Method of improving memory
Science-Backed Memory Tips and Recall Techniques
Memory plays an essential role in everyday life, enabling us to learn about the world around us and adapt accordingly. We use memory in every moment, whether it be for remembering our clients’ first names, studying for a nursing school exam, or countless other aspects of our work and life.
Information we take in goes through the three stages of memory: encoding, storage, and retrieval. The encoding process converts information into a construct stored in the brain. Then the information is stored as either a long-term memory or short-term memory. Finally, information is available to be retrieved from storage.
There are several ways to facilitate this process, protect against memory decline, and enhance our ability to retain information. Below, we outline strategies for boosting brain health, as well as specific techniques for memorizing and recalling information.
Tips for Memory Improvement
The best way to protect and improve memory is by making good lifestyle choices: exercising regularly, limiting stress, eating healthfully, and getting enough sleep. You can also keep the mind agile by learning a foreign language or playing brain training games to improve thinking skills and short-term memory.
- Exercise regularly: Exercise is one of the best things you can do to protect your memory. Regular aerobic exercise (cardio) appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the area of the brain involved in verbal memory and learning. Regular exercise can also help you maintain a healthy weight, reduce stress, and sleep better, all of which are related to memory.
- Limit stress: Meditation and mindfulness are also great ways to reduce stress and improve sleep. Meditation has been shown to improve episodic memory, the memory of everyday events.
- Be conscious of what you consume: Not surprisingly, what you put into your body can also affect your memory. Consuming a balanced diet that includes healthy fats and natural sugar (glucose)—and limits saturated fat, refined sugar, and alcohol—may be best for promoting long-term memory function.
- Sleep: Sleep is critical, as it plays a role in consolidating of memories. Also, a lack of sleep can impair an individual’s ability to concentrate. You can improve sleep by exercising regularly, engaging in mindfulness/meditation, limiting alcohol, and avoiding caffeine in the afternoon and evening.
8 Memory Techniques for Retaining Information
When studying for an exam, preparing a presentation, or getting ready to deliver a speech, you will likely need to memorize information.
Before you start preparing, you can do several things to set yourself up for success. Try to avoid distractions while you’re studying, plan ahead so you don’t need to cram, and take study breaks. Evidence suggests that studying shortly before going to sleep, as well as sleeping between learning sessions, can help people retain information.
Below are 8 science-backed techniques for retaining information and improving recall and memory performance.
1. Organize the information
Start by outlining the information you will need to recall. Creating a detailed, but organized outline of the information allows you to highlight and focus on important concepts.
A useful organization strategy is the chunking method, which breaks down large amounts of information into smaller, logical units that are easy to understand. For example, when learning a foreign language, you can list vocabulary words in functional groups such as household items, animals, and occupations. Chunking is a valuable tool for memorization.
2. Make associations
Creating associations by drawing on existing knowledge is another helpful way to memorize information. You can create mental images and connect with sounds, smells, and tastes to help encode memories.
The Baker/baker paradox tells us that if two individuals are to remember that someone’s last name is Baker, they are much more likely to do so if they picture the person as a professional baker (i. e., Mr. Baker wearing a chef’s hat). This is why developing a story is a powerful way to retain information. For example, if you want to remember that a client’s name is Sandy, you might picture her walking along a beach.
3. Use visual cues
Using visual tools such as concept maps, graphs, illustrations, and photos can be beneficial for learning. Graphs and charts also simplify information, making it easier to comprehend and later recall.
This method can be beneficial to visual learners, meaning individuals who better conceptualize information they can see. It’s also a great technique for presenters who can use visuals in their slide deck as retrieval cues.
Aside from being a great memory technique for retaining information, visual cues are also great for boosting spatial memory. Research has shown that visual cues have helped spatial navigation among AD and MCI patients.
4. Create mnemonics
Using mnemonic devices, such as acronyms, acrostics, and rhymes, is a good way to memorize information long-term. For example, do you remember what year Columbus landed in America? You likely do if you ever learned the rhyme, “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” So if you need to remember a series of numbers for work, you might consider coming up with a creative rhyme.
For more visual learners, another mnemonic device you can use is building a memory palace. A memory palace is an imaginary place (it can be a house or a familiar venue) where you can store mnemonic images. The idea behind this is you take a journey in your mind to recall the information. Some contestants in the World Memory Championship would even incorporate a story method with their memory palace.
