Smart Everyday Strategies for Memory

Neocortical Neurons

Establish Routines: It is easy to find things if you put them in the same place each time, right?  The same is true with your thought life; the more you think or do the same process over again, the easier it is to remember to do it!

Write It: The repetition of writing what you are learning is a great way to help your brain have an additional physical record to recall the data in the future when you really need to bring it back to memory.

Say It Out Loud: Again, another method of repetition that aids your brain to deepen those memory traces for the future file location.  So for example, you have an item to return to a friend when you meet on Wednesday, say out loud, “I am putting Tammy’s essential oil bottle next to my keys for Wednesday.” Letting your ears register the information, increases your chance of calling up the info in time.

Do It: Practice does not make perfect, only perfect practice does.  However, when you learn something begin applying that information immediately.  The movement is an additional sensory input and gives your brain better chances of recalling the new process when you go to do it again.

Use Imagination:  The Roman Room method or Number Rhyme System are great examples of using imagination for recall.  In general when you have an item to commit to memory look for a landmark to help you by associating the item visually to the physical landmark. In studies, these imaginary cues roved to e as effective as external cues.  Also, the more senses you add along with the item, the higher the likelihood of recall.



Whole Brain Writing

Writing Inspiration

Welcome to those of you who are joining me from the Compel website for writers!  I hope you will explore this blog for more tools to equip you with your writing endeavors.  If you are not familiar with Compel and are in the market to sharpen your writing skills you may wish to visit

My passion is to help people use their whole brain in everything they do.  Research shows that the more we use all parts of our learning-brain, the cerebral cortex, the more likely we are to increase our memory and creative thinking.  Surely, your writing will benefit from both memory and creativity!

The more you add in all of the senses, the more you will involve your reader to connect and participate in a more memorable way to your writing.

The most comprehensive whole brain writing tool to date is the Mind Map.  The Mind Map is a tool to organize your thoughts that engages all of your cortical (brain) skills – automatically!  You will find helpful resources and more information on Mind Maps at my website at  You will find a direct link to it on the right side-bar menu also.

As you explore this blog more, I do hope you find facts, tips, inspiration, and much encouragement for your personal and professional endeavors.  Here is one post from my guest spot on WomensMinistryNet:

How to Make the Most of Your Mind, a five minute video

Thanks again for stopping by, and consider signing up for weekly emails to keep you focused on growing your brain.

Also consider leaving a question or a success story with using your whole brain for the writing wow-factor.  Thanks!



Wise Wednesday Brain Byte: Non-Conscious Mind

Research shows that 90 percent of what takes place in your mind is metacognitive, or at your sub-conscious level.  This leaves only ten percent of conscious activity of the mind.

 brain scan

According to Neuroscientist, Dr. Caroline Leaf, the non-conscious metacognitive level is where your unique metacognitive mix comes in, giving your individuality.  This is where memory building and all its electrochemical and electomagnetic reactions actually occur.

Dr. Leaf goes on to say, “your individuality implies and carries with it the taking of responsibility for your actions; you must consciously force the metacognitive and cognitive levels to interact.  You can do this by consciously thinking about what is in your mind which allows you literally to access the psychosomatic (body-mind) network where the memories are stored and redirect it.

She gives an example of detoxing your old, negative memories by recalling them and then creating a new positive thought pattern (memories) ‘over’ the old. This is Detox Step #4 – Take Responsibility and Take Control – in her book Who Switched Off My Brain.

In other words, think of an unhealthy habit: this brings it to your conscious mind.  Next, think upon a new and WISER choice; take action based on what you believe to be right, using God’s Word as your guide. What does God say about this unhealthy habit and what thinking should replace it?  You may need the help of a trained Counselor, prayer partner, Pastor, or trustworthy friend – all depending on the depth and destruction of the negative thought pattern.

“As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever. (‭I Chronicles‬ ‭28‬:‭9‬ NKJV)


Wise Wednesday Brain Byte: Repeat, Repeat, Repeat to Recall

John Medina’s Brain Rule #5 = Repeat to Remember for short term.

In addition, you can improve your chances of remembering something if you reproduce the environment in which your brain first accessed the information.

For more information, check out Medina’s book, Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home and School.





Wise Wednesday Brain Byte: Social Connections

“Our brains get a good workout whenever we encounter another human being. Even if it’s just a few minutes chatting. To carry on a conversation: we have to pay close attention, respond to questions, interpret vocal tone and body language, and use short and long term memory to access facts that pertain to the conversation. At the same time, we have to block out the other stimuli that compete for our attention. All of these are complex executive functions, demanding extra work from the prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain particularly vulnerable to age-related cognitive decline.” Page 110 Reader’s Digest No More Brain Drain.

Get out and communicate today for your brain’s sake!

Brain Byte: Drive-Thru Dementia


Saturated fats and sugar are two threats to the health of your precious brain.

Sugar. University of Alabama’s lab study showed that sweet drinks lowered memory scores and doubled the number of amyloid plaque deposits, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.

Saturated fat. In lab studies, Canadian researchers found that diets rich in saturated fat found in hamburgers, cheese, creamy salad dressings, and milkshakes boosted levels of Alzheimer’s-related brain proteins up to eight times higher than the diets rich in the “good” fats found in fish and nuts.

