As we get older, we tend to forget things more and more. Sure, you don’t really need to remember the name of your third grade teacher, but it would be nice to know where you left your keys. If you feel like your memory is slipping away from you, here are a few tips to help you remember.

Prevention is the best cure. If you’re starting to forget things, you can take simple steps to improve your brain health. This can not only help you remember things, but also keep your from losing more information.

  • Give your brain a workout. Your brain is just like your body; to work properly, it needs regular exercise. Take a short time every day to do a cross-word puzzle, play a quick game of sudoku, or learn a new skill. It only takes a few minutes, but it will make a world of difference.
  • Stay in shape. Your brain is an organ just like any other. If you keep yourself in good physical condition, it will help improve brain function. You don’t need tons of exercise, a daily walk is enough.
  • Reduce your stress. Stress causes our bodies to produce more cortisol which has been shown to impair your ability to remember. Relax by taking baths or trying yoga. You should also get plenty of rest; sleep deprivation also increases cortisol levels.
  • Get emotional. Hiding or obscuring your emotions takes constant mental energy. If you express what you’re feeling, you have more brain power available to devote to memory.
  • Believe in yourself. If you doubt the fact you’ll remember something, you’re more likely to forget it. Instead of immediately thinking that you’re going to forget something, have confidence that you’ll remember it.

These actions can help improve your overall memory capabilities, but what about remembering things your need to know now? Here are a few techniques you can use to keep yourself from forgetting specific things.

  • Pay attention. Most memory problems are caused by not paying attention in the first place. Make a conscious effort to get information into your head. Instead of just throwing your keys down, tell yourself “I put my keys on the kitchen counter” as you do it.
  • Connect what you don’t know to stuff you do. For example, use your body to remember lists. Associate the first item to your feet (I’m kicking my way through laundry detergent), then the next item to your knee (cantaloupe is shaped like my knee) and work your way up the body. Another method of this is by using the first letters of things you need to remember to make a word or sentence. For example: My Very Easy Method Just Speeds Up Naming Planets helps us remember Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.
  • Write a story. Find a way to connect things you need to remember in your head. You can come up with a funny story, or just make a picture in your head involving what you need to remember. Remember, the more creative you are, the better you’ll remember.