Today, there’s so much information that is thrown at us that it’s impossible to absorb everything.
Think about how powerful it would be to memorize the information you want to learn faster. You’d probably be wiser, achieve faster results, and lead a higher quality of life, right?
This is why it’s critical that we learn how to improve your memory and memorize information faster, whether we’re learning a new language, a new skill, or simply wanting to improve our knowledge.
But first, we need to know what’s preventing us from improving our memory...
Why the memory deteriorates
In our culture, we have been taught that as we get older, our memory inevitably deteriorates.
This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as those who believe this will work less to improve their memory functions.
The truth is, our brains are capable of producing new brain cells at any age to improve our cognitive skills, prevent our memory loss, and protect our grey matter in the hippocampus.
Like any skill or parts of our body, we must either use it or lose it.
In fact, the majority of the reason why most people face memory loss is due to a lack of concentration. Think about the last time you entered a room when you had a million things on your mind, and you forgot what you were even doing there. Or forgotten someone’s name at an event because you were distracted when the person introduced himself.
Just remember that multi-tasking equals memory loss.
This is why you’ll also find those who suffer from depression or anxiety have a harder time remembering things.
How to improve your memory
1. Give it meaning
A study was done where a researcher shows two people the same photograph of a face and tells one of them that the guy is a baker and the other that his last name is Baker. After a few days, the researcher shows the same two subjects the same photograph and asks for the associating word.
The person who was told that the man was a “baker” remembered it much more easily.Why? The reason was meaning.
When you hear “baker” your brain associates more network of ideas of what it means to be a baker. He cooks break, wears a big white hat, and it’s a visual representation that most of us are familiar with. Baker on the other hand, is tougher unless you already have a friend or colleague with that name.
This theory known as the Baker/baker paradox, teaches us that we should train ourselves to translate more meaning into information we want to make memorable.
2. Exercise that body!
If you want to know how to improve your memory -- you need to move!
You’ll rarely find anyone with memory disfunctions who dedicates their lives to physical health. The reason is, exercise enhances blood circulation and oxygen to our brain, giving it more life and functionality.
This study supports this that even 150 minutes of walking per week will reduce the risk of developing dementia and age-related memory loss.
As an added benefit, exercise is known to release dopamines in our bodies which reduces depression and stress, two major causes of memory loss.
3. Train your mind
Many of us can recognize the visual benefits of training our bodies, but we often forget to train our minds. While the before and after results are not as clear, there is no doubt that mind exercises can significantly enhance our memories and reduce brain-related diseases.
Instead of watching Game of Thrones several hours a day, we can learn a new skill, play brain training games, or even play chess with a friend. The rule of thumb is, if you need to take a mental break from the activity, it’s good training for the brain.
Here are some ideas to thrill your brain:
- Learn a new language
- Play a new board game you’ve never played before
- Take a new course in an unfamiliar subject
- Learn a new instrument you’ve been putting off
- Read a book that challenges your beliefs
4. Teach it to someone else
Throughout our education, we’ve been taught to listen (to a lecture) and write down notes in order to memorize the information.
But how many times have you taught something to someone, or immediately applied what you learn?
As research shows, it turns out that people retain:
5% of what they learn when they’ve learned from a lecture.10% of what they learn when they’ve learned from reading. 20% of what they learn from audio-visual.30% of what they learn when they see a demonstration50% of what they learn when engaged in a group discussion.75% of what they learn when they practice what they learned.90% of what they learn when they teach someone else/use immediately.
This means that the way we’ve been taught to remember information is the least effective way to learn!
If we want to memorize anything faster, the trick is to teach someone else or apply it in your life immediately. The reason is that this forces our brain to concentrate in order to prevent ourselves from making mistakes while showing others or using it ourselves.
The next time you want to remember something, don’t just write it down.Teach it to someone!
This step is perhaps the most important, but one that most of us take for granted.
And while we understand the benefits of getting a good night’s sleep before a big event, we don’t take the time to rest our brains after the event. The reason is, our brain needs rest in order to process all the information that it took in during the day.
Taking short breaks is also important to give your brain the bandwidth to process what you’ve learned. Just remember to put yourself in a distraction-free environment when doing so. This could be going for a long walk or hike at your local park, so simply taking a quick nap.
If you’re one of the few who think naps won’t do you any good, then look at the historical figures that took regular naps to nourish their brains, including Thomas Edison, Leonardo Di Vinci, and John F. Kennedy.
Over to you
What’s on this list that you’re not taking action on?What have you tried here on how to improve your memory in the past?Share it below for others to see!