It is easy to be forgetful in the world today. At any minute, it seems a dozen things are vying for our attention. We are trying to balance career, family, an active social life - oh and there are a million bills to be paid, a thousand Tweets to answer. It is overwhelming and often we just raise a mental white flag and let the chaos and madness wash over us.
However, you don't have to give up so easily. With a little common sense, you can boost your powers of recollection. This will make day to day life more navigable - nothing throws us off like the forgetting the boiler repair man is due to call - and, in turn, will lower our stress levels. It should also make us less reliant on our smartphones and other technologies. If your phone is tracking your schedule,what happens if the battery dies? (It will). Or, given the theme of this article, you simply forget to bring it?
Sorry to start with the boring yet obvious one but, yes, of course, good physical condition boosts memory. There's a straightforward reason: the fitter you are, the faster the blood flow. And the faster the blood flow, the more nourished your brain - hence, the better your memory. On the other hand, if you rarely exercise and are content to slump in front of the television, don't be surprised if your thought process is sluggish also.
You wouldn't attempt a marathon - or even a 5K dash - without training. Your brain is no different from any other part of your body. Practice is key. So give yourself a goal - such as memorising the morning timetable of the train you use to commute to work, by Christmas. Or maybe we you will try to learn the name of every American state capital in the next four weeks. In isolation, this may seem a pointless activity. But by challenging your mental prowess, you are boosting it.
Red wine is thought to strengthen blood vessels and increase the rate of blood flow, thanks to the presence of a substance called 'flavonoids'. In later life, especially, this can make a difference: among over 65s, there is some evidence that two glasses of red wine daily can meaningfully lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease.
Note, we are talking about moderate alcohol assumption. Sinking your weight in lager will, over the long run, turn your brain to mulch, not transform it into a super-computer.
There is a proven link between depression and stress and memory loss. Without wishing to sound pat or condescending, one way of alleviating depression is to interact with others. A healthy social life can, thus, boost your memory. Whether it means the (occasional) visit to the pub, a coffee morning or five-a-side soccer, a rich engagement with the world is exceedingly beneficial for the stuff between your ears.
Smell, taste, and hearing can help you recall events much later (consider how hearing a favourite song from childhood can make the years seem to tumble away). So be aware of all the sensory input at your disposal: by being more consciously 'in' the moment, you have a better chance of remembering it clearly later.
Often we 'forget' because we did not think to store the information to begin with. It is vital that we pay attention: blearily assuming an item of information will penetrate our grey matter is naive. If we aren't attuned to our circumstances, why should we recall what's transpired later?
Anyone who has ever fallen asleep - or even come close to nodding off - at a lecture will know the truth of this. Just because the information is being put out there, doesn't mean it will seep into your cortex for handy examination later. It's a two-way street.
It sounds silly but, yes, moving your eyes up and down and around can, according to research, temporarily raise your powers of recollection, potentially by up to 10pc. Of course, if done in public, it will also raise your creepy rating by 90pc - so watch out.
It is sometimes fashionable to accumulate clutter - people do adore the absent-minded professor stereotype.
Actually, lack of organisation can chip away at your ability to recall vital facts.
Lists, wallcharts, files neatly stacked - all are useful aids when you later need to remember something and don't have the information to hand.
Don't try to be hero and short-change yourself on sleep. Most of us need between seven and eight hours nightly - take those anecdotes about Margaret Thatcher going to bed at midnight and rising refreshed at 2.30am with a pinch of salt. Few of us are superhuman and if we don't sleep properly, our mental faculties WILL suffer.
Experts aren't prepared to put their reputation on the line about this quite yet - nevertheless there is compelling evidence that 'brain' games such as Sudoku and crosswords and the computer game equivalent - can constitute a 'work-out' for the mind. There's even an online brain training program called Lumosity, that states it can 'exercise your memory'.
Health & Living
Sometimes it feels like time is slipping between our fingers and we are powerless to do anything about it. Whether overburdened at work or pushed to the limits at home, carving space in the day to complete all the duties expected of us can be deeply stressful. There is no magic solution - however, there are straightforward measures you can take to plan your day with greater efficiency. On their own, these are small steps but, when it seems the whole world is pressing down, even small steps make a big difference.