Have you noticed your memory isn’t what it used to be? You just aren’t as sharp as you once were? I get this feeling every now and then. While there isn’t any formal proof for a poor memory in most people, some studies suggest it could be caused by multi-tasking. Whatever the reason or reasons for memory loss are, I’ve found some tricks to help me stay sharp. In this post, I am going to share with you how to have a better memory with mind games.
A Better Memory With Mind Games Using 6 Tricks
#1. Make Challenges
I love a good challenge and am competitive enough that I can challenge myself to just about anything. Challenging yourself is one great way to achieve a better memory with mind games. How does this work? You simply challenge yourself to try to remember certain things. Before you go running off trying to remember all of the past Super Bowl champions, hear me out.
You want to make the challenges simple. So, next time you run to the grocery store, try to remember what is on your list without looking at it. Don’t do this if your list is 3 pages long, but if you have a couple of things you need to pick up, try your best to remember them without looking.
You could also do this when running errands. Make a list of things you have to do, but try to remember what they are without looking at the list.
You even take this challenge to the next level and drive a different way to work and try to find your way back home going that same way.
As time goes on and you can regularly remember the 3-5 items on your grocery list, add a few more things. But take it slow. Achieving this once is not success. You have to do it many times. You will find when you are rushed or stressed, it will be much harder to remember the items.
#2. Divide Into Chunks
I use this game all of the time. When you have a string of numbers or letters, don’t try to memorize all of them together. That is too hard. Instead, break them up. For example, let’s use a phone number. If the number is 800-435-8495, break it up. First, work on remembering the “435” part. Say it a few times and then add “84” into the mix.
But don’t try to remember “43584”. Try to remember “435” “84”. Once you have this down, add in “95”, again using the same technique as before. When you do this, you go from a long number to just 3 sets of numbers to remember, which is much easier to do.
You can divide most anything into chunks, like license plates, you credit card number, or even your grocery list. You just have to figure out a way to break it down into smaller bite size pieces.
#3. Use Images
A great way to a better memory with mind games is to use images as a crutch. You’ve probably heard this trick for remembering people’s names. If you met Gary on the basketball court, you associate Gary with a basketball. Then when you see Gary, you picture a basketball and the name Gary comes to mind.
As with the previous tip, using images can be used for just about anything. You just have to be creative about it. For example, my wife has a certain brand of cereal she likes. I could never remember it. But I associated the image of her eating it with the name of the cereal. Now I know the name of the cereal without issue.
Images are a powerful force and the more you can visualize in your life, the more successful you will be.
#4. Use Acronyms and Acrostics
What the heck is this? Maybe you know what “My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas” means. Or maybe this is familiar to you: MVEMJSUNP. Both are options for remembering the planets in our solar system. And both work exceptionally well for helping you to remember medium sized pieces of information.
All you have to do is figure out a system to help you remember the things in question. Going back to our grocery list, you could try to turn them into a sentence. Let’s say you needed milk, eggs, beef and bananas. How can we use this trick here?
For starters, you could use MEBB to try to remember everything. For some this might work but for others, it would be tough. I would rather create a sentence. Something like “Milk is related to eggs, but beef and bananas aren’t”.
When I was in high school chemistry class learning the elements, I took “Pb” which is the symbol for lead. I related “Pb” with peanut butter and that with lead. I understand there is no meaningful connection but it helped me to remember the symbol for lead. To this day, when someone says “pb” or I see peanut butter, I think of lead.
You can come up with any phrase you want. Don’t worry if it is proper English or not. When it is personal, there is greater chance you will remember it because it has a personal meaning to you. All that matters is it makes sense to you and it helps you to remember the items on your list.
#5. Play Video Games
You can get a better memory with mind games that are really video games. No I’m not talking about Super Mario Brothers or Mega Man. I am talking about games that make you think. There are many apps for smartphones and tablets that you can download and begin playing. I list my favorites below and break them down by free versus paid.
- Eidetic – This app helps you improve your memory by using things important to you – like loved ones phone numbers and such – as opposed to just playing random games.
- Elevate – This app aims to help you improve your processing, memory, brevity, processing and more through simple-but-mentally stimulating games. Comes in both paid and free versions.
- BrainHQ – This app offers a series of training exercises to work out your eye for detail, your ability to process visual scenes, working memory, practice dividing your attention, improve your cognitive flexibility, improve your reaction times and more. Comes in both paid and free versions.
- Brain Workshop – This game requires you to remember a series of spoken letters accompanied by squares in specific positions on the screen. As new squares and letters pop up, you have to say if they match the previous ones. You can make this game easier or harder and tracks your stats.
- Memory Trainer – This app offers ways to improve your spatial and working memory, focus, and concentration skills. It also lets you track your progress over time.
- Clockwork Brain – Offers various puzzles to help keep you mind sharp. With this app you can work on your attention to detail, memory, and reasoning skills. You can also track your progress over time.
- Brain Fitness – This app uses a series of memory training exercises to increase focus, memory and problem-solving skills. The cost is $4 for the app but there are no monthly costs.
- Lumosity – This app helps you boost your brain muscles, improving memory, speed, problem solving, attention and flexibility. Various subscription plans vary the monthly cost.
- CogniFit Brain Fitness – You can improve cognitive abilities, such as memory and concentration with this app. You take a test (play a game) to find your level and go from there. You can even challenge friends. It is free to start but you need a subscription to keep playing.
- Fit Brains Trainer – Fit Brains aims to improve your mental performance by running you through a series of brain games that get more challenging over time. It is free to start but you need a subscription to keep playing.
#6. Use The Mind Palace
The Mind Palace is a memory technique that has been used since about 500 B.C.E. Today, it has become popular thanks to the BBC’s Sherlock television program. To use this technique, you create a mental image of a palace, house, or even a residential street with multiple addresses. When you need to memorize information, visualize placing it in a specific location within your mental palace.
This technique takes advantage of the brain’s ability to recall visual information. So if you are learning things about cars, you can place the things in the garage of your Mind Palace.
So there are a few ways to a better memory with mind games. If you just take a few minutes to look at things differently, you should be able to figure out a way to remember things. And the more you can remember, even if it is just one or two things, the more you are working out your brain and strengthening it, which will do you good down the road.[Photo Credit: 드림포유]