Improve your memory with these five tips

Here are five great ways to improve your power of retention.

Five best ways to improve memory

There’s an old saying that goes ‘memories make life meaningful’. Or something such as that. I can’t rightly remember. Maybe I’m getting old. Whilst memory loss is a natural part of ageing, science continually finds ways in which we can generally improve our ability to recall and retain memories that are important to us. Here are five of the best ways you can sharpen your mind and keep your memories for longer.

Working memory acts as an instant ‘cue’ card, where new information is temporarily held whilst you are working with it. Once a memory is no longer useful, you will usually let it go entirely. If it has future use, you transfer it to your long-term memory for later recall.

For most adults, the maximum we can hold in our working memory at any one time is about seven items. However, meditation has the potential to strengthen your working memory and improve your ability to recall extra information. It does this by switching off your brain, which sounds paradoxical, but sometimes an empty mind makes you feel a little less stressed and helps by reducing the ‘noise’ surrounding a memory – therefore making it easier to find in your brain’s long-term filing system.

Drink coffee
According to a recent study, consuming caffeine during or after performing a learning task can improve memory recall. The researchers in this study focused on how caffeine can improve the process of strengthening memories we've created. So, drinking a coffee may help you to hold on to any information that you process during your day, and chances are you’ll be able to better recall that information for much longer.

Eat berries
Research from the University of Reading and the Peninsula Medical School shows that eating fresh berries may help to slow down memory loss. A study found that supplementing a daily diet with blueberries might improve the performance of working memory, which, in turn, may prolong information recall in the long-term.

Blueberries, in particular, are high in flavonoids that may strengthen existing connections in the brain. More research is needed to back these findings, but the health benefits of eating fresh berries go beyond improving working or long-term memory – they’re good for you regardless.

Regular exercise can also improve memory recall. In particular, studies show that regular exercise can improve spatial memory – the type of memory that lets you know where you are or where you are going at any given time. Routine exercise has been proven to improve cognitive abilities besides memory, as well as being highly beneficial for your physical wellbeing. Healthy body, healthy mind.

Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the best ways to maintain good memory. In fact, believe it or not, most of our memory consolidation occurs when we sleep. Research has shown that sleep deprivation also affects our ability to store information, making it difficult to learn new things or to retain any information that we process. It goes without saying then, that poor sleep patterns lead to a poor memory. So, if you ever needed an excuse for an afternoon nap, now you have one.

Do you have any tips for maintaining memories? Why not share them?

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    To make a comment, please register or login
    Young Simmo
    28th Dec 2015
    I one day decided to prove to myself that my memory is still pretty fresh and wrote the Following, sorry but it is a bit long. If anybody can connect with Wyndham back in the 1940s, please send me a PM.

    Re: Wyndham. My name is John Simpson and I remember attending the Wyndham school around 1946 to 1950. I also use the language of the Day, no offence intended.

    My Father was Bob (Curley) Simpson and he was a diesel engine driver on the Power House and Freezer Works. For the record I will relate what comes to mind and if anything is significant you can do with it what you like.
    My Mother was Mollie Wray when she went to Wyndham to work on the Bag Floor in the Meat Works in 1938-39, the bag floor was where they sewed up the white cotton bags to put the butchered cattle sides in. She met my father Bob (Curley) Simpson, and they were married at the Forrest River Mission (Oombulgurri, these days) somewhere over the other side of the Cambridge Gulf. Some of Mum and Dad’s best friends were Merle and Pat Macdonald, Merle was Mum’s bridesmaid. From memory Merle and Pat had 3 or 4 kids and Pam was the oldest, and Pam and I were pretty good friends up to Xmas 1949, when Mum and us kids moved back to Perth.