5. Write it down
It turns out that some things are just better done the old-fashioned way. Researchers have found that writing down information by hand is more effective than typing for learning concepts. Because it takes longer to write by hand, you are naturally forced to be more selective with what you write and focus only on the key information. In fact, less is more when it comes to note taking. One study showed that the more words students wrote down verbatim when note taking, the worse they performed on recall tests.
6. Say it out loud
When you need to remember new information, it’s helpful to read it aloud. One study determined that the dual action of speaking and hearing ourselves talk helps get words and phrases into long-term memory. This study, among others, confirms that memory benefits from active involvement.
7. Engage in active recall
Testing yourself forces you to pull information from your memory. Flashcards are a great way to self-test. Studies show that retrieval practice can greatly enhance recollection than simply restudying materials. This is likely a very effective way to commit things to memory because of the significant extra effort involved.
Practice really does make perfect. Rehearse information over and over, either by writing it down or reading it aloud.
Studies suggest that spaced repetition—spacing out learning over a longer period of time—is a more effective way to memorize information than trying to “cram” a lot of information into your brain over a short period of time.
All of these memory techniques are not only backed up by science, but even memory champions can attest to their efficacy. Even if you aren’t a memory athlete, these memorization techniques can help you at school or at work. Check out our posts on effective study techniques and learning from home for further information.
Indeed Editorial Team. Indeed. “Nurse Practitioner vs. Family Nurse Practitioner: Definitions and How They Differ.” May 13, 2021. https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/fnp-vs-np. Accessed: January 26, 2022
Karpicke, Jeffrey D. and Henry L. Roediger III. “The Critical Importance of Retrieval for Learning.” Science 319, no. 5865 (February 2008): 966–968. doi: 10.1126/science.1152408.
Trafton, Anne. “In the blink of an eye.” MIT News. January 16, 2014. https://news.mit.edu/2014/in-the-blink-of-an-eye-0116. Accessed: January 26, 2022
8 techniques to improve memory
Most people have occasional lapses in memory, such as forgetting a new acquaintance’s name or misplacing the car keys.
Most of the time, this is simply a sign that a person is a bit too busy or is preoccupied. On the other hand, having a consistently poor memory can be problematic for someone.
Many factors play a role in memory loss, including genetics, age, and medical conditions that affect the brain. There are also some manageable risk factors for memory loss, such as diet and lifestyle.
While not all memory loss is preventable, people may be able to take measures to protect the brain against cognitive decline as they age.
In this article, learn about eight techniques to try to help improve your memory.Share on PinterestThere are many brain training activities online that may help improve a person’s memory.
In a similar way to muscles, the brain needs regular use to stay healthy. Mental workouts are just as essential to gray matter as other factors, and challenging the mind can help it grow and expand, which may improve memory.
A large trial from the journal PLoS One found that people who did just 15 minutes of brain training activities at least 5 days a week had improvements in brain function.
The participants’ working memory, short term memory, and problem solving skills all significantly improved when researchers compared them to a control group doing crossword puzzles.
The researchers used brain training activities from the website Lumosity. The challenges work on a person’s ability to recall details and quickly memorize patterns.
Physical exercise has a direct impact on brain health. As the author of research in the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation notes, regular exercise reduces the risk of cognitive decline with age and protects the brain against degeneration.
The results of a 2017 study suggest that aerobic exercise can improve memory function in people with early Alzheimer’s disease. The control group did nonaerobic stretching and toning.
Aerobic exercise increases a person’s heart rate and can include any of these activities:
- brisk walking
- cross-country skiing
Share on PinterestResearch suggests that meditation may cause long term changes in the brain that improve memory.
Mindfulness meditation may help improve memory. The authors of a 2018 research paper note that many studies show meditation improves brain function, reduces markers of brain degeneration, and improves both working memory and long term memory.
The researchers observed the brains of people who regularly practiced meditation and those who did not.
Their results indicated that making a habit of meditating may cause long term changes in the brain, including increasing brain plasticity, which helps keep it healthy.
Learn about a variety of different meditation types and how to do them in this article.
Sleep is vital for overall brain health. Disrupting the body’s natural sleep cycle can lead to cognitive impairments, as this interrupts the processes the brain uses to create memories.
