Who wouldn’t like to improve their memory? Many of us struggle sometimes to remember things like doctor’s appointments, birthdays or where we put our car keys. Instead of relying on piles upon piles of post-it notes to remember important events or to maintain a daily routine, try giving these memory-boosting tips a shot:
#1 Pay Attention – This piece of advice might seem too obvious, but many people do not devote their full concentration to items they are studying. As a result, their memory comes up blank when they try and recall certain facts and figures. Next time you try studying any written material, shut off the TV, radio and mp3 player.
#2 Don’t Cram for Tests – This is an especially useful tip for young adults still in college or graduate school. Simply put, cramming doesn’t work – research has shown that breaking up studying into several routine sessions yields much better results.
#3 Organize Similar kinds of Information into Groups – According to researchers, information is stored by the brain into clusters of related data with similar characteristics. Therefore, you can increase your chances of remembering information by organizing it into several and distinct groups.
#4 Make Use of Rhymes, Jokes, Songs or Acronyms – If you’re having trouble remembering facts about certain topics, mnemonic devices such as rhymes and acronyms may help you to recall such information at a later date.
#5 Exercise – Exercise doesn’t just tune-up the body – the mind gets a workout as well. Being overweight or obese often causes plaque to build up in the heart’s arteries, which makes it more difficult for blood to reach the brain. As a result, oxygen and nutrients struggle to make it to your brain, and your memory suffers. Physical activity of any kind, such as a brisk walk or swim, will burn off excess calories and get your blood flowing towards your brain.
#6 Use the Method of Loci – This may sound complicated, but it’s not; all the Method of Loci requires you to do is associate things you need to remember with data that’s hard to forget. Suppose that you pass a pizza restaurant on the way home from work everyday. Let’s also assume you need to remember to go grocery shopping for dinner on the way home from work. Simply associate an image of eating pizza as a special dinner, as opposed to your regular evening meal. Soon, this pizza restaurant might become synonymous with dinner, which may remind you that you need groceries for the last major meal of the day.
#7 Tinker with Your Environment – If there is something you want to remember to do the next day, try placing an object associated with this task next to an object you know you will look at, such as an alarm clock. When you go to shut off the alarm clock the next morning, you will see the item and be reminded of the task you need to perform. Another example of this strategy is to place a toy car by your car keys; this could help you to remember to get your automobile inspected.
#8 Give Your Mind some Mental Practice – As with many other activities, you can improve your memory through consistent practice. For example, if you are waiting to be seated at a restaurant, give everyone around you a name. Wait a few minutes, and see how many of these names you remember.
#9 Explain Your Methods to Someone Else – This tip not only can help a friend struggling with his or her memory, but it can also serve to reinforce the new memory-strengthening tips you have recently learned.
#10 Cover, Then Recite – You can use this tip to help remember things like word definitions. Read the definition, than cover it with your hand and try to recite it. You can do this either mentally our out loud. At first, you may only remember certain parts of the definition; as you repeat this tip, you will likely remember more and more of the definition, until you have memorized the definition.
#11 Target the Hard Stuff – If you find that there are certain data that are noticeably challenging to remember, devote extra time and attention to them.