Most of us can lose our train of thought midway through a sentence but when you're a stand-up comic, it can spell disaster - as comedian Billy Connolly knows. The 70-year-old Scot admitted last week he now suffers from worrying bouts of memory loss on stage and sometimes cannot ?remember his punch lines for gags.
His wife Pamela Stephenson puts it down to years of drinking in his early career. But absent-mindedness is not just about "senior moments", says neuropsychologist Dr Joanna Iddon, co-author of Memory Boosters. "In a recent study of healthy adults, the average number of memory slips, like putting the coffee jar in the fridge, was around six per week, irrespective of age, gender and intelligence," says Dr Iddon.
"In fact, it was the younger, busier people that were the most absent-minded. Remembering is an active process and making the most of your memory involves paying better attention, planning and organising. Luckily, there are some tricks and strategies to help you banish those thingumabob moments."
"事实上，更年轻、更忙的人是最健忘的。记忆是一个积极的过程，最大化的利用自己的记忆包括注意力更集中、筹划和组织能力更好。幸运的是，有些方法和策略能够帮助我们度过这些难关。"1. Associate the memory with the environment
So if, for example, a joke is learned in the presence of a particular smell, that same aroma may cue the memory for that joke.
"More simply, when in an exam, I advise my students to visualise the place in which they were revising as a cue to memory," says Andrew Johnson, memory specialist and lecturer in psychology at Bournemouth University.
2. Clench your fist
Research suggests that balling up your right hand and squeezing it tightly actually makes it easier to memorise phone numbers or shopping lists. "Later, when you want to retrieve the information, clench the left fist. Researchers think the movements activate brain regions key to the storing and recall of memories.
3. Learn something before bed
"The best way to 'consolidate a memory' is to go through the information just before going to sleep," explains Dr Johnson. "This is because there are fewer 'new' interfering memories so you will remember it better the next day."
4. Drink more milk
Scientists asked 972 people to fill in detailed surveys on their diets and to complete eight rigorous tests to check their concentration, memory and learning abilities.