How to Improve Your Memory




You’re chatting with a friend and want to recommend a good book you just finished, or a movie you finally saw. All of a sudden, you can’t remember the title! It feels like it’s on the tip of your tongue, but the harder you try to remember, the more it eludes you. We’ve all been there, and everyone knows how hard it is to keep track of all of that information floating around in your head. Luckily, there are plenty of options available when it comes to jogging your short-term memory, improving your long-term memory, and tricking your mind into remembering important details.



[Edit]Steps


[Edit]Memory Help


Memory Tricks
Sample Roman Room


[Edit]Repeat important information out loud.[1]

Say that address, phone number, or date over and over again to commit it to memory.[2] This is an extremely simple solution, but it’s the best option you have if you know you’re going to need a bit of information in the near-future.
When you repeat something out loud, you aren’t technically memorizing it. You’re actually creating a pattern and sound that will make the info easier to recall in the future.[3]



[Edit]Create notable associations in your head.[4]

Paint a picture in your mind to make names, dates, and objects easier to remember. If you meet someone named Vincent, try picturing them looking at a Vincent Van Gogh painting. If you want to remember that you parked your car on Logan Boulevard, you may imagine Wolverine from X-Men sitting in your back seat.[5] Doing this in your head can dramatically improve your ability to recall specific information, and it can be a fun exercise as well!
For another example, if you’re bad with names and you meet someone named Evelynn, you might think, “Christmas Eve” and picture this person dressed as Santa. If you find a brand of potato chips you like, called “Umbrella Chips,” you may picture a stack of spuds sitting on a beach under a parasol.[6]



[Edit]Focus on one thing at a time.[7]

Turn the TV off while you study and get off of the phone while you’re driving. When you juggle multiple activities, your attention is divided, which will make it hard to process the information necessary to remember what you’re doing. If you want to remember things more clearly, focus on one task at a time. Keep your phone in your pocket, take your headphones off, and aim to dedicate yourself to the task at hand.[8]
There may be a long-term effect of multitasking as well. There’s evidence that people who multitask a lot tend to struggle with distractions more often than others.[9]



[Edit]Take notes and write things down.[10]

Write something down if you want to remember it in the future. Taking a note will help you retain the information, even if you never look at your notes again! While memorization takes place entirely in the brain, writing is a physical act. By combining memorization with the act of writing, it helps your brain commit the information to memory.[11]
Oddly enough, research seems to indicate that it’s hard to achieve the same effect by typing something on your phone or laptop, so you’re better off sticking to pen and paper if you really want to remember your friend’s birthday or next week’s dentist appointment.[12]



[Edit]Take a short walk.[13]

There’s a lot of scientific evidence that taking a walk will jog your memory.[14] If you’re trying to remember something, spend a few minutes walking around your neighborhood to see if it helps. At worst, you’ll get some exercise and relax a little. At best, you’ll remember the name of that life-changing book from grade school!

If you’re short on time, there’s evidence that walking backwards for a few minutes can help you recall specific details.[15] You may feel silly doing it, but it may help you remember something important.
Regular walking may help your overall memory as well. Walking a few times a week can literally increase the size of your hippocampus, which is the part of your brain responsible for memory.[16] That’s right—walking can give you big brains!



[Edit]Change your routine to memorize important information.[17]

Stand up to memorize a crucial bit of information or sit outside while you study difficult materials. Lay down or do jumping jacks while reciting something you really want to internalize. Routines are great if you want to establish good habits, but they also make it more likely that you go through the motions without processing what you’re doing. Even something as simple as taking your laptop off of your desk and working at your kitchen table can help you remember what you’re doing in the future.[18]
Routines require very little effort or attention. This is why people occasionally forget to stop at a grocery store or post office on their way home from work—they’re just not used to doing it. This is known as procedural memory, where you memorize the routine instead of the material. By changing the procedure, you make easier to form a memory![19]



[Edit]Drink some coffee or tea.[20]

Try brewing some green tea or drinking a coffee to jog your memory.[21] The reasoning here is pretty straightforward: caffeine wakes you up, which gives your brain a boost. This can help you remember specific information that’s just on the tip of your tongue.
Caffeine will help you remember things from you past, but it won’t help you form new memories. As a result, drinking a pot of java while you’re studying isn’t a particularly good way to commit the material to memory.[22]



[Edit]Cut back on the sweets.[23]

Eating a lot of sugar is bad for your long-term memory, so avoid sugar to keep your mind clear. Take your coffee with cream and skip the sugar. Try to cut the candy bars and junk food out entirely. Not only will you be healthier and happier, but you’ll have an easier time remembering things.[24]
Eating a high-fat diet will likely have a similar effect, although fat’s impact on memory hasn’t been studied as thoroughly as sugar’s.[25] Just try to eat a balanced diet and avoid processed foods whenever possible.


