chronically lose your keys? Have you ever left your phone in the fridge?
Maybe you forgot your coffee on top of the car yesterday?
Memory problems are unfortunately common issues these days.
Here are 10 tips and tricks you can use to improve your memory.
METHOD OF LOCI
What was an answer in the last test you took?Can you remember? Probably not and that has to do with what part of your brain you used. The difference lies with our verbal and visual memories.
Here’s an example of our verbal memory.
I’m going to say 10 words and when I’m done
I want you to stop reading and remind how many you can remember.
Book. Telescope. Dog.Theater.Packet.Truck.Sunset.Doll.Mouse.Grapefruit.
Now, pause and write down all the words you could remember. How many did you get? Typically, an average person can recall five to seven words. Quite frankly, our verbal memory is terrible compared to visual and spatial recollection.
Visual Memorization techniques have been used since ancient times to help us memorize long, complicated pieces of information. Most notably called the method of Loci, one visual memory trick involves creating a memory palace that’s based on a real or imagined place and each word is assigned a location and image within the palace.
Let’s try it out.
Once upon a time there was an electric-purple dragon snoozing on the edge of a cliff.
Nestled between the spikes of the dragon’s shoulder blades at a small, orange cat.
The cat was hungry, so he climbed high up an ancient, gnarled tree and reached for a single, red apple.
Suddenly, the apple fell and rolled over the cliff, plummeting over the edge only to land on a giant bottle of seltzer.
The seltzer exploded, spraying sweet, bubbly water that tasted like strawberries.
The strawberry water foamed up over the edge, collecting on the ground into a muddy puddle.
The puddle grew and grew until it settled at the bottom of the hill.
It started pouring down with rain and the hill became very slippery and wet.
In fact, the rain had dribbled over the top half of a polka dot log.
Sitting on the log was a stars and stripes frog.
Now, STOP reading and again write down all the words you could remember.
Did you get them all? When things are put in a visual and spatial context like we just did, you should be able to remember 10 to 15 words and usually in order. That’ll come in handy the next time you have to take a test.
If I showed you a list of 10 words and asked you to repeat them 10 minutes later, how many do you think you’d still remember? Probably a couple, right? But the chances of you remembering all 10 words is slim.
The reason for this is called the FORGETTING CURVE.
Basically, unless you make some attempt to review that list again in the future, you won’t remember it very well.Our brains have so much to do and they don’t need anything extra taking up space.
If it’s not important to us, we have no reason to remember it. So how does knowing what our
brain won’t remember help us fix our memories?
The simple answer is: we can make information important.
Spaced repetition is the process of taking that list and repeating it over several intervals. The more we repeat the words, the more invested our brains get. So if you’ve got a big test or a presentation coming up, it’s definitely worth looking over your notes more than once, over a spacedout period of time.
After each repetition, the information becomes progressively more ingrained and easier to recall,as highlighted by the forgetting curve.
Pretty much everyone is guilty of multitasking. Between decked out cars and cellphones, to the dreaded cat videos of YouTube, we’re hardly ever doing just one thing at a time.
We have to be watching TV while we stare at our phones or we’re studying with Facebook open. According to science, this is ruining our memories.
We’ve all seen those ads onTV: don’t text and drive. Well the same applies when you study. Admit it, you’re here avoiding studying right now, aren’t you?
Let me tell you about the interference theory.
Basically this is the theory that adding a new stimuli before the brain has finished processing the last one prevents long term recollection.
Think about it, how many times did you re-read that sentence in your textbook? Don’t worry though, there is a solution. Turn off the TV. Put your phone on silent and leave it across the room. Stay away from highly addictive social media. Chances are you’ll find that if you focus on one thing at a time you’ll not only remember things better, but complete the task faster.
Take notes on the important stuff. If you’re like me, you hardlyever take notes, or if you do, you don’t look at them after. There was just so much there and it wasn’t all relevant. But you won’t really remember it at all. Next time, instead of transcribing that lecture or meeting word for word, only write down the important points of the conversation. The shorter your notes are the easier it will be for your brain to store.