    Also Boisy Willem (the local Police Sargent) and his wife Ethel and their son Trevor. Trevor and I were good school mates around 7 & 8 years of age, and got into some trouble on occasions. On one occasion around 1948-49 we were messing around up on the side of the Bastion ( 5 Rivers Lookout hill ) near where there was a bit of a dam being built. We found our way into a bit of a shed and found some interesting little silver things and took a few each. We put them on the end of our pencils as they looked very special. On the following Monday morning, Trevor’s Dad, (the local Police Sargent) came up to the school and addressed all the kids. Then it was about 20 White kids and about 20 Blackies, if they weren’t away on walkabout sickness. Trevor eventually put his hand up and said, “It was me and John Dad”. It turned out that these little silver things were Detonators and Trevor had hidden his spare ones in the fire box of his Mothers copper. You know the old fire place for washing clothes. One thing that griped us Whitey Kids was, if we had a day off school, we had to have a letter from Mum saying why, head ache or tummy pain etc. The Blackies just walked into school (after 2 weeks away) and said “ Walkabout Sickness Sir ”, and that was it.

    I can also remember going out to what was then called, “The Bend Of The Ord”, a favourite picnic spot on the Ord River back in those days, for another kids birthday. Out at this place there were many cattle carcasses bogged up to their bellies in quick sand on the side of the Ord River with their bellies eaten out by crocodiles. On this particular day, there was a bogged cow or bullock on the edge of the river and the adults new it was going to have a horrible death. So with 20 or so kids hanging around watching, one of the adults went to his car and got a knife. Then with me and all the other kids standing around watching he proceeded to cut a hole in the bogged cows head.
    The blood just flowed out, a nice crimson red and the cow went to sleep so that a croc could not come up and eat its belly out while it was alive.
    I know that may sound gruesome, but that was the way they did things back in the1940s.

    I also remember the girl who shared my desk at school, she was Helen Maddock, and her Farther was the Wyndham Blacksmith. She was about my age 8 or 9 years. One day the kid sitting behind me whispered, “I dare you to kiss Helen”. Now completely out of character I turned around and plonked a kiss on her cheek. A little while later out in the play ground she picked up a rock the size of an egg and threw it and hit me right on the funny bone in my knee, down I went. I might add that our play ground then, was the vacant ground over the road from the school. There were dozens of car and truck tyres there that we bold around for entertainment.