Getting a full night’s rest, typically about 7–9 hours a night for an adult, helps the brain create and store long term memories.
Sugary foods can taste delicious and feel rewarding at first, but they may play a role in memory loss. Research from 2017 in animal models noted that a diet high in sugary drinks has a link to Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers also found that drinking too many sugary drinks, including fruit juice, may have a connection a lower total brain volume, which is an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease.
Avoiding extra sugar may help combat this risk. While naturally sweet foods, such as fruits, are a good addition to a healthful diet, people can avoid drinks sweetened with sugar and foods with added, processed sugars.
Along with cutting out sources of excess sugar, reducing overall caloric intake may also help protect the brain.
Researchers note that high calorie diets can impair memory and lead to obesity. The effects on memory may be due to how high calorie diets lead to inflammation in particular parts of the brain.
While most research in this area has been with animals, a study from 2009 looked at whether restricting calories in humans could improve memory.
Female participants with an average age of 60.5 years reduced their calorie intake by 30%. The researchers found that they had a significant improvement in verbal memory scores and that the benefit was most significant in those who stuck to the diet best.
Caffeine from sources such as coffee or green tea may be helpful for the memory.
The authors of a 2014 study found that consuming caffeine after a memory test boosted how well participants’ brain stored memories long term.
People who took 200 milligrams of caffeine scored better on recall tests after 24 hours than people who did not take caffeine.
Caffeine may also boost memory in the short term. A study in Frontiers in Psychology found that young adults who took caffeine in the morning had improved short term memory.
This insight might be useful for individuals who have to take tests or recall information during a time of day when they may otherwise be tired.
Eating dark chocolate sounds like an indulgence, but it may also improve a person’s memory. The results of a 2011 study suggest that cocoa flavonoids, which are the active compounds in chocolate, help boost brain function.
People who ate dark chocolate performed better on spatial memory tests than those who did not. The researchers noted that cocoa flavonoids improved the blood flow to the brain.
With that said, it is important not to add more sugar to the diet, and so people should aim for at least 72% cacao content in dark chocolate and avoid chocolate with added sugar.
Share on PinterestExercising regularly may help keep the mind sharp.
Some people may be more prone to memory impairment than others due to a range of risk factors.
There are risk factors a person has no control over, such as genetics. Some people may be more predisposed to conditions, such as Alzheimer’s, which greatly affect the brain and memory.
In other cases, a person may be able to reduce the risk of memory impairment. Eating a diet high in refined sugar and fats and leading a sedentary lifestyle may increase the risk of memory loss.
Eating a rounded, healthful diet and exercising regularly may contribute to keeping the mind sharp and reduce memory loss.
Many techniques for improving memory can be beneficial for a person’s overall health and well-being. For example, practicing mindfulness meditation may not only make a person less forgetful but can also reduce stress.
Even adding one or two memory boosting practices to a person’s daily routine may help them keep their brain healthy and protect it from memory loss.
Simple tips to improve memory
Doctor-neurologist of the highest qualification category Sergienko Maria Evgenievna: “Use simple tips to improve memory”
— The brain is something amazing. Much of his work is still a mystery. The functioning of individual cells is fairly well explained, but understanding how the brain functions as a whole as a result of the interaction of billions of neurons is only available in a very simplified form and requires further in-depth research. nine0003
Yes, there are about 86 billion neurons in the human brain, which form numerous connections. Our brain remembers everything that it passed by, that it "smelled", heard, touched, tasted - any information leaves an imprint.
The brain is not a sieve, and nothing disappears from it without a trace. Simply put, the brain does not forget the information that we consume, just if we do not use it, then it is, as it were, in the "Delayed" folder and is not realized by us. In order for us to remember and be aware, the brain needs to form neural connections to this information, and for this the brain must work constantly and hard. The information received in one way or another affects our thoughts, emotions, actions. nine0003
Therefore, it is important to read difficult literature, listen to good music, not eat anything, and not associate with people with whom communication does not bring any benefit or joy.
The brain is plastic not only in childhood, as previously thought. It has been proven that it forms new neural connections for the rest of its life. Any work, except boring and routine, benefits the brain. The main thing is to deal with constantly changing, complex information. This is how we can delay Alzheimer's for years to come.
It's safe to say that our personality is our memory.
