Improve Your Memory: Focus on Noticing

What does noticing have to do with memory fitness?  When you notice you are paying attention and here are some familiar synonyms:  give care, give thought to, be aware, give ear, hear, keep an eye peeled, listen, pay attention, regard, see, spot, pay heed, regard, register, watch  and many more.

A recent press release article about  “The Secrets SuperAger’s Brains” reported the results of a study by Northwestern Medicine researcher Emily Rogalski. With a focus on what goes right in the brains of older adults, she found some interesting differences in the area of the brain responsible for noticing and paying attention.

Life is in the details. How often are you so busy that you fail to notice the little things? Cleaning the convection oven I have had for over a year, I “noticed” some codes at the bottom of the glass door for different settings. I often use it for cooking something small rather than using my oven so the information went unnoticed.

Personally I can recall many times when the item in my hand one minute ago was misplaced. If I had paid attention to what I was doing for just a few seconds, I would have been more aware and it is likely what I did would have registered. Periodically, when I misplace something like where I put my watch when I get home from work, I ramp up my noticing skills and it works. Making it an ongoing habit is always a goal and this research may encourage you to consider some long term benefits of working on your patterns when it comes to paying attention.

Take one of the synonyms for noticing and paying attention and make it your priority every day. Give thought to what people are saying rather than focusing on something else. Watch attentively rather than multitask. Do not let distractions take over. Think of an item you frequently misplace and notice when it is in your hand and also what you do with it. Change begins with awareness.

“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”  John Wooden

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About Kathryn Kilpatrick

Kathryn Kilpatrick received her Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology in 1968 from the University of Massachusetts. She has worked in a variety of settings, primarily in Ohio, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and for decades in the area of home health care. Kathryn is president of Memory Fitness Matters ( and Communication Connection( She offers memory coaching for all ages and has a geriatric consulting practice. She is a national motivational speaker and author of more than 30 products to enhance communication and connection as well as a Memory Fitness Toolkit. Kathryn brings her decades of experience as a speech-language pathologist to all those wanting to enhance their quality of life, particularly when there are communication, memory and cognitive challenges. Her websites offer information on a wide variety of topics related to elder care concerns as well as memory fitness and successful aging.
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