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How to stop forgetting and improve your memory

Memory lapses are the natural byproduct of contemporary life, filled as it is with frantic pacing and seemingly endless demands — from your spouse, your boss, your kids — even the family dog has expectations of your time and attention.

Looking at a map standing at car

Masterfile

Memory lapses are the natural byproduct of contemporary life, filled as it is with frantic pacing and seemingly endless demands — from your spouse, your boss, your kids — even the family dog has expectations of your time and attention. No wonder you forget to pick up the dry cleaning or return your library books.

Distraction isn’t the only issue — anyone over the age of 45 can attest to forgetting names and appointments on a regular basis. For women, menopause is often associated with memory loss. For many of us, note-taking and list-making offer both partial remedy and relief. Though neither activity represents a cure, they can deliver a reprieve.

According to a recent article at TheDoctorWillSeeYouNow, research suggests that there are steps you can take to improve on the forgetfulness that can produce consequences ranging from the merely annoying to, in the case of high-stakes professionals, the catastrophic.   

Writer Neil Wagner recommends a number of practical suggestions designed to enhance remembering, starting with specificity — no more vague commitments. Setting aside a particular time to perform a task tends to better imprint it in our memory archives. He suggests employing external aids as helpers — writing things down, for example, or maintaining a procedural checklist — and focusing on one task at a time rather than on multiple endeavours.

Of course, postponement is the true facilitator of forgetfulness. If you don’t want to run the risk of not remembering then don’t procrastinate. You can’t forget what has already been successfully enacted.  Ultimately, too, you have to want to remember what it is that you always forget. If your husband keeps “forgetting” to pick up those ballet tickets while exhibiting no such lapse of memory when it comes to his hockey tickets then perhaps it’s time to remember something important that you may have forgotten — memory can sometimes be a function of convenience.

Get seven tips to boost your memory and improve your brain health.