Memory Improvement

Remember the good stuff, not the bad

Today’s tip: easy memory improvement plus easy mood improvement. And a nice photo of the day as a reward for reading to the end!

How often do we remember the “bad” stuff that happens: the person who drove aggressively and scared us, realizing we were overcharged for something we bought, or the unkind word someone said? Even people who complain they can’t remember well seem to be able to relate story after story about the negative things of the world.

How often do we remember that amazing sunset from a few night ago, the first fireflies of summer (if you’ve heard one of my memory presentations you probably remember “The fireflies?!” story), the feel of a loved one’s hand in ours, or the person who held the door open for us? These “good” memories are often gone all too soon.

Why?

The stories we tell affect us because we’re reviewing and reinforcing our memories. Tell the story about that &#($(&$ driver on the highway enough times (even two times might do it!) and it sticks in you mind.

Do we give the same time (or even better - more time) to the good stories? Do we rush into the office and breathlessly tell our colleagues about the hawk we saw sitting along the highway, its feathers ago in the morning sun?
No. Instead we mention how horrible the traffic was AGAIN, the crazy thing our spouse did that we disliked, or something equally “awful.”

Consider making a conscious choice to tell a story or review in your mind something positive. Reinforce the good stuff, not the bad. Your memory — and mood — will thank you.

While you’re reminding yourself of something positive, think about what else you want to remember from today or yesterday: someone’s name or the work conversation (even if it doesn’t have a deadline or an important to-do involved it pays to remember conversations with clients, managers, and colleagues). That review will tell your mind, “This is important — pay attention and store this information.”

Need more memory hacks? My latest book is full of them — much more in depth than the above but still quick, easy, and fun to read and to put into practice.

Thanks for reading. Here’s your reward - a photo of Mr. Cardinal in the rain.

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The Longest Day - Alzheimer's Association

The sign at a local business. (I grabbed the shot quickly as I was in a hurry to set up my table - if anyone knows which shop this was please let me know so I can add that detail here!)

The sign at a local business. (I grabbed the shot quickly as I was in a hurry to set up my table - if anyone knows which shop this was please let me know so I can add that detail here!)

Gather hosted us , for yoga, the book signing, and the seminar. What a cool day for a great cause.

Gather hosted us , for yoga, the book signing, and the seminar. What a cool day for a great cause.

On Friday, June 21 I had the pleasure of participating in an event in my hometown for The Longest Day.

This is a day that - worldwide - the Alzheimer’s Association uses to raise money for Alzheimer’s and Dementia research, to raise awareness of this disease, support and offer solutions for care givers and families, and to encourage brain health.

The overall takeaways for me were:

  1. Do everything you can to keep your body and brain healthy NOW.

  2. If you’re concerned about yourself or a loved one, get to a doctor for an assessment and discussion. Don’t wait.

  3. The Alzheimer’s Association can help point you in the right direction. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them on their 24/7 helpline: 800-272-3900 and/or visit their website: https://alz.org/

Sometimes I can’t believe I’m managed to write three best-selling memory books!

Sometimes I can’t believe I’m managed to write three best-selling memory books!

I had a fun book signing, speaking with people about memory improvement and how to exercise their minds. A portion of each book sold went to the Alzheimer’s Association (and was generously matched by the local organizers of our event, Breanna and Reid Lundy).

Throughout the day there were other businesses participating (click each name to visit):

Demonstrating how memory works with a hack for remembering your grocery list - an easy way to exercise your memory on a regular basis.

Demonstrating how memory works with a hack for remembering your grocery list - an easy way to exercise your memory on a regular basis.

The book signing and later seminar were held at Gather, where there were also two free yoga classes by Haley.

At the seminar we heard from:

Erika Sellar Ryan talking about the legal considerations before and after the diagnosis.

Erika Sellar Ryan talking about the legal considerations before and after the diagnosis.

Heather O’Connor discussing the value of early dementia assessment.

Heather O’Connor discussing the value of early dementia assessment.

My short presentation focused on maintaining and improving memory health at any age. I showed people a few memory hacks from my latest book, Mastering Memory: 75 Memory Hacks for Success in School, Work, and Life.

