Perhaps there was a time when we did not need memory skills, but I don't think that time is now. Whether you are a Boomer, a Senior Citizen, middle aged, building a career, or a student, the flood of information is overwhelming, and sorting through it and deciding what to try and commit to memory does take a skill all of its own.
My brain is 62 and I have noticed that it occasionally doesn't recall just the right word for the information that I want to convey, which worries me.
I do not want that normal aspect of Boomer life and function to grow into anything other than an occasional Senior Moment, so I am looking into memory skills.
As an undergraduate I read the Harry Lorayne materials because I wanted to find a way to get good grades without any work, so I could party more.
Unfortunately, those memory skill tactics did require an effort, so I never completed them.
In the interim, however, researchers have discovered some things about the human brain which apply directly to our memory skills.
The first of those capacities, which we can enhance by the way, is called neurogenesis, which means we grow new neurons every day, and those new neurons migrate to the hippocampus, which is an important part of the human memory apparatus.
Not sure about you, but I think bigger is better when it comes to your brain and its memory skills, and the other other human brain capacity which is understood more clearly now is neuroplasticity, which is the term used to describe what happens between neurons when they learn something new.
Neuroplasticity can happen within minutes of new learning, but the brain is an energy efficient organ, and it will delete circuits and connections that are dormant, so regular practice of learning is required.
We can enhance neurogenesis and neuroplasticity it turns out, by taking care of what the experts are calling the pillars of brain fitness, which are physical activity/exercise, nutrition including getting your brain lots of antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acid, good sleep, effective stress management, and novel learning experiences, which is the pillar where we may be able to use computerized brain fitness programs effectively.
The brain fitness experts say that the novel learning experience pillar should include experiences like learning a new language or a new musical instrument, because the increasing level of complexity and opportunity for about 80% correct answers during practice optimizes neuroplasticity and neurogenesis.
Not sure about you, but I do not have a lot of time available for a learning a new language. I struggle with my kids jargon, let alone Spanish, so I have looked into the computerized brain fitness programs as an alternative to languages and instruments, in part because of my successful experiments with tools like EEG Biofeedback and heart rate variability biofeedback, and what I read in a very interesting e-book called Brainfit for Life The authors discuss research on the dual n back task which increases fluid intelligence, which seems to me like the intelligence we use to discriminate between competing factiods.
So I went looking for a version of the dual n back to try out, and found Mind Sparke Brain Fitness Pro.
I highly recommend that you try it. It is addictive and frustrating, and it will quickly teach you how fast your attention wanders from the task at hand, and as you move through the various challenges, I guarantee that you will notice an improvement in your memory skills.
Having discovered Brainfit For Life I began to look for other programs, and discovered the work of Michael Merzenich,Ph.D. who is one of the world's leading experts on neuroplasticity, and he has put together some computerized programs that have had an excellent impact on the memory skills of Senior Citizens and Senior Citizen Drivers.
If you have tried a memory skills program prior to your exposure to one of the computerized programs, I know you will like the short practice, which is also engineered to keep your attention focused while you work on the neurons in the memory skills circuitry. Hope you enjoy.
Physical Exercise that Works for Bill and Pat, who are 89 and 82, By the Way.
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