365 Cool Ways to Remember Stuff is a great book of tips and rhymes to help remember spelling, punctuation, maths, science and history. How many days are there each month, what are the names of planets in the solar system and what’s the difference between a noun and a verb? Improving your memory may sound boring, but if you can remember things, it can make life easier (you’ll remember where your keys are for a start!) It can also help you pass exams.
Most of us start losing our memory from childhood, especially with information overload and media, which jumbles everything up. Patients with dementia forget everything, but not their favourite music. As visual learners, we tend to remember faces over names (but there is a condition where people never remember, so no matter how many times they meet you – it’s always the first time!)
Lack of sleep, stress and depression can also play havoc with our memories, and others block out painful and traumatic events as a way to cope (not always a bad thing). Meditation is good for boosting your memory (and the good news is if you’re left-handed, apparently you have a naturally better memory!)
Mozart (a child genius age 14) perfectly transcribed a piece performed in the Sistine Chapel by Gregorio Allegri. Though it had never been written down.
tips to improve your memory
- Drink water (if not, your brain shrinks!)
- Eat good nutritious food and less sugar!
- Talk, listen and do quizzes
- Take regular exercise, for brain oxygen
- Too much alcohol kills off your brain cells
- Same with watching junk TV!
- Sleep more!
- Get outside in nature (vitamin D: good for brain!)
which animals have the best memories?
- Elephants don’t have good eyesight, but they remember your smell, and this is why they remember you (matriachs have to remember water holes for the herd, in times of drought).
- Dolphins have been known to recognise each other after 20 years (whales also recognise ships, good to know which ones to avoid that hunt them).
- Octopuses are ‘intelligent aliens’ who remember fishermen who catch crabs (so they can steala them for their own dinner!) In Egypt, a family put a dying octopus back in the water – the next day, it remembered them and followed them around in the water for over an hour!
- Goldfish do have memories of up to 3 months or longer (which is why they suffer in small tanks or bowls). If they are the right species, ask your local chip shop or hotel with a big tank to take them, if you have no space or money to care for them adequately). Remember you have to put them in the water from a bag in their own water first to adjust temperatures (or they’ll die of shock – anyone looking after a large fish tank will know this). Large tanks often have hidey-holes and more ‘things to do’ than swimming around and around.
- Some animals (though intelligent) have terrible memories. Ostriches apparently have no idea why (or where) they are running to. And snakes are not born with built-in memories. So even if a pet snake sort of knows you look after him – he doesn’t really know who you are – nor care!