We live in the era of distraction. So many of us have so much information coming at us that is becomes all that easier for some things to slip through the cracks. Who hasn’t put something on the stove or started running a bath and taken just a few minutes to check our e-mail or favorite website and forgotten about what had been doing, and ended up with burnt food or a flooded bathroom? And who doesn’t wish they were better at remembering someone’s name 5 minutes they were introduced to you? Improving your memory would help you avoid these kinds of situations, and it does not have to be all that difficult. Give some of these methods a try and see if they work for you.
Multi-tasking is something some people do very well, and there’s no doubt that for some jobs, it’s a requirement. While multi-tasking may be impressive, you’ll remember things a lot better if you can focus on one thing at a time. Given the choice, you’ll always have a better shot at remembering new things if you can devote your full attention to a particular activity versus multitasking.
2. CONTROL STRESS
By now most of us have heard plenty about how stress can negatively impact your health and cloud your ability to think clearly. Well, it’s that problem with clouding your thoughts that will prevent you from remembering things as well as you should. You’ll remember things much better when you are in a relaxed state of mind.
3. FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Berries, particularly the ones like blueberries and red grapes contain chemicals called anthocyanins that are actually absorbed by the brain and can help improve memory. Other foods that may help include blackberries, plums and red cabbage.
4. DON’T OVERDO IT
The brain does not perform at its best when you are trying to cram information in faster than it wants. Every student has “crammed” at one point or another at the last minute for an important exam, but if you want to remember the information you are studying, you are much better off spreading it out and not trying to absorb it all during a single night of frenzied studying.
5. LIGHTS OUT
You’ve seen people close their eyes and furrow their brows as they struggle to remember something. Well, it turns out that this actually helps! Not so much the furrowing of the brow part, but closing your eyes cut down on the sensory stimulation that your brain receives from the eyes, and your brain can relax a bit and devote more energy to recalling a specific memory.
6. TRANSLATE IT
Much of the time, information that’s presented to us is not done so in a way that we easily relate to. It can help to “translate” concepts into your own words, which will make it easier for you to absorb and remember. Using your “own language” just makes things a lot more natural for you.
7. DITCH THE DEVICES
Well, not entirely, but since the answer to almost any question we are likely to come across can simply be looked up on the internet, it tends to make our brains a bit lazier. Instead of hitting the net right away for the answer to that trivia question, spend a few minutes trying to remember it on your own. These exercises can help improve your memory and help prevent its decline.
While it may be easy to use a reminder app on your cell phone or PC, you may want to try using visualization to help you remember things. For example, say you needed to stop on the way home from work and pick up milk and eggs at the supermarket. You might try visualizing yourself making an omelet where you typically have to add a little milk to your eggs. That visual creates a “link” in your brain that will help you remember both items.
9. SHAKE THINGS UP
Too much routine can lull you into laziness where memory is concerned. A simple thing like rearranging your office or the furniture in your living room will very quickly show how dependent you were on things being where they had been for so long. This new arrangement will force your memory to work a bit to get used to the new layout.
Here’s another activity that can do wonders for both your physical and mental health. Exercise can help improve memory since exercise increases blood flow and delivers more oxygen-rich blood to the brain, which improves pretty much everything your brain does. Exercise can also reduce your chances of coming down with diseases such as diabetes that can have a negative effect on memory.