Keep notes brief and well organized with acronyms, rhymes, and acrostics. Heck, you could even pretend it’s Opposite Day and write down the facts that are a complete 180 degree to what the speaker is saying.
This helps keep your brain on its toes and creates unique connections you’ll be more likely to remember than if you just copied your notes verbatim.
Ideally, you should then condense your notes later and revise from these for the most optimal results.
Humans were built to be up and running all hours of the day. Our brains don’t like to sit idle. Writing out notes by hand helps keep your brain going and allows easier pathways for information to get to your long term memory.
In fact, studies show that despite the fact that laptop users took more extensive notes than hand writers, those who took down the information by hand still far outscored their electronic-using peers.
UNDERSTAND WHAT IT IS?
One of the keys to retaining information is to actually understand the core concepts of that information. It’s incredibly hard for your brain to make connections about something when it doesn’t fully understand what you’re trying to get it to remember.
Don’t plan on cramming lots of info and facts into your brain that you can regurgitate at a later date.
Instead, “It’s important to view knowledge “as sort of a semantic tree. “Make sure you understand the fundamental principles, “i.e. the trunk and big branches, before you get into “the leaves and details or there is nothing for them “to hang on to.” So, look at the most fundamental principle of any subject matter, instead of separating the subject matter into smaller pieces.
Everyone processes new information just a little bit differently. Some people are visual learners. Some of us are tactile and learn best by diving into things with both hands. Verbal learners, this one’s for you.
As it turns out, reading notes you’ve taken out loud into some sort of tape recorder or your phone is a great way to help your brain remember that information.
Not only are you going over it for at least a second time, but you activate different parts of your brain when you say things out loud than you would just reading them and that can further increase connections between your brain cells.
Not only does this trick help you retain more information with greater accuracy, but you end up with a recording of your notes you can listen to and study with later. Essentially, you’re helping yourself out twice with one simple trick.
GET SOME SLEEP
It seems obvious, but getting the recommended eight hours of sleep is one of the simplest ways to improve your memory. Sleep is like rebooting your computer after an update. Then of course it has to finalize these new pieces of data, and it takes forever.
I’m pretty sure everyone’s waited so long between updates at some point that, when you finally got to it, the computer froze. Well, your brain is the same way. Humans need sleep to function properly and continue to retain new information.
While you sleep the connection between brain cells strengthen and relay information between different parts of your memory. Research even shows that taking power naps in between study sessions can increase your recall by five-fold. So the next time someone calls you lazy for taking a nap, just say you’re working on your memory.
BRAIN BOOSTING DIET.
Your diet is just as important to your memory as sleep. In today’s world of high sugar lifestyles, it’s no wonder a chunk of the population walks around like zombies. First and foremost, your brain needs fat to function properly.
That doesn’t mean go out and shovel in a deep-fried donut and expect to be a genius. You’re looking for good fats, healthy fats.
Omega-threes grease up the wheels and give your mind the fuel it needs to turn all day long. Green, leafy vegetables like kale and cabbage can have a similar effect.
Then you have nuts. Walnuts specifically are known for their cognitive boosting properties, but perhaps the most surprising item on the list is coffee. Drinking a quick cup before a study session could give your brain that little extra boost it needs. Cool, now I don’t have to feel weird about my six cups a day. Thanks science!
YOGA AND EXERCISE
We all know someone who starts their day on the beach and eats healthy and can’t seem to stop talking about how great they feel. Seriously, we know already. You can stop trying to tell us. Well, unfortunately, that person is right.
A new study has proven that yoga not only improves your body, but it helps to center and sharpen your mind. 25 adults over the age of 55 who were suffering from mild cognitive impairment were either assigned to do yoga or work on other memory improvement games.
Both groups saw measurable improvement in their verbal memory, or the kind of memory you use to keep track of peoples’ names or, say a list of words.Humans are great at finding their way to places. As we get older, our sense of direction can dull a little.
But the yoga people left their counterparts in the dust when it came to visual and spatial memory. They also were less anxious and reported higher energy levels than those who worked on other memory exercises.It’s official: yoga makes your mind and body young.
Will you be using any of these memory tricks?
Are there others I may have forgotten?