    I remember Joe Brown the Cooper, (wooden barrel maker) for the fat (dripping) from the meat works. My Dad used to take me down to the Wyndham Jetty, and I would fish for Catfish with my fishing line which was crochet cotton I had unravelled from a ladies hand bag. That was not unusual in those days.
    In 1948 we got a brand new school bus, it was a 1948 Ford Custom Single Spinner Ute. About 8 or 10 of us kids (Half white and half black) would pack into the back of the Ute and scream off from the school in town across the marsh over to the Point. There we would drop off a couple of the “Birch” kids, ( There were 7 kids in the Birch family), then we would almost fly over the marsh (about 2 Kms) to the Meat Works.
    Modern parents would freak out if they could see us kids bouncing along in the back of a Ute at probably 100 Kph plus all laughing and having fun.
    Boy, I am now 73 years old (Born Jan 1940) and am really stretching the memory box. Back in those days I think most of the meat from the Wyndham Meatworks was shipped out on Pommy Meat boats back to England. But us kids always liked it when a boat was due in, as quite often they would put on a special party meal for us School Kids in the dinning room on the meat boats.
    I can also remember my Dad joking about the Pommy Sailors on the Meat boats. When the boats came at the right time of the year, the sides of the Bastion (the big hill or 5 rivers lookout) would be covered in rich green vegetation and looked a picture. The Wyndham locals would tell the Pommy Sailors the side of the Bastion was covered in Orange trees. The Sailors would equip themselves with waterbags and food and head out for a whole long hard day of mountain climbing over rough ground for nothing. Back in the 1940s that was funny.
    I also remember going up to Wyndham with Mum and my Brother David around the middle of 1945 just before the end of World War 2 on the boat Koolinda. When the Koolinda was heading down the Cambridge Gulf they started firing off anti aircraft shots from the 2 guns mounted on the front of the boat. David and I started crying our eyes out, and the matron of the boat took us down to our cabin and put pillows on our heads so Mum could stay up on deck and watch the show to warn the Japs. I also remember on that trip the Koolinda stopped at Broome during the day. When it tied up to the Broome jetty we were standing on the deck and looking down at the jetty maybe 12 to 15 feet below the deck. Probably around 10 or 12 pm that night, Mum woke me and David up and took us up onto the deck.
    Don’t forget I was 5 and David was around three and a half years at that time. When we got up on deck the jetty was maybe 10 to 15 feet above the deck and the Koolinda was sitting on the mud. I remember that experience quiet clearly, and had trouble understanding what was happening.
    Wow, I remember my Dad taking me out to the Wyndham airport to see the “Air Beef” planes arriving. They were "Bristol Air Freighter" and “MMA DC-3” aircraft, with a couple of railings stuck in, and then used to get probably 50 or so fresh beef carcasses loaded onboard.
    When they got to Wyndham airport from Glenroy station, the carcases were rolled out onto a truck, and taken into the Meatworks freezers.
    OK, now our school headmaster Mr Gillchrist was an entertaining man and we would have sessions of singing and he would play his banjo. Air conditioning was not an option back in those days, so we spent quite a lot of time outside sitting under the big Boab tree doing our lessons. I think the classes went from Infants to 8th standard, and any kids wanting to progress through 9th standard had to go down to Perth. About 2,800 Kilometers.
    I have faint memories of our first house over in the Gully and I think Dad must have made it and the sink was half of a square kerosene tin, and the sink plug was a top from a Worcestershire hot sauce bottle. About 1947 Mum, my brother David and I flew up to Wyndham on the DC 3 plane. It was a 2 day trip stopping over night in Broome. Nowadays it is about a 4 Hr trip.
    I am fairly sure Fergy Ferguson was the meat works manager, and the driver of the little “Katy” class train that took the goods across the marsh from the jetty to town was Mac McNally. I was an 8 year old on my Lucas push bike, and used to be able to keep up with the “Katy” train.
    My Dad took me to the Meat Works for a look, and seeing that big man swing what I now realise was about a 14 pound sledge hammer was really scary, but the cattle just dropped down as if they had suddenly gone to sleep. He must have done about one every minute of the day.
    I also remember “The Bumboat”. Every afternoon after knock off time, the butchers and workers from the Meat Works would sit out the front of their quarters (Camp Accommodation), and wait for the Bumboat. . That was a little truck about 2 tons I suppose which came over from the hotel in town.
    It was full of 5 dozen crates of what we call today King Browns, of Swan Lager beer covered in snow. This was a daily ritual which everybody adjusted their clocks by. It was the meat workers who started calling my 2 year old brother Christopher, “ Tiger Tim “. Now 60 plus years latter he is still Tim. As a 7 year old I was invited one day to go to the Meat Works canteen for lunch, and rocked up with out a shirt. I was sent home to get a singlet on, such were the rules back in 1947.
    The more I ramble, the more I remember. I also remember there was almost a revolt one time when the Swan Brewery in Perth ran out of brown bottles and put the beer in clear white bottles. That probably would not have been too bad, except the wharfie’s left all the 5 dozen crates of beer sitting on the Wyndham jetty in the sun for a week or so. The beer in clear bottles went right off and had to be chucked out. In those days there was only 3 ways into Wyndham. By Air, By boat and horse back, I am not sure what happened, but assume they got some decent beer up in time, as I don’t remember any murders, or people jumping off the jetty.
    Another interesting thing about those days was that the town water supply was pumped from the Pool about 20-30 miles (50 Kms) out from the Meat Works. It was pumped through galvanised pipe laying on top of the ground. So it arrived near boiling and Mum and Dad had to wait until nearly midnight to have a bath. I don’t think household showers had been invented at that stage.
    OK, I just remembered something else, Joe Mossey had the only shop (General Store) on the meat works and I had a contract to wash the beer bottles for him to fill with cool drink. Actually Joe ended up running a pub down in Katanning latter on. I had a galvanised bath tub and a bottle brush and got paid a Halfpenny per bottle.
    One day Joe said to me, “ Come here, Simo“. Being an obedient 7 year old I walked up to the counter. Joe said, “Open your mouth“. Being an obedient 7 year old I did as he said. He had a jar of raw oysters and stuck one on my tongue, and said, swallow. YUK, I did, and 73 years latter have not had another one.
    Also there was Le-Tongs ( Chinese Family) general Store in the middle of town, and one of their sons did his apprenticeship as a fitter at J & E Ledger Eng, in Pier Street, Perth.
    I also remember the party at the end of W.W. 11. There was a monster Bonfire maybe half a kilometre long, out of town (Wyndham) and the whole town seemed to attend. There was a couple of trucks loaded up with 5 dozen crates of beer covered in snow from the freezer works. Being only 5 ½ at the time, that’s about all I remember of that night.
    OK, this started out as a couple of lines, and has grown slightly larger. Sometimes it seems, one memory leads to another!
    I seem to remember the 6 Mile Hotel being a popular watering hole for the grown ups. Also the gaps in the floor boards would always trap any 2 shilling pieces dropped on the floor and it was good by 2 bob. Not sure but 2 bob might have bought a couple of bottles of Swan lager back around 1946-9.
    Note 1
    I remember Mum and Dad talking about one of the Wharfies coming to work on the jetty about 10 o’clock at night completely drunk, and falling off the jetty. I think a Crocodile was caught a few days latter with his wedding ring found inside of the Croc. Mind you the blood drain pipe from the meat works emptied into the Ord river beside the jetty, and everybody new that Crocs hung around that area.
    As a closing note, I have lodged my memories with, Kununurra Historical Society Inc. (Est. 1986), and Wyndham Historical Society, who were very happy to receive my ramblings, maybe there is somebody out there that shares my memories, who knows.