So if you find yourself in a pinch for time and a real need for food, please do yourself a favor and do your very best to find the healthiest of fast foods.  Order your tea without the sweetener, even the ones without sugar are dangerous to your brain’s health, unless it is all natural which is difficult to find at a drive-thru window.

Order grilled over fried chicken. Drink water instead of soda.  Add some fresh fruits and vegetables.  Let’s face it, deep down you know what is best for your brain – so eat healthy even on the run.

Holiday Brain Building


This Fourth of July in the United States, surely your clan will be outdoors, some playing yard games, others are running, walking the dog, or frolicking in the lake. And of course, food will have a big focus as the grills heat up.  Oh, the wonderful smell of the summer grill! Yum.

But, as you plan your activities and meals be sure to add some mental exercises in to the mix. We keep some great activity books at our cottage for creative ideas. I love the ones that include a nature walk to gather craft supplies. Boy Scout and Girl Scout Guides are great idea generators.

Another thing we do is bird, small game, bug, and tree watch. These are things we have studied together over the years and it is so fun to spot unusual birds or bugs and help each other figure out what we are looking at.


And when the storm clouds start to form, we pull out our cloud formation books and Usborne’s The Power of Nature to learn more about weather and see if we can predict what will happen next.

We also have a cool star gazers map for night time brain building, memorizing the summer constellations.

Whatever you choose, make it filled with a positive attitude which will encourage long term memories. Enjoy your freedom and thank someone who made it possible.

The Power of Perfume


Want your man to remember a special occasion? Wear a sexy smelling scent. 

Researchers report the most powerful sense for memory is smell.

Perhaps that is why roses are the essence of romance; they are red and full of pleasant aroma. Guys, unless your gal is allergic, it is always a good idea to bring her flowers. And if you present her with the best smelling bouquet, she will have an emotional trigger that will be to your advantage, husbands ;-). For those of you still dating, you will have created a memory she may even include in her journal!

Moms and dads, try baking chocolate chip cookies or making your kids’ favorite meal before they arrive home and the WATCH their eyes open wide and the excitement pour out of their mouths and body language.

Think for a moment of some of your fondest memories of grandma’s house. Chances are good that these memories include delicious smells and evoke positive emotions.

I hope you are inspired to create some sweet smelling memories with the people you love. Pour out the perfume.

Brain Byte: Improve Attention and Focus

Magnifying Glass

Attention to detail is not always easy, but there are tools to help us.

We all get distracted at times, especially when we have many activities in the hopper at one time.  Some events we are responsible for and some we are obligated to participate in, but they all require some amount of attention.  The busy times in our lives can impact the quality of our attention and focus.  Other factors that impact our focus can include our physical state: hormonal imbalances, too much or too little sleep, and stress.

The good news is that in spite of environmental or physical variables, we have the power to have improve our attention and focus.  But, we must take action!

Smart Strategies to Improve Attention and Focus

Make Notes – Writing forces you to pay attention; helps move information from short-term to long-term memory; and you have a record if you need it later.

Control Distractions – Take charge of controllable distractions around you.  Turn off the TV/Radio, manage the temperature so that you are not too cold or too warm, if you are hungry then eat.

Quiet Time – If it is too noisy or too busy where you are attempting to concentrate, then move!  Find a library nearby that you can count on for your focus time.  Perhaps you have a spot in your yard that you can designate as your focus space. You may consider purchasing noise-reducing headphones for your workstation.

Voice record your notes – you may use your smartphone to record notes when you are in a hurry.  If you don’t have a smartphone there are mini-recorders available at low-cost, some made specifically for your key chain.  You may especially consider voice recording important information such as advice from your doctor or imperative projects.  When you are under stress there is greater chance you will forget information left to your memory alone.

Brain Byte: Beware of Brain Shrinkers

colorful brain clipart

You have many things on your mind like paying the bills, yard work, kids, pets, the “To Do” list.  So I ask is your mind on your mind?  How often do you consciously tend to your brain’s health?  Have you ever experienced brain freeze?  That awkward moment when you cannot think of your friend’s name as you pass in the grocery or all of the sudden the PIN you have used a thousand times, just will not come to mind!

The brain is a living, breathing organ.  In fact, it utilizes a large portion of the body’s oxygen intake, about twenty percent.  Your brain’s thinking process involves brain cells sending and receiving information.  The Axon sends information and the Dendrites receive information.  When you do not take care of yourself properly you can actually kill off brain cells.  The following should be avoided to optimize your brain’s health.

Brain Shrinkers

  • Binge drinking
  • Cigarettes
  • Prolonged State of Fear/Sustained stress
  • Lack of water
  • Mental Laziness: getting stuck in a rut, never trying anything new and doing everything the same way. The brain is in constant cleanup mode and allows unused neurons to die and prunes underutilized dendrites, just as a gardener prunes dying branches on a tree.
  • BMI (Body Mass Index) over 25.  That’s because extra fat generates more chemicals that can be toxic to your brain, says Deborah Gustafson, Ph.D., the lead study author and assistant professor at the Institute of Clinical Neuroscience in Sweden. One class of these chemicals — called free radicals — latches on to cells, disrupts the way they function, and can kill them. Aging naturally works away at your memory, but excess fat may speed up the process. For each point your BMI increases, your risk increases 12 to 16 percent. “If you decrease your body weight, you’re going to slow potential atrophy,” says Dr. Gustafson, who recommends a BMI below 25.
  • Lack of exercise – even as little as 30 minutes, 3 times a week is beneficial.

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