Lost your car keys for the umpteeth time? Forgot something else? These brain-training strategies will help you remember better.

How to train your brain
Remember better with these brain-training tips. Image: Getty Images


1. Play Words With Friends
Dr Yeo Poh Teck, a neurologist at Gleneagles Hospital in Singapore, says word games or puzzles are great brain workouts. “When you learn something new, the brain builds connections that help you remember what you’ve learnt. So the more you practice, the better you get as the connections get stronger,” explains Dr Yeo. This helps to keep your memory sharp, for longer. Dr Yeo recommends you do this for 15 minutes every day.


2. Go back to mental sums
Stop relying on your calculator. Your brain is made up of neurons, which form circuits or patterns that make up your memory. The more often you exercise these circuits, through mental sums, for example, the more your memory improves. Do simple things like figuring out your change at the shop or mentally dividing up your share of the food bill.


3. Ditch your GPS device
Find your own way to a new place. “GPS devices may be useful, but they don’t encourage active learning, which helps build memory,” says Dr Yeo. “You are passively listening to instructions without processing the information or working on real strategies to get to a place.”


4. Use your other senses
If you want to remember something, say it out loud. “This is called augmentation. You can then recall information using either of your associated senses,” explains Dr Yeo.


5. Switch up your daily routine
Constant learning helps your memory. So don’t stick to your routines. Take an alternate route, or use your other hand to do something, for example. “When you are forced to take on something out of your comfort zone that requires mental effort, you are building on the complex infrastructure of the brain and developing it,” says Dr Yeo.


This article was first published in Simply Her July 2012.