    To finish off, I can say I feel extremely lucky. My Father died on his 43rd Birthday in 1953. Thanks to modern science, I am still enjoying life at 73.

    John Simpson.

    August 2013

    Note 1

    Follow up to my quote about a drunk wharfie.
    I put my inaccuracies down to being only 8 years old, it was a conversation between Mum and Dad and more than 60 years ago. This is from the West Australian newspaper, via the Trove Historical Archives.

    Wednesday 7 July 1948

    FALL INTO SEA Engineer Missing From Jetty
    WYNDHAM, July 6: Returning to his ship at 1.25 a.m. to-day, John Thomson, refrigerator engineer of the overseas meat ship Kent, now loading beef at Wyndham, mistook an open step way for a continuation of the jetty and fell into the sea (Cambridge Gulf). He was with two companions. An immediate search was made, but no trace of Thomson could be found. Police in a motor launch continued the search to day, but could not find Thomson, who comes from Scotland and is married.

    11 Months later

    Friday 3 June 1949

    LINK WITH TRAGEDY Signet Ring Found In Crocodile
    WYNDHAM, June 2: The chance opening up of a 14ft. crocodile caught in a trap in the blood drain at the Wyndham Meatworks yesterday after noon revealed a man's gold signet ring bearing the initials "J.T." and thought to have possibly belonged to a young English refrigeration engineer, John Thompson, who was believed drowned after he had accidentally walked off a step way when the meat ship Kent was loading here on July 6, 1948. Although an immediate search was made for the body it was never re covered. The ring has now been handed over to the Police Department. The crocodile, caught by George Williamson, jun., and James Boneham, was only one of many similarly taken and, coincidentally, this one was opened up just out of curiosity. A broken beer bottle was also found inside.

    A slight deviation
    Wyndham was a whole lot different physically back then. The town hadn’t been moved out to the 3 Mile, and was located on the other side of the Marsh opposite the Meatworks. I stand corrected here, but I think the Hotel was the first building after leaving the Marsh. Then the Police Station, the School and the Hospital. I did go back to Wyndham during the relocation of the town, and with my mate Ted, we installed the Strammit ceiling in the new Library. That must have been during the 1960s.
    Having completed my apprenticeship as a Mechanical Fitter at Vickers Hoskins, I had a small involvement in the Ord River Diversion Dam construction. I was involved with my mate Des Oehlman in the Assembly of the gear boxes used to raise the gates.
    I also had the unenviable task of drilling some 28,000 X 1 ¼ inch (30 mm) holes in the rubber seals that run the full height of the gates on both sides. Those rubber seals were L shaped rubber about 3 inch X 3 inch and ¾ inch thick and about 8 foot (2.4M) long.
    I also remember hearing a comment that 28 tonnes of paint, was used in the initial painting of the gates.
    I also worked on the making of an emergency lifting device for the gates. This was a gear box and 2.5 Horse Power petrol motor mounted on a frame on rubber wheels. The gear box was about 8,500 to 1 gear ratio, and in case of a power failure, this device could be used to raise the 50 ton gates using a two and half Horse Power petrol engine.

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