If you think you need to improve your memory, you're not alone.
At work or school - where deadlines often come fast and furiously - it's little wonder that our concentration is stretched to the limit.
Bottom line, the best way to improve your memory is ...eliminate stress and distractions.
Easier said than done, of course, but by setting controls on your time it's almost guaranteed to improve your memory and ability to focus.
Proper eating habits, exercise, and plenty of sleep are also important for feeding your brain with oxygen and nutrients to work at optimum capacity.
From there, you can add to your arsenal with traditional self-help tricks and mind games for improving memory:
1. Always forget your bank account number? Say it's 911502001.
Sounds silly, but separating the numbers data into bite-sized chunks really helps. Try "emergency number, US states, sci-fi epic." 911-50-2001.
2. Quick. How many days are there in May? Remember "30 days hath September"? Invent your own rhymes or funny sayings for recalling facts, information, names, or lists.
(I always habitually forgot how to spell the word rhythm. Then someone taught me the wacky but useful abbreviation - "Rhythm Has Your Tiny Hands Moving".)
3. If you have trouble remembering names of new people you meet try repeating their name immediately by saying, "Nice to meet you, Michelle".
Clinical studies have found that you have a marked increase in recalling a name if you repeat it right away.
Here's another name remembering trick: immediately picture Michelle at the beach with a sea shell on her head. If you are introduced to a Robert or Rob, imagine him stealing money from a bank. (Of course, they will be grateful for you having remembered their names - just don't reveal how you did it.)
4. If you can imagine it, you can remember it. If you need several items from the supermarket, take a minute to "see" yourself traveling the aisles as you find each item. The narrative you've created will help you remember everything on your mental list once you get there.
5. Get enough sleep. Sleep is important for healing the body and clearing the mind so you can take on the world the next day. Remembering where you left your keys in the morning is really pushing the limit when you're tired from lack of sleep.
6. Avoid too much alcohol. The reason you often can't recall events after a night of bingeing? Alcohol abuse has a negative effect on the cells of the brain related to memory.
7. Take your vitamins. The B vitamins, especially B6, B12, and folic acid, are known to boost the nervous system and increase alertness.
8. Exercise! It's true. Physical activity naturally helps thought processes by bringing more oxygen to the body and brain. If you have ever tried to clear your head by taking a brisk walk around the block you'll know why exercise is important to improving memory and creativity.