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Steel trap memory no matter what your age - our tips show the way

By Derek Clontz -   Dec 07, 2006

Just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean you can’t hold on to your memory and stop misplacing your car keys and forgetting what you went to the grocery store for.

“You really can stay sharp and remember all the important details in your life for as long as you live,” Dr. Donna Schwontkowski, author of Million Dollar Memory for Names and Faces, tells the Herald-Guide.

“Exercising your brain helps. So, too, do other simple techniques, such as repeating important information and taking and keeping notes.”

Here, from our expert, is more:

1. Believe in your ability to stay vibrant and mentally active even as you age.

Thinking your memory will fail as you get older will cause it to fail - studies prove it. Be positive.

2. Take advantage of calendars and planners, maps, shopping lists and address books.

Also: always put your glasses, keys, and other items you use frequently in the same place. That way you free your mind to remember other things without overloading the “circuits.”

3. Use your nose to enhance your ability to remember.

Odors and fragrances are well-known for conjuring memories from the distant past - think cookies at Christmas when you were a child. When you have something important to remember, try to associate it with a smell.

4. Exercise your mind.

Read silently and aloud, draw pictures, or jot down the information you want to remember in detail.

5. Repeat the information you want to remember.

“Three repetitions seems to work like a charm,” Schwontkowski says. “Introduced to a woman named Donna? Repeat her name in your mind three times.”

6. Challenge yourself with activities and pursuits that require concentration and focus.

Crossword puzzles like the Herald-Guide’s SuperX Puzzler in our Lifestyles section is are a great challenge. Hobbies and even cooking can help, especially if the recipes are complicated.

7. Get back in school.

Continuing education will exercise your brain and enhance your memory.


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