Everyday Memory Boosters

Everyday Memory Boosters

Train yourself to get a better memory with these unique tips you can use at any age.



Forgot to pick something up at the supermarket? Run into your child’s teacher — who you just met yesterday — and already forgot her name? Don’t fret! Whether you are young or old, experts say you can improve your memory through practice.

"It is not true that some people simply have a poor memory and can't improve it," says author Harry Lorayne.

"You have to learn how to use your memory," says Lorayne. "All memory is based on the subconscious 'reminder principle'; anything new must connect to something we already know." From remembering names and faces to recalling a list of errands, try the techniques below.

Apply the "Slap in the Face" Principle
"The things we tend to forget are the mundane, everyday things," Lorayne explains. "It's the unusual and strange we remember." According to Lorayne, when the Greek philosopher Aristotle made a statement he considered very important, he would slap his student in the face. Lorayne adapted this technique into what he calls his "slap in the face" principle.

For example, suppose you have three errands to run. You need to return a library book, buy a carton of eggs and get dog food. Give yourself a mental "slap in the face" by creating and associating zany and ridiculous mental pictures with the things you need to remember. For example, picture yourself opening the book and many eggs flying out and hitting you in the face. Next, picture a giant egg walking a dog. The absurdity will help you remember your errands.

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Remembering People's Names
"Names and faces are the most difficult because they are abstractions," he explains. "You have to make one thing remind you of something else."

The following is Lorayne's system for remembering people's names:

  1. Pay attention — make sure you hear the name.
  2. Try to spell the name aloud to the person.
  3. Make a remark about the name. For example, "Oh, is that French?"
  4. Use the name in your initial conversation whenever you can.
  5. Use the name when you say "good-bye."

Practice these techniques and you'll be on your way to a stronger, better memory.

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