Cures for absent mindedness

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It is no longer necessary to accept loss of memory or a poor memory as an inevitable part of growing older. Absent mindedness is caused by a lessening of interest in humdrum activities like making and keeping appointments, performing daily rituals and keeping track of affairs and possessions. It can happen to anybody, at any age.

The good news is that there are simple techniques you can use to sharpen your memory and remember where you put things, people’s names even errands you have to run.

Where did i put that

You’ll never misplace anything again if you clearly focus on the present for the moment it takes to set something down or put it away.

Do this by creating a picture in your mind that connects the object to its new home in a silly or absurd way. It’s the outlandishness of what you imagine that makes it interesting to your mind, which in turn makes you aware.

Example: On your way to mail a letter before the post office closes, you mindlessly toss your reading glasses on top of the TV. When you get back home, you can’t remember where you put your glasses.

Better way: At the moment you put your glasses down on the TV, form a cockeyed mental picture. For instance, imagine the TV antenna poking through the lens of the glasses and into your eye. When you need your glasses, you’ll automatically recall the unusual image, shudder and quickly retrieve them.

Why it works: This mind-jogging system, and others like it, cures absentmindedness and forgetfulness by grabbing the mind by the “scruff of its neck” forcing it to pay attention for a split second.

The reminder principle: Such memory games exercise your mind the way walking exercises your body. You become more creative and imaginative while simultaneously improving your memory. Some other mind-jogging techniques

Did i turn off the

Last week, as you headed down the sidewalk, you couldn’t remember if you’d turned off the stove. The week before, it was the iron. Tonight, you’re lying in bed wondering if you remembered to set the alarm.

Memory joggers: To be sure later that you’ve actually done these things, visualize a silly picture in your mind as you do them.

Example: As you unplug the iron, imagine that you’re pulling your iron-shaped head out of the electrical socket. As you set the alarm in the evening, imagine that the button is piercing your finger or that you’re using the clock radio to sleep on instead of a pillow.

Later, when you begin to wonder if you’ve remembered to do these ordinary, mundane tasks, the extraordinary images that come to mind will assure you that they have been taken care of.

And don’t worry your mind won’t incorrectly “remember” that you’ve done these things, even if you use the same silly image each day. “True memory” will ensure that you remember the truth about what you have and haven’t done.

What’s his name

An easy way to remember names is to think of familiar words that sound like the name you’re trying to remember. You have probably heard about all this before. But it really works. Try it

When you’re introduced to a person, really listen to his/her name.

If you don’t hear it the first time, ask to have it repeated. That will not only help you remember the name, it will also make the person feel good and let them know that you care about meeting him/her.

To remember a person’s name, use your imagination. What does the name sound like?

What does it remind you of?

It’s best to come up with your own words or mental picture, since your originally created image is more likely to remind you of the person’s name than would an image or word suggested by someone else.

Example: The name “Dr. Carruthers” sounds like “car udders.” One way to remember this person’s name, then, would be to imagine a car with udders.

His face is familiar, but

Now take your mental picture to the next step. Look again at Dr. Carruthers’s face. Which of his features jumps out at you? Does he have a high forehead? An unruly mop of hair? Crooked or capped teeth?

Whatever feature seems most prominent to you today is likely to stand out for you in the future. Once you’ve identified Dr. Carruthers’s dominant feature, connect it to your substitute words in this case, “car udders,” and your mental picture of a car being milked.

Example: You might picture Dr. Carruthers’s long white sideburns being cars (or having cars driving out of them) and picture the udders on the car. To remember Carruthers is a doctor, picture stethoscopes attached to those udders. Now you’ve connected Dr. Carruthers’s name to his face in a way you’re not likely to forget! You’ve forced yourself to listen to the name and really look at the face and one will remind you of the other.

First the dentist, then

Let’s say you have a bunch of errands to run. Instead of writing them down and bypassing your memory altogether (and possibly forgetting the list), link them to each other in this silly way.

Example: You have to see the dentist, mail a letter, pick up a gallon of milk and stop to get new tires for your car. One possible way to link these errands together would be to imagine the dentist pulling stamped envelopes out of your mouth. You’re pouring millions of stamped envelopes out of a milk carton instead of milk a car is drinking milk out of a gigantic milk carton or a gigantic milk carton is driving a car.

Replay these silly pictures in your mind. Then, as you leave the dentist’s office, replay them again. Almost without effort, you’ll remember each and every one of your errands because one must remind you of the other.

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