[Edit]Do puzzles and play strategy games.[26]

Play a game of chess, do a crossword puzzle, or gather some friends for a card game. This won’t explicitly help your memory, but they will keep your brain on its toes.[27] When you play games that require a lot of thinking, it’s kind of like lifting weights for your brain. There’s plenty of evidence that strategy and brain games will improve your cognitive functioning, which can help with memory recall.[28]
There’s also some research that suggests playing video games can help your memory. Just be careful about overdoing it and try to stick with games that require some complex thinking.[29]



[Edit]Meditate a few times a week.[30]

Meditate regularly if you want to improve your memory over time. By meditating, you bridge that gap between what’s going on in your head and what’s happening in your body.[31] While you may not see results right away, meditating for 20-30 minutes a day may improve your memory in as little as 1 month.[32] So find a nice quiet place to relax, sit down, and do some guided meditation to get started.
Even if you don’t feel your memory improving, regular meditation will improve your mental fortitude, emotional well-being, and physical health, so it’s certainly worth a shot. Stick with it![33]



[Edit]Exercise more often.[34]

Go running, bike to work, or lift weights a few times a week. Working out gets the blood pumping through your body, which increases the blood flow to your brain.[35] Find fun ways to exercise to make it more likely that you stick with it. For example, if lifting weights isn’t your thing, you could play basketball or go swimming at a local pool a few times a week.
While this won’t help you recall anything in the moment, regular exercise is one of the best ways to gradually improve your ability to remember things.[36]



[Edit]Get plenty of sleep every night.[37]

Go to bed at a reasonable time and get 8 hours of sleep a night. If you’re studying for a big test, you’re more likely to get a good grade by snoozing than you would by cramming all night and studying.[38] Sleeping helps you process large chunks of information, so get at least 8 hours of rest every night if you want to remember things clearly.[39]
While the relationship between sleep and memory isn’t entirely understood, it’s suggested that sleep helps you consolidate memories, which is the process where new information is converted into something you can remember.[40]



[Edit]Note those moments where you remember something.[41]

Remembering something once makes it easier for your brain to remember it in the future.[42] Unfortunately, every time you remember something, your brain distorts the facts and details a little, kind of like that telephone game where people whisper a phrase to one another.[43] To counteract this effect, play things you remember over in your mind and say, “I’m remembering this right now” out loud. This can help you recall the details and specifics the next time you try to remember it.[44]
Noticing when you remember things may feel kind of hard at first, but it’ll be easier to do this once you get into the habit of it.


[Edit]Related wikiHows


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[Edit]References


[Edit]Quick Summary



↑ https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171201090940.htm


↑ https://www.health.harvard.edu/aging/4-tricks-to-rev-up-your-memory


↑ https://www.psypost.org/2015/10/repeating-things-aloud-to-another-person-boosts-memory-recall-study-finds-38214


↑ https://www.apa.org/science/about/psa/2005/02/suzuki


↑ https://www.psychologistworld.com/memory/association


↑ https://www.health.harvard.edu/aging/4-tricks-to-rev-up-your-memory


↑ https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/healthy-aging/in-depth/memory-loss/art-20046518


↑ https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/4-ways-to-improve-focus-and-memory


↑ https://news.stanford.edu/2009/08/24/multitask-research-study-082409/


↑ https://www.npr.org/2016/04/17/474525392/attention-students-put-your-laptops-away


↑ https://www.medicaldaily.com/why-using-pen-and-paper-not-laptops-boosts-memory-writing-notes-helps-recall-concepts-ability-268770


↑ https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/were-only-human/ink-on-paper-some-notes-on-note-taking.html


↑ https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/24/well/move/exercise-brain-memory-fitness-cognitive.html


↑ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3393816/


↑ https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0010027718302658?via%3Dihub


↑ https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25483019/


↑ https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/94528/joms1078.pdf?sequence=1


↑ https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/14/study-new-experiences-and-scenery-can-boost-your-well-being.html


↑ http://psychology.usf.edu/faculty/data/ddiamond/Research_on_Why_Parents_Forget_Children_in_Hot_Cars.pdf


↑ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5107567/


↑ https://hub.jhu.edu/2014/01/12/caffeine-enhances-memory/


↑ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5107567/


↑ https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26970578/


↑ https://neuro.hms.harvard.edu/harvard-mahoney-neuroscience-institute/brain-newsletter/and-brain/sugar-and-brain


↑ https://today.oregonstate.edu/archives/2015/jun/fat-sugar-cause-bacterial-changes-may-relate-loss-cognitive-function


↑ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5930973/


↑ https://www.health.harvard.edu/topics/improving-memory


↑ https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/healthy-aging/in-depth/memory-loss/art-20046518


↑ https://aansneurosurgeon.org/playing-3d-video-games-may-boost-memory-formation/


↑ https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/can_mindfulness_improve_your_bad_memory


↑ https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/meditation-may-help-you-catch-mental-mistakes


↑ https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2019/05/414596/algorithm-tailors-digital-meditation-program-improves-attention-and-memory


↑ https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/meditation/in-depth/meditation/art-20045858


↑ https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/regular-exercise-changes-brain-improve-memory-thinking-skills-201404097110


↑ https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/healthy-aging/in-depth/memory-loss/art-20046518


↑ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5107567/


↑ http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/benefits-of-sleep/learning-memory


↑ https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/healthy-aging/in-depth/memory-loss/art-20046518


↑ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3413705/


↑ http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/benefits-of-sleep/learning-memory


↑ https://www.apa.org/science/about/psa/2016/06/learning-memory


↑ https://www.apa.org/science/about/psa/2016/06/learning-memory


↑ https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/social-sciences/memory-retrieval


↑ https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1053810015001518



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