Two-time USA Memory Champion, memory training expert, and memory keynote Ron White shares his thoughts on how to improve your memory.

Wouldn’t it be great if you wake up one morning and find you have a photographic memory? You can recall where you put everything, every word your boss told you, and never forgot your spouse’s birthday again. Who wouldn’t!! Unfortunately few people can do that, so the next best thing to do is to find memory techniques that will get you as close to genius as possible.

Whether you are aiming to become the USA Memory Champion, or simply trying to remember the little things that seem to slip through your memory cracks, what we have here is a good start to get you going.

1. Think Positive! Maybe your memory isn’t what it used to be, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be. There is truth to the “Power of Positive Thinking” attitude. Take every little achievement as motivation to keep going.

2. Do Brain Exercises. As we age our neurotransmitters also age and die off. By regular brain exercise you can develop new connections that will keep your mind clicking on all cylinders. These exercises could include learning a new language, playing a musical instrument, or doing puzzles and word games like “sudoku.” Keep your brain active by providing it with fun challenges.

3. Regular Aerobic Exercises. When your blood circulates properly throughout your body it also circulates through your brain, providing it with sufficient oxygen to improve your memory.

4. De-stress. When you are under stress you have a hard time thinking clearly. Under prolong periods of stress your hypothalamus tells your pituitary gland to release hormones that can weaken the memory center to your brain (hippocampus).  Learn meditation and deep breathing exercises to help you relax.

5. Get Proper Nutrition.  A healthy diet leads to a healthy brain. A diet rich in “brain foods” like Omega 3 fatty acid, (fish oil), and antioxidants (broccoli, blueberries, spinach, and berries) promote healthy brain function. Eating 5-6 small meals a day (grazing) instead of 3 large ones seems to improve your memory by leveling your sugar. And, if you are not certain you are getting the right vitamins, take supplements like Thiamine, Vitamin E, Niacin and Vitamin B-6 for improved brain function.

6. Practice Remembering Names and Faces. Get out old photo albums and try to concentrate on the people you grew up with, and family members who may have passed on. This will click some memories in your brain of happier times, and happy is a good way to open up your brain as well as bring back old memories. Look carefully at the photos and try to bring back details. Remembering names and faces is a great memory improvement exercise. We tend to forget more because we were observant to start with.

7. Focus. Forming a memory is much more difficult if you are distracted. Force yourself to center on what you are trying to remember and eliminate what is going on around you.

8. Practice Mnemonics. Human beings are visual, and we associate pictures with words. “You remember information more easily if you can visualize it. If you want to associate a child with a book, try not to visualize the child reading the book – that’s too simple and forgettable. Instead, come up with something more jarring, something that sticks, like the book chasing the child, or the child eating the book. It’s your mind – make the images as shocking and emotional as possible to keep the associations strong.”

9. Repeat. When you want to remember something you need to repeat it or write it down. The more you repeat, the more you’ll remember.

10. Group Things Together. It’s easier to remember things when you put them into groups. Example: When you make a grocery list, group all the vegetables together; the dairy; etc. – group things according to where they are located in the store. It’s much easier to remember what you are looking for this way than if you just have a random list.

11. Get Organized. “A place for everything and everything in its place,” is a common phrase. The more organized you are the easier it will be to find things, and the better able you are to concentrate on more important things.

13. Get Plenty of Sleep. According to studies conducted at Harvard Medical School, “Getting a good night’s sleep – a minimum of seven hours a night – may improve your short-term memory and long-term relational memory.” The amount of sleep we get affects the brain’s memorizing ability.

14. Learn Memory Training. Take memory training seminars or memory training workshops that will help with memory techniques to keep you mentally alert for years to come.


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