Posts Tagged With: recall

This Year, Resolve to Work Out Your Brain Too: 10 Healthy Tips


For those making resolutions to hit the gym this year….

You might want to consider working out your brain too.

Here’s why:

If you don’t start now, you won’t have half as many stories to tell your grandchildren.

You simply won’t remember. Seriously.

In Layman’s terms, our memories are kind of like a huge library. If you keep shoving them into the back of the dusty corner, you’ll eventually forget where you put them.

Now, I’m not talking about dementia or Alzheimer’s. This begins happening as soon as your brain reaches maturation. You are not exempt if you are only 40, or even 20.

Childhood memories slowly begin to fade away, and only the significant events remain.  Sure, some item or person may suddenly jolt your memory, but you will be less likely to remember that on your own.


Recognition Vs. Recall

Note: There is a difference between recognition and recall. —-Recognition is the association of a memory with an event or physical object you’ve encountered. So, you might see a baseball glove and suddenly remember how your grandfather took you to a Texas Ranger’s game. Recall is more like a Fill-In-The-Blank. It’s not even multiple choice. You have to remember something, with nothing in front of you to help.


So, what to do about this?

Well, the brain is a muscle, like any part of your body. Time to pump the iron.

If you’re looking to improve your memory, with training techniques, there might be far more indirect brain benefits than you realize:

It will keep you telling those hilarious stories at social events, lower your stress, keep you better organized, stay mentally healthy, more alert, and better grasp concepts.


My 10 Practical Tips:

Yes, I’m hitting you with the diet stuff first. Let’s get it out of the way. Hey, if it makes you feel better, I’m medically allowed to add wine to this list.

  • Get enough sleep.

(Yes it’s that simple. No, we don’t do it.)   Nothing makes for a foggy day like being sleep-deprived. The reverse is true: nothing makes you feel more alive and alert than a full night’s sleep.

  • Carry around a notebook

Whether you’re nostalgic or frustrated, a new parent- creating a book of bedtime stories, or collecting material for your memoir, ALWAYS carry a notebook with you. everywhere. Best advice I can give you.

  • Exercise

Stimulates production of new synapses, essentially new pathways which are applicable to any situation (whereas learning Sudoku might not help except in number-related puzzles). Also, the increased oxygen to the brain= good thing. Trust me. Last but not least, when you work out, (whether cardio or weights) it releases the feel-good chemical endorphins. (see link for targeted work-out tips)

  • Play video games   (for real)

Neuroscientist Yaakov Stern of Columbia University said in an article, “It requires motor control, visual search, working memory, long-term memory, and decision making,”  [also ability to control and switch attention among different tasks.] “People get better on tests of memory, motor speed, visual-spatial skills, and tasks requiring cognitive flexibility.”

  • Stay creative.

Don’t just do busy-work and boring work. Do something everday you love, for you. Writer Charles Bukowski didn’t believe in the “tortured genius.” He believes our motives affect our performance.

  • Laugh

It’s good for the soul. And apparently your memory retention? Also, don’t forget to laugh at yourself! Many memories are embarrassing, but don’t let that stop you. You might find some of them hilarious now, which you swore you’d never speak of again. In fact, tell it to a friend. Laugh until you cry. You never know, it might bring up other pieces of the event, if it happened with a friend.

  • Drink green tea.

Not only is it good for your brain, it actually has 7 other healthy benefits.

  • No More Mean Girls. Make real friends & real memories.

Surround yourself with healthy relationships. Ok fine, we can still watch the movie. I just mean, friends are the ultimate memory booster. They always remember stuff for you, good or bad. They induce those memory recall situations. Not to mention, people are the most important memories.

  • Try meditation, reading an old book, visiting where you grew up, yoga,  crosswords & Sudoku, using Mnemonic devices, active listening to radio news, trivia games, or (my favorite) photo albums.

I’d love to know:

What proven method did I leave out?

What unconventional method works for you?

What’s your strongest memory?

What triggers your flashbacks?

Categories: Life Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Earliest Memory

Okay, I figured I’m gonna induce flashbacks and make you recall your earliest memories, I should be willing to do the same.

So here it is. Confessions of a fat kid.

Scribbled in mom’s handwriting:
January 1992
“about 9 1/2 – 10mo.”

Our family moved to Texas on my 3rd birthday. Apparently I got car-sick and chucked up my birthday cake all over my grandmother’s velvet back seat.

Happy freakin birthday to me. and Mimi. Sorry about that. If it’s any consolation you don’t have to worry, I don’t get motion sick now. You can stop reminding me of this occurrence every time I ride with you.

I don’t remember very much about when I lived in St. Louis.
Hardly anything, if I was honest. Just snapshots. Quick flashes in my memory.

I remember,  the curtains on the window next to my crib were  a pattern of red, blue, and green airplanes.

I remember the ice cream man. The back deck. The swing-set. The “woods” behind our house.


The treasure. Priceless.

The first vivid one?

I remember finding where mom stashed the Whoppers.

I had seen her put them up once. Lewis & Clark “aint got nothin on me.” Adventurer from birth. I slyly pretended to go down for a nap, waited ’til she was gone and escaped, climbed on top of the toilet seat, opened the sink cabinet, reached for the treasure, and plunged my hand to the bottom of the bucket. I then happily plopped myself down on the stairs and ate them triumphantly, while waiting for my mother to walk by.

I’m sure it would’ve been hard not to laugh,  seeing me cradling a pound carton of chocolate, half of it now in my stomach, with a huge grin.  I don’t remember what happened when she did find me, but…. seriously who keeps stashed candy in the bathroom??! That was obviously a rookie mistake which deserved to be outwitted.

Categories: Life Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment