1 “I keep misplacing my car keys or mobile phone”
Often we misplace personal possessions because we’re focused on something else when we set them down – we often have too many things going on in our lives, and our brains.
Memory Booster: Have set locations where you keep items you use all the time – such
as a hook for your car keys or a special spot on the bench for your mobile phone.
2 “I suddenly forget my mobile phone or bank account number”
“Going suddenly blank like this usually happens because people are focused on many things at once rather than one thing at a time,” says neuroscientist, Dr Maree Farrow, from the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre at the University of Tasmania.
Memory Booster: Use a technique called ‘chunking’; divide numbers into pairs and link those pairs with a memory ‘hook’ – for example, the numbers 99 might be linked to 99 from Get Smart.
3 “I have trouble concentrating when I read”
Going over the same paragraph three times (or more) can be very frustrating, but don’t worry too much. “Stress, distractions and worries are the most common reasons we can’t concentrate fully on a task like reading a book,” explains clinical neuropsychologist Professor Sharon Naismith, who heads the Healthy Brain Ageing Program, at
the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre.
Memory Booster: Read mindfully. Consciously try to switch off brain chatter about shopping lists and bills and focus. Slow down the speed at which you read and savour each word.
4 “I can’t remember if I locked the front door”
“In most people this is simply an issue of inattention and not being mindful in that moment,” Farrow says.
Memory Booster :When leaving the house, say “I’m switching off the heater” or “I’m turning off the iron” – vocalising what you are doing encourages your brain to pay extra attention.
5 “I forget why I went into another room”
We’ve all had this annoying experience along with ‘oops’ moments such as waiting on the phone and forgetting who it was you just called. “This is usually a sign of a busy mind,” Farrow explains. Try to focus on one thing at a time.
Memory Booster: Relax and slow your breathing when you find yourself forgetting things like this. “When you’re stressed and rushing all the time, you can be in constant ‘fight or flight’ mode where your brain releases chemicals such as cortisol and adrenalin which, can interfere with concentration and brain function,” Farrow says.