Most people think their ability to remember things is static – either you are good at it or you aren’t. Well, the good news is memory can be improved. Building your memory is like any skill you develop, it takes some effort and continual practice.
This next statement might seem obvious, but your memory is a function of the brain and anything that supports brain health will help boost memory too.
There are two types of memory, long-term and short-term. The short-term memory stores information you learn or need right away like the items you need to complete dinner. While long-term memory is the memory you don’t need to access right now but will access over time like birthdays and phone numbers.
Studies show that your short-term memory is capable of holding about seven items. As you keep filling your short-term memory with information something is going to be forgotten. And that explains forgetting one of the items on that short-term shopping list.
Are you ready to improve your memory? Here is an easy and effective memory exercise you can do right before bed that will help boost your brain power.
Simple Exercise to Boost Your Memory
At the end of your day while lying in bed but before lights out, review your entire day. Try to remember everything thing you did from the moment your feet hit the ground in the morning until you jumped into bed at night.
As you go through your day in chronological order, try to remember visually as many details as possible. Initially, you might be surprised how few details you remember. Over time, though, you will begin to remember more and more.
Of course, there are other brain-boosting exercises that will help improve your memory. Remember, anything you can do to improve your brain health will also improve your memory. Here are some more tips to help you remember better.
4 More Tips for Improving Your Memory
1. Use Your Senses
When you use as many senses as possible, memories can form more easily. When we are learning something new, it is helpful to notice what is seen, smelled, heard, touched and tasted. Of course, it is not always appropriate to use all the senses, but use as many as possible.
For instance when you are meeting someone and learning their name, shake their hand, look them in the eye and notice what is around you. What do you hear, is there music playing?
Using four of the five senses and creating a visual picture will help you cement the meeting into memory.
2. Chunk It Up
As mentioned earlier, our short-term memory can only hold seven pieces of information at a time. So how do we remember things that have more than seven pieces of information? We break it down into chunks of information.
Take a phone number for instance. Instead of seeing ten numbers, we break down into three separate chunks of information, the three-digit area code, the three-digit prefix and the four-digit number making it easier to remember.
Chunking works for all types of information, just divide the bigger picture into smaller chunks and memorize the chunks versus the individual pieces.
3. Repeat It
An obvious memorizing technique is to repeat the information over and over again until it is easily recalled. Most people repeat the item in a short period, but it has been proven that repetition spaced over a longer period is most effective. For optimal memorization, it is advised to repeat, wait a bit, repeat, wait a bit and repeat.
4. Form a Connection
It is easier to memorize when you associate information to other pieces of information you already have learned. Find some commonality between what you are learning and something you have already learned. Research has shown that memory for the new and already learned information is enhanced when you link them together and form a connection in your mind.
As an adult, the way we memorize, recall information and solve problems automatically happens because we have already established our mental habits. In order to continue to improve our memory, we must continue to stimulate our brain by developing new habits to keep the mind sharp.
The best thing anyone can do for their brain is to shake things up by trying new things, solving problems differently, taking different routes home and doing anything that forces you to put some thought into your actions. Keeping your brain sharp will help your memory.
Improving your memory is something anyone can achieve using some simple techniques and giving your brain a workout. Whether you are stay-at-home mom, working outside the home, a retired person, or a student, putting the time in now to enhance and build on your memory skills, will continue to serve you throughout all stages of life.