If you find yourself having difficulty remembering new information, try these simple tips to improve your memory:
1. Use mnemonic techniques. For example, to remember the sequence of colors in the spectrum, we use the phrase "every hunter wants to know where the pheasant is sitting." Repetitions play an important role in memorization; neural connections are formed precisely as a result of repetitions. nine0003
2. Consciously control the memorization process. If a person is introduced to you, say their name to yourself and tell yourself to remember it.
3. Find motivation. Imagine how this information will be useful to you.
4. Refer to associations (Cicero's method). Its essence is that the units of information that you need to remember are mentally placed in a familiar room in a certain order. It is enough to remember the room to reproduce the information. nine0003
5. Learn foreign languages - this develops associative thinking.
6. Remember phone numbers, for starters, people who are important and close to you. The main thing is to keep the information for at least a few days.
7. Play blocks. This is how the memory and attention of pilots, chess players, and intelligence officers are trained. Several cubes (for starters 2-3) are placed on the table, covered with a hand, then the palm is raised for a few seconds, and then covered again and all the numbers on the cubes are called. Gradually, the number of cubes can be increased. nine0003
8. Follow the chain. A person keeps his attention on an object as long as he is interested in it and as long as he finds something new in it. Then attention weakens and switches.
The essence of the exercise: imagine some object and keep the thought on it, for example, on a laptop. In a couple of minutes, you will no longer be thinking about the laptop itself, but about the model, manufacturer, etc. (each person has his own logical chain). At the moment when you realize that you are no longer thinking about this subject, you need to go back along the chain, remembering each link and, as a result, return to the original subject. The exercise helps in almost any field of knowledge, taking into account any specifics. nine0003
9. Examine your consciousness. Scrolling through the events of the previous day in your memory, remember the details and nuances. In this way, you train the ability to keep your attention constantly on and you can easily restore the chain of events and memorize new information in great detail.
10. Disconnect from problems. Exhausting work and lack of sleep damage memory. Arrange “free days” for yourself, which are better spent outdoors. Attend interesting events and do not forget about physical exercises. nine0003
11. Learn verses…
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8 ways to improve your memory | RBC Style
Remembering the name of an actor or finding the keys left in the evening can sometimes be difficult. Retrieving the information you need from memory takes a lot of effort. Forgetting is a natural process that is designed to unload the nervous system from unclaimed information, to protect it from overstrain. But increased forgetfulness can significantly complicate life. It can be caused by lack of sleep, stress, addictions, or information overload. nine0003
If this problem is not related to injury or illness, it is possible to solve it on your own. Memory can be developed and improved like any other ability. To activate its potential, regular classes are necessary, as in sports or music. And vice versa - in their absence, the ability of the brain to memorize will decrease. We talk about the most effective ways that will help strengthen memory and improve brain function.
1. Create associations and visualizations
Remembering something new will be easier if you connect the unknown with the knowledge you already have. The essence of the association method is to combine the known and the unknown into a single story, to mark new information with familiar markers. So the information received can be easily remembered and quickly reproduced at the right time. With the help of associative parallels, it is easy to learn road signs, passwords and dates, phone numbers and credit cards.
In 1980, the Olympic Games opened in Moscow, and 600 years before that, the Battle of Kulikovo took place. The number 5813 can be represented as a numerical expression 5+8=13. In this case, images are remembered even more efficiently. It is better if they are unusual and even absurd. For example, the figure eight resembles a woman with large hips and voluminous breasts, and the number five resembles a circus unicycle. Mentally draw a plump lady who buys such a bike and rides it around the city. nine0003
Such illustrations should be large, voluminous, in color and as detailed as possible. The skill of coding into visual images is trained and quickly automated. In the future, it will not be difficult to restore in memory both these images and the meaning that is embedded in them. Once again, putting the keys in one place or another, imagine how a flower blooms here. In the morning you will definitely not forget exactly where the flower grew in your house, and you will quickly find the right thing.
© Master Wen/Unsplash
2. Learn poetry and read aloud
A time-honored method is memorizing poems. This is not about mindless cramming, but about understanding the meaning, its conscious perception. Make it a rule to study one short piece every week. Gradually increase the amount of material. It will be easier to remember it if it is divided into several parts in advance and taught in quatrains. You can do this anywhere: at lunch, while walking or in transport. Don't be afraid of lots of repetitions. Over time, you will notice how it takes less and less time to memorize. nine0003
The effect will be even better if you take the works of those authors whose collections do not arouse your interest. To learn such verses, more strength is required. Try to delve deeply into their content and reflect on the artistic techniques that the author used. Poetry can be recited in front of a mirror or written down from memory. It is equally helpful to read aloud. This improves diction, intonation and develops auditory memory. If you don't like poetry, learn the lyrics.
