A spectacular memory will always be a highly valuable quality for anyone to gain. However, some people make the mistake of not memorizing things after they finish school. As a result, their ability to recall important information dwindles.
Moreover, it’s a highly competitive world out there. If you’ve only studied the same subjects everyone else has, you won’t stand out. So, it’s best if you continue learning throughout life.
Even more, a good memory is essential for you to remember what you study. Otherwise, you’ll waste lots of time struggling to learn new concepts only to forget them afterward.
Overall, life runs smoother when you can remember crucial information. Plus, you’ll keep your brain in top shape and always have a wealth of knowledge at your disposal!
It’s important to realize that you can improve your memory at any age! So, let’s get started!
The following scientifically proven methods will give your memory an upgrade:
1. Challenge your memory with something new
“I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”
– Pablo Picasso
You can improve your memory by learning new things. Your brain is like a muscle because it gets stronger with exercise. When you’re learning something new, you’re giving your mind the challenge it needs to develop.
So, ask yourself, what have you’ve always wanted to learn? Choose something new and challenging. It should also be rewarding and allow you to progress from novice to expert.
For example, learn a new language, photography, guitar, or take martial arts classes. Try anything you haven’t done before, and that isn’t too easy because you have to push yourself to grow. After you master it, move on to something new.
2. Study less, quiz more
“The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.”
– Albert Einstein
If you want to learn something, test yourself more than you study. Research proves that taking a quiz helps you absorb more information than reading or writing!
When you keep asking your brain question, it has to find where it’s stored. Then it’s easier to remember where to retrieve it the next time.
3. Upgrade your memory while you sleep
“Change is the end result of all true learning.”
― Leo Buscaglia
While you sleep, your brain is hard at work cleaning and storing memories. Research shows that if you take a nap after you study, you’ll remember more and learn faster. Furthermore, during sleep, your brain performs necessary maintenance and memory-building.
However, sleep-deprivation diminishes your memory, problem-solving, creativity, and critical thinking abilities.
4. Build your memory in small bursts
“Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.”
– Oliver Wendell Holmes
Research shows that if you study in small bursts, you’ll remember more than if you crammed it all at once. When you have breaks between short learning sessions, you have the time to process and store the information. Also, it helps to space them out.
So, you can’t dump staggering amounts of knowledge into your brain and absorb everything. You need time to marinate and soak it all in beforehand.
In one experiment, researchers had participants study a subject. Then they sat in a quiet, dark room for a few minutes.
Afterward, they took tests to see how much they remembered, and the results were shocking. Their recall increased from 10% to 30%!
Furthermore, this even worked for people who had traumatic brain injuries. In fact, their results soared from 7% to a jaw-dropping 79%! So, take breaks!
5. Teach someone else
“Explain what you learned to someone else. Teaching forces learning.”
– Naval Ravikant
One of the best ways to learn something is to teach it to someone else. It might sound strange, but this helps you understand and remember the information when you explain it to others. As a result, you end up teaching yourself also!
Otherwise, you can explain it to yourself by writing it down.
6. Calm down
“Study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in.”
— Leonardo da Vinci
Stress damages your memory by deteriorating your hippocampus, and that’s where you store and retrieve memories.
The hippocampus is like a secretary that stores, sorts, and retrieves memory files for you. It has an essential job to do, so it must be at its best. Otherwise, how are you going to access the memory file? Thus, it’s almost useless to try learning things when you’re stressed out. Oddly enough, college tends to be one of the most stressful times in life.
7. Try mindfulness meditation
Therefore, whenever you feel those familiar stress chemicals rising, try mindfulness meditation. It will calm you down and strengthen your hippocampus.
Meditation is easy! First, sit somewhere comfortable and close your eyes. Next, focus only on the present moment and your breathing. If you get distracted with a thought, then let it pass and return your attention to your breath. Repeat as necessary. Voila!
8. Improve memory with mnemonic devices
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
– Benjamin Franklin
Don’t let the name scare you; mnemonic devices are simple methods to help you remember information. Mnemonics work by linking new concepts to something you’re familiar with already. For instance, you can use rhymes to recall facts you usually couldn’t.
Other kinds of mnemonic devices are:
- The count system (linking numbers with a series of items)
- The major system (converting numbers into consonant sounds)
- Visual systems (creating a visual representation of the information)
- The mnemonic link system (creating a story based on a list)
So, if you’re a visual learner, then visualize the concepts you’re trying to learn.
“A memory is made up of pieces of information taken in and processed by the brain in a way that is unique to each individual.”
― David Thomas
Your visual memory is much more powerful than you might think. Take advantage of this by spending extra time looking at graphs, photos, or infographics of the topic. Also, visualize the information as you read, then draw it later. Flashcards are great memory-boosters too.
9. Mix it up
“As long as you live, keep learning how to live.”
When you change where you study, you stimulate your memory to work more effectively. If you move to another area to learn, you’ll remember more information. Also, try studying at different times.
In short, if you practice the above techniques, you’ll build a remarkable ability to remember what you’ve been trying to learn. You’ve also got to believe that you can remember what you study.
When you have a fine-tuned memory, it’ll be easier to learn things, and you’ll be calmer and more productive!
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