Some people remember things well
by Marina Floria
Why do some people remember things very well and others don't? It's very hard for me to remember things like birthdays or dates. I train my brain but after I forget.
My mum never had problems with memory. She can tell me things from my past which I can't remember.
She is 64 and I'm 25, and she never trained her brain. Why can she remember and I can't?
Doug's Reply: Your brains are different. It is as simple as that. Some people are born with a very good memory, while others are not.
Not only that, but some people can be good at remembering certain types of information (for example, numbers) while bad at remembering others.
I am like you. I also have some trouble remembering events. This is a problem with "episodic" memory, from the word "episode" or event.
There are three things I do about this that might help you as well:
1) Write a daily journal. For the last 14 years I have kept a journal of the events that happen in my life. This now fills several notebooks.
At night I write a summary of the things that happened that day. It only takes me about 10 or 15 minutes so it is not a huge burden.
The benefit is that I can look back through my journals to remind myself about events from a day, a week, a month, or five years ago. Even a very short journal entry often reminds me of many details from that day that I thought I'd forgotten.
2) Take a mental snapshot
of events. By requiring you to focus more intently, this mental trick can help form clearer images and memories of important scenes and special moments of your life.
3) Write down important dates on a pocket calendar. Get a blank yearly calendar that has monthly pages. Make a list of all the birthdays and other important dates you don't want to miss, then write these on the appropriate dates on the calendar.
Review your calendar every day or two. Make sure to look at the next month so you can be reminded of events that are coming up soon.
Don't worry that your memory for dates and events isn't as good as your mum's. People are different.
All you need to do is find ways to improve your memory as best as you can (brain games, better sleep, improved diet, regular exercise, etc), and couple this with memory aids such as calendars and journals that enhance your effectiveness.
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