Sharpen Your Memory

Sharpen Your Memory

Sharpen your memory by using various techniques:

  • Focus/being present
  • Memory Palace
  • Index Cards ( it’s not what you think)
  • Batching /Chunking
  •  Sensory

Hocus, Pocus, Focus

First, I want to get into some effective techniques for sharpening our memories. Before I continue, you should know that this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on or purchase one of the product links I’ll receive some compensation that will support my addiction to all things coffee.

Focus and being present. Furthermore, being focused will allow us an easier time remembering why we went in the next room, for example, car keys.  (keeping track of my keys was my focus)Now, instead of tossing the keys on the nearest table, counter, or desk, I designated a specific location for my keys to go as soon as I walked into the house. Finally, losing my sanity is another thing I do not want to have to hunt down, so paying a little attention to what we are doing is worthwhile.


car keys on a desk

Where are my keys? Paying closer attention to this allowed me to stop yelling at my family, “I can’t find my keys!!” Reducing everyone’s stress level significantly. When you walk into the room and you forget why you came in the room. My husband call’s it “hereafter syndrome”  “What am I hereafter???”. LOLBeing fully present at the moment really helps make a difference and we’re better able to remember what we’re doing and why.

Sharpen your memory with the memory palace

This technique is not new, but it is a great one.  Essentially you visualize your house and all the rooms in it. Next, you place items in each room that you specifically want to remember. For me, this works well with a grocery list.  I can memorize a long list of grocery items by placing them in the rooms of the house.  Then I mentally walk through the rooms of my house and I remember the things I needed to pick up from the store.

Memorize paragraphs with this neat technique

I like to use index cards for this technique and different colors of ink in my personal opinion,  this technique is great for students and anyone who needs to memorize a script. Let me use the Declaration of Independence as an example of how this method works.

Sharpen your memory. In green print is the first letter of every word in the first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence

Sharpen your memory by abbreviating the first letter of each word in the Declaration of Independence shown as an example.

index card showing the first letter of each word in brown on an index card using the Declaration of Independence as an example.

Abbreviate using the first letter of each word in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence in this example.

As you can see above, in green are the first letter of each word in the first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence. “When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for…etc.”

Next, on the second index card, in brown, is the first letter of each word in the second paragraph. Then as you continue making your index cards, each paragraph on its own card is a different color, blue, red or purple whatever you like. Personally, I plan to use this method to memorize vocabulary words in Spanish. Learning another language is another excellent way to keep your brain exercised and sharp.

Batching or Chunking

Memorizing in batches is a good way to remember lots of information.  Phone numbers are memorized in batches. First three numbers and then four.

When I was a kid, my mom taught me the books of the bible.  We (my brother and I) learned them in chunks or batches. Four books at a time. Mathew, Mark, Luke, John.  Then the next four, Acts, Romans, I and II Corinthians Galatians, and so on. Students can use this technique for memorizing vocabulary or terminology.

Music is an Excellent Tool for a Sharper Memory

Preschoolers learn very quickly and efficiently with music.  Sharpen your memory by taking a lesson from them. When I was teaching my granddaughter the days of the week, we sang the days of the week to the Adams Family theme song.  Here let me plant this in your head, lol.  Days of the week (clap clap) days of the week (clap clap) There’s Sunday and there’s Monday, Tuesday and there’s Wednesday, Thursday, and there’s Friday and then there’s Saturday. Days of the week.( clap.) Now everybody sings along!

When that song comes on the radio and launches you back in time to your high school and college days, that’s another example of how powerful music is to memory.  We remember people, places, and events oftentimes because of the music played at those moments.  This is known as sensory memory. This brings us to our next tool for sharper memory.

Sensory memory

  • There are certain foods that I love that remind me of my childhood, Usually something my mom made that I now cook for my own family. I always use her goulash recipe.
  • My husband’s cologne, I know that fragrance anywhere and it makes me think of him. (Old Spice)
  • When I hear “The Cars” on the radio, I’m transported back to the eighties.
  • Purple is the color my daughter and I remember most about the way I dressed her as she was growing up. It was my favorite color, but she avoids it like the plague because she had so many outfits that were purple. Lol

There’s a dark and scary side to sensory memory. It’s PTSD post-traumatic stress disorder and is brought about by a bad experience so ingrained in one’s memory, they are traumatized.  Just like with good memories, these traumatic memories will have triggers that cause a scary and fearful reaction in the individual.

On a happier note, childbirth is such an intense experience that mothers can tell their story from start to finish without missing a single detail.  Every time I tell my story ( I have three kids that I gave birth to and one I adopted) I relive the experience like it was yesterday.

New York City beams of light where the twin towers where

Breaking news can impact memory

  • You remember where you were and what you were doing on 9/11.
  • While I was in my kitchen folding some laundry, watching The Young and the Restless at the time when they broke the news Princess Dianna died.

Interestingly, news events can be permanently stamped into your memory and can make an impact.

Associating memories with sensory experiences will make those newly created memories stickier and allow you to remember important information longer.

In conclusion

That’s all for today.  If you found this post helpful please feel free to share and let me know what you think about this subject.


I’m Karen with Embracing Aging,

Reminding you to embrace your age.

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