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Memory tools

Memory tools
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The memory ‘systems’ of other cultures include a number of techniques that most of us would be able to use.

1. Tell yourself a story
Weave information into a story in which people and events represent things to be memorised. Studies show that this technique makes information easier to remember and retrieve, just as we recall fairytales.
2. Memorise to music
The brain is more adept at storing and recalling information that is associated with music and rhyme, studies show. It seems that familiar music acts as a soundtrack for a ‘mental movie’ playing in the brain. Try memorising to a well-known tune, making up your own lyrics.
3. Say it out loud
Reading information aloud makes it easier to recall. You can do this either by yourself or with someone else. Relating something to another person has been proved to help embed facts in your own memory.
4. Draw it out
Create colourful visual images in your head and associate them with the names of people and places you want to recall. To link pieces of information, draw ‘memory maps’ made up of strong images, adding smells and textures if desired.
Here are some other fun activities scientifically proven to rev up your thinking.

Fix your finances to maintain a healthy sex life

Fix your finances to maintain a healthy sex life
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Everyday stresses and strains can often take their toll in the bedroom. But, there are many strategies that will keep your intimate life active and fulfilling without resorting to medication.

Money worries come high on the list of stresses that can damage your sex life. A 2011 study of couples found that anxiety over finances, added to increased working hours and the stress of juggling jobs and children were all cited as reasons for having less sex. Money worries were particularly significant in the reduction of men’s libido. Balance the books to increase your intimacy. Find out how sex can help you live longer – as long as you do it often enough!

Change your medication?

Change your medication?
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Failure to achieve an erection (ED) becomes more common as men age. This common condition is usually the result of an unhealthy lifestyle (such as smoking or being overweight), but may be a side effect of prescription drugs that interfere with nerve signals to the penis. The top ‘culprits’ are beta-blockers, which are used to treat heart problems and high blood pressure; antihistamines, taken for allergies; and antidepressants. If you have been suffering from ED and suspect that a drug you are taking may be the cause, ask your doctor if an alternative medication that does not have this side effect might be suitable. Sometimes medicines can do more harm than good – are you being over-prescribed?

Don’t fret about your heart

Don’t fret about your heart
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For most people, having an orgasm is completely heart healthy. Unless you suffer from a very specific heart complaint, it’s no more likely to bring on a heart attack than any other physical exertion. So try not to be worried about having sex unless your doctor has warned you not to. What’s most important is to keep fit and active so that you’re able to cope easily with strenuous activities of all kinds – in and out of the bedroom. There’s also evidence that regular sex can benefit your heart health.

Don’t self-medicate

Don’t self-medicate
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It’s unwise to take medications such as sildenafil (Viagra) to treat ED without advice from your doctor. He or she will explain how to use the drug safely to minimise the risks and side effects.

Have a hug – if you’re a man

Have a hug – if you’re a man
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When it comes to satisfaction in long-term relationships it turns out, contrary to expectation, that men need to cuddle more than women. In a study of heterosexual couples carried out in the US by the Kinsey Institute, men who reported frequent kissing and cuddling with their partners were, on average, three times happier with their relationships than those who did so infrequently. For women, what was more important was a long-term relationship accompanied by good sex. Find out more about the power of touch.

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Believe it or not! ‘Love hormone’ help for ED

Believe it or not! ‘Love hormone’ help for ED
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US scientists are currently investigating the potential of the hormone oxytocin to combat erection problems and low libido in men. The ‘love hormone,’ as it is called, is released by both men and women during sex and by mothers during childbirth and breastfeeding, and it seems to play an important role in promoting feelings of attachment. Find out more on how to put your marriage back in the honeymoon phase.

Choose friendly fats to boost resistance

Choose friendly fats to boost resistance
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The battle against infection never ends – each day your immune system fights off any number of would-be invaders. What you eat, how you feel, and the amount of exercise you take all play a part in strengthening your defences against infection.

Some fats are essential for building cells and for the production of prostaglandins. These hormone-like compounds help to regulate the immune system’s response to infection, such as the way it reacts by making the white blood cells that combat invaders. Italian athletes on very low-fat diets were found to be significantly short of these cells. The secret is to choose your fats with care by opting for unsaturated vegetable fats rather than saturated ones from animal sources, and avoiding trans fats, the manufactured fats labelled as ‘hydrogenated’ or ‘partially hydrogenated’.

Stick to the savoury

Stick to the savoury
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Just 75 grams of refined sugar – 10 teaspoons, or the amount in two 330 ml cans of soft drink – can impair immunity. Choose fruit, which comes packed with fibre, or savoury dishes instead. Find out the 11 biggest health controversies of all time.

Get some mushroom magic

Get some mushroom magic
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The reishi mushroom – also known as lingzhi – is a staple of traditional Chinese medicine. It is used to stimulate the body’s ability to protect itself from infection, strengthen the immune response and promote sleep and reduce stress by suppressing the production of the stimulant hormone adrenaline. While research is still ongoing, early results suggest that reishi is at the very least a useful supplement to mainstream treatments. Reishi essence is available from health food shops.

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