as NBC’s Biggest Loser, etc.
Be brave – join groups in your community and attend any “Meetup” which piques your curiosity. Check out what’s going on in your area by
visiting websites which belong to your councilman’s office, your city, bookstores,
libraries, museums, colleges, universities, stores, Senior centers, Moose, Elks, and so
on. Review local papers, Craigslist,
Patch, Groupon, LivingSocial, Eventful, etc. and listen to the radio.
Poetry slams, dances, Tai Chi, tournaments, concerts, art
shows, plays, readings, photography, drum circles, astronomy happenings and so forth
are being offered all the time. Play a
little game of hide-and-go-seek to find out what events are being offered in
your area. (You’ll be surprised at how
many events are free to attend.)
Whether you have to pay or you can attend for free, if
you’re the least bit interested in what’s going on - attend!
Can’t find a friend to go with you?
Too bad! Go anyway. Do something different. Learn something new. You never know what that mini adventure will
lead to! (And just think of how many
eyeballs are going to fly out of their sockets when friends and family ask you
what you did last week.)
The Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging indicates that people
75+ with a Body Mass Index of 27 are much more likely to live longer than those
with a BMI between 19 - 25. One hypothesis suggests that the BMI of 27 could
assist the immune system when fighting colds or infections. Conversely, those
with BMI’s 30+ should bring their weight down under the supervision of their
To keep car engines
clean and degreased there’s a product out there called, “Gunk.” Negative thinking, anxiety, obsession,
compulsion, anger and depression amount to gunk for our brain. Just like a car, your brain needs to be kept
clean and unclogged. So you can start by
tossing ignorance about aging right out the door. And do it with a swift kick, too, because the
sooner you get rid of brain drain – the sooner you get rid of all of that
clogged up junk in your head – the sooner you behold brain power!
In my research for
my book, Aging Gracefully, I found a
bevy of scientific and technological evidence that supports positive longevity
well beyond our 80’s. But what I’ve also
found is that many of us are still hanging on to stale belief systems about
aging, still believing that once we’re in our 50’s, our lives are pretty much
over. That’s ‘stinkin’ thinkin’. So:
“Hogwash!”, to that!
Cars today have a GPS,
(Global Positioning System), to navigate roads to get you where you need to
go. You have a PRS, (Personal Retrieval
System), it’s called your mind, to get you what you need to and more.
Your mind is like a
computer. Computers are designed to
imitate our brains – not the other way around.
Focus your life on what has already been learned and what can be done
with your vast, knowledge base, your Personal Retrieval System. Your accrued knowledge base and life
experience far exceeds that of those from younger generations. So remember that the next time someone tries
intimidating you about your age, about being older than they are. It’ll be the younger generation who are
behind the times with their out dated thinking about aging. And you can take that to the bank!