Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Building a better memory

Wired News: The Masters of Memory Lane
Hagwood said he wasn't born with an outstanding ability to memorize, and claims anyone can learn the skill. There are specific techniques that mnemonic masters use -- such as associating images with each number and suit when memorizing card positions -- but in general it all comes down to keeping your brain synapses in good working order.

To do that, Hagwood, who gives seminars on how to improve memory skills, advises people to use their non-dominant hand in daily chores, do crosswords and puzzles, play chess, take a different route on your daily commute, learn to tango, play an instrument and speak another language.

No matter how challenging your job is, it isn't demanding enough. Brains thrive on constant challenge, so presenting them with the same activities that they already excel at doesn't keep the gray matter in top shape. You can, however, substitute the waltz for tango lessons -- just ensure that you have a good balance of fresh thinking and activities built into your life.

I have wondered, is my deteriorating memory merely middle aged senescence, or has heavy use of PIMs, PDAs, and other data management systems accelerated the atrophy? Hmmmm.

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