© Kinga Cichewicz/Unsplash
3. Try to remember what you forgot
You don't have to take a shopping list before you go shopping. On the one hand, such a list will help not to miss anything and at the same time not to buy too much. On the other hand, its absence will have a positive effect on the state of memory. Don't buy something this time - there will be an incentive to better remember the items from the list and keep them in your head for the next trip. Forgot someone's name, phone number, password, or ingredients in a recipe? Try to remember. Take the time and take a few minutes to do this, instead of looking for the answer in your smartphone or address book. This is great for enhancing memory. nine0003
© Andrej Lisakov/Unsplash
4. Learn foreign languages
You can learn poems and songs not only in your native language. If you don't know a foreign language, start learning it. This is one of the best ways to activate brain cells and expand your memory capacity. If you memorize a few words every day, then after a couple of months you can feel a noticeable result. Learning a new language develops the ability to structure, analyze and remember information. In addition, it is a good prevention of age-related diseases. For example, Alzheimer's disease. The most popular way to memorize foreign vocabulary is cards with words and expressions. This technique is based just on visual associations. nine0003
© Florencia Viadana/Unsplash
5. Recall the events of the day
Another way to activate memory is to plunge into the past day and remember all its events. Before going to bed, try to restore fragments of dialogues, images of people, their facial expressions and gestures, every phone call and meals that your diet consisted of. Try to recreate the sequence of all actions from the moment you wake up. Present these pictures in as much detail as possible. It is important to connect the imagination, visual, auditory and olfactory memory. nine0003
If it's boring to remember the day in the form of imaginary illustrations, start a diary and regularly describe events on paper. The same is recommended to be repeated with watched films. After the next movie show, scroll through the story in your head again. Remember not only the main points, but also the dialogues of the characters, the details of their clothes, the interiors of the filming locations. It is even more useful to retell the content of films, performances, read articles and books to your friends. This not only trains memory well, but also develops speech, enriches vocabulary. nine0003
© Erik Witsoe/Unsplash
6. Play mind games
It can be puzzles, chess, backgammon, sudoku, poker, various puzzles and puzzles. Intellectual games activate the brain, train memory and attention. It is equally important to perform memory exercises and reaction speed. Choose a complex that will be interesting and convenient for you. This approach will set you up for systematic execution and help you get results faster. Learned how to solve Japanese crosswords - switch to a new puzzle. The brain gets used to solving the same type of problems quickly enough. nine0003
Close your eyes and try to describe the location of all the objects in the room. Now throw a handful of matches on the table and look carefully to remember their order. After that, take a picture of the matches and mix. Your task is to recreate the composition. For the development of visual memory, it is useful from time to time to perform ordinary activities with a blindfold or closed ears. In addition, on the Internet you can find a lot of applications that are aimed at developing memory and attention. For example, the electronic version of the pictures "Find differences". nine0003
© Maarten van den Heuvel/Unsplash
7. Change your route
Always take the same route to work? Change route. Even if it is more convenient and shorter. The brain needs constant variety and new experiences to function. At the same time, try to mark around you any minor details, the clothes of passers-by, the filling of shop windows, signs, houses and shops. You can count the number of pigeons, red cars, or objects that begin with a certain letter. Non-standard actions, unusual sensations and smells provoke the emergence of new neural connections and affect the processes of memorization. nine0003
For the same reason, it is recommended to introduce new habits more often. Start brushing your teeth with the other hand, or do the traditional morning rituals in a different order. Traveling is no less useful for strengthening memory: try new dishes and products, discover unfamiliar places, visit exhibitions and museums, listen to new music more often. The processing and comprehension of such information from the brain will require additional resources. In addition to positive emotions and broadening one's horizons, such activities develop spatial memory. nine0003
© Marc Kleen/Unsplash
8. Live a Healthy Lifestyle
Fresh air, exercise and adequate sleep are essential factors for memory to function properly. Daily ventilation of rooms and walks in the fresh air saturate the blood with the necessary oxygen.