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Wednesday March 4, 2015

IUGM'S COLUMN Memory - Part 2

In our last issue, we covered some of the ways to keep our memory in good shape:   

  • Take the time…  
  • Pay attention!
  • Making associations
  • Training your memory
  • Looking for something? Use some reference points
Here are some more tips to help you keep a good memory.

Make the maximum of your daily planner!

Do you sometimes write down incomplete notes in your daily planner or calendar? For example, do you forget to write the location of a meeting? Are you trying to decipher the meaning of one of your written notes?  When using a daily planner, or a calendar; take care to write down all relevant information – it will make it a lot easier down the line! Use the “3 Ws”: Who you are meeting, Where the meeting will take place, and When you will meet the person (time of your appointment). 

Organization tips for your daily planner

  • Choose a smaller-sized book that you’ll be able to carry with you. Prefer a clean planner, in which days are separated in three sections (morning, afternoon, evening).
  • Customize your planner. Add sections as needed, or stick memos to it. Include all useful information: phone numbers, errands to run, important personal information, bills to pay, etc. You don’t have to think of everything by memory alone!  
  • Develop the habit of looking at your planner regularly. If you are not used to looking at it spontaneously, do so with a regular activity – such as having breakfast or before dinner.  
  • Write down what you wish to remember. Don’t worry – this method will not weaken your memory! Quite the opposite, in fact; writing it down will increase your attention, and therefore your chances of better retaining the information.  

Use different organization tools

Using different organization tools can make your life easier since they help you better manage your daily activities. Choose the best tool to suit your lifestyle. A small black board in a strategic location (such as near the phone, or in the kitchen) will allow you to write down phone calls and items to purchase. Also, calendar notes or papers on the refrigerator are also useful... but you have to use them! Choose a single place to put away your keys, your wallet, your glasses and other frequently-used items. Try to avoid changing their location as much as possible. 

Apply healthy life habits to maximize your brain’s health 
  • Regular physical exercise brings many benefits on attention capabilities and on overall memory.
  • Healthy eating habits, as instructed in the Canadian Food Guide, play also a critical role on your memory and attention capabilities.  
  • In contrast, the lack of sleep, excessive alcohol consumption and certain medications may have adverse effects on your intellectual abilities.   
  • Depression, stress and overall fatigue also have an adverse effect on your cognitive abilities.
  • High blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, tobacco use and being overweight may also negatively impact your brain.  
By being more aware of your current life habits, you will be better able to apply changes to improve your overall health.  

Be active!

Choose cultural & social activities that pose a challenge; take a language course, a dancing class, or learn how to browse the internet.

In a nutshell...

Remember that you don’t automatically lose your intellectual capabilities as you get older – some of these capabilities just become a little bit more challenging to maintain. Accepting that your abilities are not perfect is a good start. Better yet, being aware of your difficulties (Am I easily distracted? Do I forget things?) will help you manage them better. Keep a positive attitude and have trust in yourself! Do you still have concerns? Are you having more difficulty, with increasing frequency? Did your friends and family notice some changes? In such cases, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor; he will be able to answer your questions.

Getting older also has its benefits!

Your judgement is more developed; you have better wisdom and are more easily able to establish priorities. In addition, you have more time for your favourite activities. Your knowledge also increases with every year that passes and you continue to excel in your fields of experience, whether it’s swimming, music, gardening, bridge or anything else! All this, and you also remember your oldest memories clearly.  

A question of attitude

Keeping a good attitude, socializing, feeling useful, having projects to look forward to, and giving yourself the means of keeping control over you own life – these are the factors that will prove to be beneficial for your intellectual capabilities.

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