One of the symptoms of ADD/ADHD is poor short-term memory. Research has shown that there is a link between impaired memory and ADD. However, your memory is not a stagnant commodity and can be improved no matter what your age, IQ or if you have ADD.
You will find that not only does your memory improve when you start to implement the list of suggestions below, but your other symptoms of ADD/ADHD will also improve too!
When you take care of your basic needs, such as food, exercise and sleep, your body repays you with improved memory.
Eat. The phrase “you are what you eat” is really true. You need to feed your brain in order that it can function at its best. Eat a well-balanced diet of protein, fresh fruit and vegetables, and whole grains. Take a good multi-vitamin too, to support your body, as well as an Omega-3 supplement.
Exercise. Exercise helps increase the flow of blood to your brain. If you have been eating good food then the brain gets these nutrients.
Relax. A stressed person’s memory ability is reduced. One particularly stressful period in my life, my short-term memory became non-existent. I realized where the term “brain like a sieve” came from. However, when the stress disbursed, my memory returned. So be sure to do things to relax. Meditation and exercise are two great ways.
Sleep. Think of the last time you didn’t get a good night’s sleep. Was your mental ability a bit “off”? Lack of sleep reduces your memory. Make sure you get enough sleep every night.
Avoid alcohol and drugs such as Marijuana. Both seriously affect your ability to remember.
As well as taking care of yourself physically, there are some behavioral changes you can make to increase your memory.
Don’t multi task. Do one task at a time. Not only will you be more productive, your memory will be stronger. This is because when you are scatted you give less attention to what you are doing and your memory suffers. Your memory is only as good as the attention you gave to the incoming information. Don’t be alarmed if you have ADD. It might be harder for you than your peers, but it’s still possible.
Be mindful of doing task. This is particularly true of simple everyday tasks, such as switching the oven off, locking up before going to bed, or turning your lights off in your car. When you are mindful of what you are doing, you won’t have to second guess yourself or get up in the middle of the night to check and double check.
Develop routines. Developing routines gives your memory a rest. For example, you might want to develop a night time routine. Rather than every night having to reinvent the wheel, write down four things you need to do that you aren’t doing, such as pack bag for tomorrow, get clothes out for the next day, take vitamins, put the dishwasher on. Done often enough (habits are said to form somewhere between 21 and 28 days), then this is part of your routine and you no longer have to remember to do these tasks.
Use memory saving tools. I am always surprised at the number of people who don’t use an agenda to write down their appointments, birthdays, etc. They tell me they have a good memory and don’t need to use one. That might be the case, but it’s quite stressful having all those dates and times running through your head all the time. Instead, save your memory for faces and names, and other details and facts. Use memory saving tools such as address books and agendas to give your memory a rest.
Keep on doing the things that work for you. You probably have developed certain tricks to help you to remember to do things. For example, leaving the empty carton of milk out on the counter to remind yourself to buy more milk or tying a knot in your handkerchief. Keep on using these tricks and develop more. There is no shame in this.
Keep your brain alive. Embrace new mental skills. Learning a new language or completing puzzles such as Sudoku and crosswords are not only fun, but also really help your memory.