By Kelly Mickle, REDBOOK
Ever start a sentence and then completely blank on what you were saying? Hey, it happens, but these simple tips for memory will make it easier to remember where you put your keys, glasses, and kid's left shoe-and help defend your brain against true senior moments later. Try 'em before you forget you wanted to!
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Zoning out during a meeting? Sketch something on your notepad. People who colored in shapes while listening to someone speak were 29 percent more likely to recall the information they'd heard than non-doodlers, according to a report in Applied Cognitive Psychology. "Doodling keeps you focused on the action of drawing and stops you from daydreaming. You can still listen while doing it, whereas daydreaming reduces attention to what's being said," says researcher Jackie Andrade, Ph.D.
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2. FIND A NEW FAVORITE BLOG
Note to bosses everywhere: Web browsing may not seem great for productivity, but it can boost brainpower. After people in a study searched for information on a variety of topics, brain scans showed they had more activity in the memory and decision-making areas of the brain. Browsing a subject you love works best, so go ahead and Google "celeb gossip"-or "duct tape artwork," if that's your thing.
3. WATCH A FUNNY VIDEO CLIP
Major stress disrupts brain-cell communication in the hippocampus (the area of your brain that controls memory), according to research from the University of California, Irvine. Laughing, however, may lower stress-hormone levels and counteract this effect. (A suggestion from this month's Manifesto star, Paul Rudd: Try the America's Funniest Home Videos highlights at abc.go.com. "There's nothing like the unbridled joy of watching somebody fall or have a painful injury or just get kicked in the nuts," he says.)
4. GO FOR A WALK
Take a stroll before your next big presentation: A 20-minute power walk is enough to significantly improve your brainpower for about an hour, says Charles Hillman, Ph.D., associate professor of kinesiology at the University of Illinois. In one of his studies, people performed better on difficult memory tests 30 minutes after doing cardio. Why? Aerobic exercise may increase blood flow to the brain and improve your ability to learn new things.
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.