The mind is a powerful storage device! But it’s how to access the information in your mind that is important. This is where: memory games, word and number games – like Sudoku, Crosswords and Scrabble – and strategy games, like chess, help the mind to stay active for longer.

There are some tricks that will help you to remember things – like new words and their meanings. One of these is ‘association’ and ‘visualisation’.

The mind makes connections all the time. When it comes across a new word it links it to existing ‘known’ words in the brain (it associates the word with one you know).

When you associate the word, you often visualise the thing you associate it with (have a mental picture of it).

Eg. Take the word ‘Catastrophe’ – the definition is: an event causing great and usually sudden damage or suffering; a disaster.

When you learn the word you could link it to ‘cat’ – catastrophe. You might then make a mental picture of a cat causing ‘damage’ – like eating all the food at a party. This would help you to remember the word and the meaning.

Everyone has different associations for different things and will use different ‘visualisations’ (pictures in their mind) to remember new words.

Here are some more fun memory games to help your memory!

The shopping Game.

You can play this in a group. The larger the group the more difficult the game will be.

• One person starts and says: I went to the shops and bought… (They think of something they want to buy at the shop, eg. milk)
• The second person adds to this list: I went to the shop and I bought milk and flour
• The third person adds another item: I went to the shop and bought milk, flour and oranges
• Each time it’s someone’s turn the list gets longer and there are more things to remember.
Use your new tools of word association and visualisation to help you. Eg. You might remember milk and flour because they are both white and you can mix flour with milk. You might remember oranges by making a play on the word ‘flour’ which sounds like ‘flower’ and visualise an orange flour…

Jigsaw Puzzles
Jigsaw puzzles are a great way to exercise your short-term memory, since your brain has to sort through a series of colours and shapes in order to make a visual picture.

Lateral thinking
This is a way of solving problems using a creative approach, using reasoning that is not immediately obvious. It involves thinking ‘out of the box’ and often not by using the traditional step-by-step logic. Lateral thinking helps you to find new and innovative ways to do things.

So start thinking creatively to solve complex problems.

Try these three puzzles – you will need to think laterally to do this.

The Deadly Dish
Two men went into a restaurant. They both ordered the same dish from the menu. After they tasted it, one of the men went outside the restaurant and shot himself.


A man in a lift
A man who lives on the tenth floor takes the elevator down to the first floor every morning and goes to work. In the evening, when he comes back; on a rainy day, or if there are other people in the elevator, he goes to his floor directly. Otherwise, he goes to the seventh floor and walks up three flights of stairs to his apartment.


The Boxes
There are three boxes. One is labeled “APPLES” another is labeled “ORANGES”. The last one is labeled “APPLES AND ORANGES”. You know that each is labeled incorrectly. You may ask me to pick one fruit from one box which you choose.

How can you label the boxes correctly?

To find out the answers to last week’s ‘How to Train your Brain!” blog, click here