“Every experience in your life is being orchestrated to teach you something you need to know to move forward.” – Brian Tracy
In our day to day lives, we are constantly bombarded with new experiences. Some which we will cherish forever and others which we would like to forget. But, at the end of the day, everything comes back to the one term known to everyone i.e Memory.
Memories have a fundamental and vital role to play in our lives. It helps us to reflect onto the past, and use that as a basis for our present and future experiences. In order to retain some of the experiences we encounter, we need to constantly store them in the “Mind”. Here are 13 quick hacks to improve your memory, and make sure you remember everything at a snap! Be sure to try some of them, and they are applicable to every person irrespective of their field!.
1) Pay attention
Being attentive is one of the key aspects for memory. In simple terms, it is essential to attend to the information, so that you can store it in your memory. The best way to do this is by getting rid of all the distractions such as social networking sites, laptop etc.
2) Picture It
There are different types of learners, and this varies from individual to individual. If you are a visual learner, this is the best method for you! Try visualising the concepts, and draw pictures to understand the topic or information better. While reading any text, pay close attention to charts, diagrams etc. Another way to visualise information is mind maps. Mind maps are graphical representations of key concepts. Your mind maps should be designed in a way you can understand. So grab your favourite highlighters, markers and pens, and make remembering information fun !
3) Repeat and Repeat
There is a famous saying that “Practice makes a man perfect”. That is very true! Constant rehearsal of information is one of the best forms of retaining information. When you constantly learn and practice information, there is a better possibility for that information to retain and be recalled in the future. So, the lesson learned here is the more you practice, the better it stays!
4) Chunk it down
Chunking information, in its basic sense, is breaking down information into smaller parts i.e. chunks. George Miller, a famous psychologist, created a concept called the Magical Number 7. In this, it is concluded that we, human beings, can remember approximately 7 items in our Short Term Memory. An example of a situation where chunking is commonly used is in remembering telephone numbers. Many people tend to break phone numbers into 3 or 4 chunks depending upon the number of digits. This helps them to remember the number better.
5) Use Keywords
Another helpful method to remember information is in terms of its keywords. Keywords explain the main idea conveyed through the information. Remembering these points help us to understand the main motive of the message. But how do we identify these keywords? Key words are often highlighter or bolded, to ensure they stand out from the rest of the text, as they have a greater importance.
6) Teach it
Scientifically, it is proven that when we teach information to others, we tend to remember it much better. This can be either reading aloud, or explaining to your friends. But, what if you are all alone and you need help? Well, don’t worry. We got you covered. Grab all your stuffed animals, and create a playful yet productive environment for all of us!
7) Use Mnemonics
There are a lot of mnemonic devices, but everything has one thing in common! They all help us to remember more complicated and sophisticated pieces of information. Singing a song, acronyms, abbreviations, and rhymes are some of the plethora of options available. But, remember one thing. Memorising is subjective, so choose what works best for you! A classic example of Rhymes and Memory is the song for remembering the months as shown below.
Thirty days hath September
April, June and November
All the rest have thirty one
Save February,, with twenty days clear
And twenty-nine each leap year.
8) Connect the dots
The best way to remember information is to constantly make associations with what we had learnt. You can do this by connecting or relating information to something which we already know, and thus, this helps us to remember it much more effectively. It is better to take a trip down memory lane!.
9) Relax, Relax, Relax
Did you know that mediation actually helps to improve memory? But how? Research has concluded that people with no experiences in mindfulness meditation can improve their memory in just 8 weeks! It helps us to concentrate and focus, therefore strengthen our mind.
Regular exercise helps to improve memory recall. It boosts our cognitive abilities, and stay attentive and sharp, as it increases oxygen supply to your brain. Physical fitness and exercise enhances the effect of beneficial brain chemicals, and reduces stress. Try aerobic exercises, or just a simple jog, and you are all set for a productive day ahead.
11) Get a good night’s rest
The most essential tip for a good memory is sleep. Sleep is scientifically proven to one of the most important elements in having a good memory. Sleep helps in memory consolidation which is a process where in short term memories are strengthened into long-lasting memories. Try taking a small nap, and you will definitely see a great difference in learning and retaining information.
12) Eat brain food
We all know what are the crucial foods necessary for a healthy diet. But just as the body needs fuel, so does the brain. Eating healthy keeps your mind and body perfect in shape looking sharp always! Examples of brain food are foods rich in omega-3 such as fish, kidney beans, broccoli, spinach etc. Drink green tea, as it may enhance memory and make you alert.
13) Add some Cocoa to your Diet
Chocolate is everyone’s favourite. But did you know that something as delicious as chocolate can be nutritious. Chocolate contains a powerful dose of antioxidants called flavonoids. They help to stimulate the growth of blood vessels and neurons, and increase the blood flow to the memory parts of the brain. So the next time you have a big test coming up, eat a nibble of dark chocolate with 70% cocoa, and you will surely do well!