April 13, 2024

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Seven tips from a Harvard neuroscientist to keep your memory sharp

Seven tips from a Harvard neuroscientist to keep your memory sharp

Aging is associated with a series of naturally occurring physical and psychological changes that are common to almost everyone, such as wrinkles or losing the ability to practice certain sports as you approach old age. Although it seems impossible to avoid, lifestyle and how we take care of our health can have a huge impact How do we reach long lives?.

One aspect to keep in mind as we grow is memory. It may be normal that little by little we find it difficult to remember more and more detailed things, but sometimes this can be alleviated if we do exercises or practices that enhance the ability to remember.

Lisa GenovaNeuroscientist and author of the New York Times bestseller Remember: The Science of Memory and the Art of Forgetting. Over 20 years of experience in memory-related issues As she tells CNBC Make It, she has seven tricks or practices she uses to keep her memory flexible and deal with how the passage of time affects this brain ability. We tell you about them below:

  1. 1

    Imagine

  2. 2

    Use your imagination

  3. 3

    Modify or adapt

  4. 4

    Look for drama

  5. 5

    Practice

  6. 6

    Use recovery signals

  7. 7

    Make your memory external

Imagine

By creating a mental image and visualizing something you want to remember in the brain, you're adding neural connections: “You're deepening the connections, making the formation of that memory more solid, so that you'll be better able to remember it later.” says Genova.

The teacher advises that, for example, if we want to remember something we write, we can try writing it in capital letters, highlighting it with a colored marker or circling it, because adding something graphic and visual will make it easier to visualize it in your mind.

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Use your imagination

The neuroscience expert confirms that those who have a good memory also have the best imagination. “To help make the memory more memorable, use creative images. Go beyond the obvious and add weird, surprising, vivid, funny, physically impossible, and interactive elements to what you're trying to remember, and it will stick with you.

Modify or adapt

Make the memory associate with something special by personalizing the item. This is recommended because we often remember things about ourselves or something we have done more than we remember another person or thing. “Tie it to your personal history and opinions and it will strengthen your memory,” Genova says.

Look for drama

It's not about being pointlessly dramatic and towards negativity. What the neuroscientist means is that the more emotion there is in an experience, the better we remember it. This explains why we tend to remember important moments more easily such as births, deaths, weddings, successes or humiliations, among others.

“Excitement and surprise activate your amygdala, which then sends a loud and clear message to your hippocampus: ‘Hey! What is happening now is very important. Remember this!'' says the expert.

Practice

Practicing and repeating something makes memories stronger. “Muscle memories become stronger and are retrieved more efficiently the more you practice a skill. Because these memories tell the body what to do, your body gets better at performing these physical tasks with practice.”

Use recovery signals

Recovery cues are specific elements that help us remember something, such as a particular smell that we associate with something or a specific time of day. As Genova points out, “The right reference can trigger a memory of something you haven't thought about in decades.”

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Make your memory external

Trying to keep everything in mind can be stressful, as there are people with so many things to keep an eye on. That's why receiving help and externalizing our memories is such a positive thing, even though it may seem like we're “cheating” for the sake of it. Therefore, you can use helpful tools such as lists, calendars with notes, sticky notes, or pill boxes. “Our brains are not designed to remember to do things later. “Write it down,” says the neuroscientist.

In addition, take the opportunity to remember some important habits that can help us preserve your memory. There are two keys: avoid stress and get enough sleep.