There are some days where you feel like you’ve come down in the last shower; you can’t remember a thing, and you feel like you’re losing your mind. No, just me? Well, there are some days where our memory feels shot, and we need to improve it. Here are some ways you can improve your memory retention and recall, naturally.
With regular exercise comes a sharper mind. Any physical activity that requires hand-eye coordination can sharpen the mind, as well as preventing fatigue throughout the day.
Sleeping is one of the most important activities of the day, as it not only replenishes any of the activity that your brain went through in the day. Sleep, especially in stages 3 and 4 of NREM, helps your brain restore itself, which can aid in your memory. When you head to sleep, make sure you’re sleeping on something comfortable, so add a bamboo mattress topper on your existing bed to aid in sleep function. You should also avoid any blue lights, emitted by your TV, phone, and computer before you sleep, as the light reduces the level of melatonin (the hormone that makes you sleepy) in your body. Make sure you’re sleeping for seven to nine hours a day, to ensure maximum memory retention.
If you need to recall certain information for an exam or a test, there are some tools that you can use to recall the information in the setting. There are many types of mnemonic devices, which can aid in the recall of information.
- Visual Image: Associate a visual image with the information you’re trying to recall.
- Acrostic: A sentence, where the first letter of each word in the sentence represents a part of or the initials of the information you’re trying to recall. An example of this is Never Eat Soggy Weetbix (North, South, East, West).
- Acronym: An acronym is a word that is made up of the first letter of the information that you’re trying to recall, that can be read as an actual word. An example of this is SCUBA (Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus). This is not to be confused with initialism, where the first letter of the information you’re trying to recall doesn’t make a legible word, but rather a collection of letters, e.g. ABC (Australian Broadcast Corporation).
- Alliteration: Create a rhyme that can help you retain the information. An example of this could be “Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November.” It can be something silly, but it will stick in your mind.
- Chunking: If you’re trying to recall a large number, such as pi or a phone number, an easy way to recall it is by breaking it up into a bunch of numbers, rather than trying to recall the whole thing. An example of this could be recalling “123 456 789” as three separate entities, rather than “123456789” as one large chunk.
Avoid Stress As Much As Possible
Easier said than done, I know, but stress can often play a vital role in the creation and retention of memory. With chronic stress, the hippocampus, the area of the brain that forms and retrieves memories, can become damaged. Stress, according to certain studies, have also been linked to memory loss. Ensure that you lower your stress levels by practicing meditation, setting realistic expectations of your daily tasks, and if you need to, speak to a psychologist. Whilst you’re sitting on your plush office chair, try deep breathing, so you can focus your energy on getting the task done, rather than letting it boil inside.
Improving your memory isn’t something that can be done overnight, but there are some ways you can improve it little by little, day by day. With some small daily exercises, plenty of sleep and avoiding stress, you can maintain your memory and your information recall.