Everyone seemed to have a great time and learned a lot from all the speakers. I never realized how much local help was available; be sure to check your local area for community resources if you need help for yourself or a loved one!

Many thanks to all the businesses, speakers, attendees, and especially Breanna Lundy and her team for handling all the organizing to bring us together!

Discussing the differences between typical age-related memory changes and the warning signs of Alzheimer’s/dementia.

Discussing the differences between typical age-related memory changes and the warning signs of Alzheimer’s/dementia.



Interview on the podcast "Yak About Today - A Boomer's GPS Guide to Life"

I had another wonderful discussion about memory with David Yakir, the host of the podcast “Yak About Today.” David is a wonderful interviewer and this short conversation is worth a listen. We discuss memory improvement (of course) and I offer several tips from my new book, Mastering Memory: 75 Memory Hacks for Success in School, Work, and Life.

The podcast interview is great for anyone but if you happen to be a baby boomer I encourage you to subscribe to his podcast. He has great guests, keeps things moving, and is fun to listen to! Click below to listen to the interview.


Reviews are in for Mastering Memory

The reviews are starting to come in and people seem to love my new book, Mastering Memory: 75 Memory Hacks for Success In School, Work, and Life. As an author I realize not everyone will love a book but it’s very gratifying to read these. Here is a screenshot of the Amazon review page:

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Do you have trouble with remembering certain things (or everything)? Whether it’s my book or someone else’s I encourage you to do a tiny bit of work to improve your memory abilities. Life is too short to struggle with the embarrassment and unhappiness that forgetfulness brings! Remember better is possible for everyone and you may find - like many of my coaching clients - that it can be fun and enjoyable!

Engage your mind: learn new things

One of easiest ways to improve your memory is to learn new things that challenge your mind. Did I say easiest? Many people would argue that the hardest thing to do when our minds are struggling is to push them harder! But I look at it like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or going for a walk every day: we gently push our bodies to help maintain our physical health.

To prevent burnout or a feeling of dread when it’s time to do your “mind work,” pick an activity you enjoy, ideally one with a near-term payoff. Here are a few ideas:

  • learn five new foreign language words per day. This works especially well with a language that means something to you: one a neighbor or colleague speaks or someplace you might visit one day (sooner is better to help with motivation)

  • learn to play a musical instrument

  • learn the rules to a new game (chess, Go, etc.) or sport (can anyone explain Cricket to me?!?). If you have children in your life, learn the rules to their favorite sport or game (anyone else know a child who is obsessed with Minecraft?!)

  • learn how to personalize your smart phone or organize your email inbox

  • learn how to operate your fancy camera, including all the manual options

  • learn anything that appeals to you, from finally actually finishing Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time to mastering 5th grade math to help your child or grand child.

What do all these have in common? The word learn. Learning is something many of us dread. Once we finish school, we’re done. Why? Many have a bad experience in school. Some of us don’t learn well by reading. Sometimes it just feels like too much effort… much like walking up one or two flights of stairs instead of waiting for the elevator.

Today, though, we don’t have to suffer through classes or subjects that don’t interest us. Start learning something and realize you have no interest in it? No problem! Dump it… but pick up something that does interest you.

If you don’t know how - that’s easily fixed. Whether it’s my book about how to remember the new thing you’re learning (Mastering Memory: 75 Memory Hacks for Success in School, Work, and Life) or someone else’s, a Youtube video about how to remember (which works well if you learn better from watching an explanation instead of reading), there really isn’t a good excuse.

Get with it. Start small and don’t forget to choose an activity, subject, language, or hobby that interests you - that’s the key. It’s much easier to learn and remember things we are passionate about!

I practice what I preach. In addition to the memory training I do most days as a memory athlete, I’m slowly learning how to take photos with my Sony A6000 camera. Photography is a passion of mine, I’ve had the camera for a few years, and it’s time to learn how to handle it better. Below are some of my recent photos and I’ll be posting more off and on.

Join me in staying (or getting) mentally fit. If you’re brave, post what you’re interested in learning below.


Helping Hand in the Rain

Helping Hand in the Rain

Hay Deer at Dawn

Hay Deer at Dawn