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Published on October 10, 2018

11 Best Tactics for Improving Your Memory Within a Month

11 Best Tactics for Improving Your Memory Within a Month

Over time your memory slips little by little, and the moments where you forget people’s names or can’t remember where you left your keys become more and more frequent.

It’s a natural process, and doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s something wrong with your brain. You just need to keep it active with regular exercises and stimulating activities!

With these 11 quick and effective tactics on improving memory, you’ll be able to remember more and learn new things a lot quicker in no time.

1. Stop multitasking

Being able to do a lot of things at the same time may seem like a really cool skill on paper. In reality though, multitasking for your memory is more of an annoying distraction than anything else.

Switching back and forth between two things disrupts your short term memory, making it near impossible to retain useful information. That’s why it’s so important to pay attention.

Be mindful, and try to focus on one thing at a time. When you’re trying to concentrate on multiple things at once, you’re not going to remember them nearly as well as you would if you paid attention to just one of them.

2. Don’t type – write it down

Writing something down instead of typing it can help you remember it later.

Multiple studies have suggested that writing something down by hand uses more parts of your brain than simply typing it.[1] It’s a lot more engaging and stimulating for your brain because it has to process and analyze the information before your write it down.

So if you want to make sure you remember something, don’t reach after a keyboard – pick up a pen!

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3. Use the power of visualization

A great way to remember something is using your brain’s power of visualization.

Let’s say you’re trying to remember a simple to-do list of your tasks for the day. Imagine you’re in your house, and the tasks you need to do are located in the different rooms of your house.

So later, when you want to recall the items on your list, you can simply picture yourself walking through your house.

If you know that you take in information in visual form better, use it to your advantage! Create your own visual cues – draw charts or figures on the margins of your notebook. Even something as simple as using a highlighter can be enough to help information stick in your mind.

4. Study a new language

It’s probably fair to say that not a lot of people will learn a new language for the sole purpose of improving their memory.

Even a very basic knowledge of another language has been shown to have a tremendously positive effect on your memory.[2] It’s easily one of the best ways to keep your memory sharp!

And you don’t even have to become fluent. Just learning the pool of the most commonly used words is enough to flex your memory muscles.

5. Enjoy music

We all listen to music, but not all of us realize that it’s not only enjoyable, but also very beneficial.

It seems like an entirely passive thing, when it’s actually one of the few activities that can engage both sides of your brain at the same time. Listening to music has a very positive impact on your memory, as well as your attention and coordination.

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But you can take it a step further – learn to play an instrument, learn to sing, or dance to your favorite music. All of it is good for your memory and your brain in general.

6. Take regular breaks form your tech

Smartphones, tablets, laptops. They have become such essential parts of our everyday existence that often our entire professional lives revolve around these devices.

And as incredibly useful as they are, they are massive attention hogs. For some reason, it’s difficult to concentrate and think clearly when you know there’s an unanswered email sitting in your inbox, and you have yet to even check your Twitter timeline today!

Resist the urge to constantly reach for your phone and check your notifications if you’re serious about improving your memory.

7. Get quality sleep, always

With the crazy rhythm modern life has, getting a good 8 hours of sleep every night may seem like a rare privilege.

But the truth is, a good night’s sleep is absolutely essential to not only to your mental health and general well-being, but your memory as well. Your brain needs sleep to consolidate memories, and grow new cells.

Even taking a quick nap after learning something new will dramatically improve your ability to retain that information. And consistently getting enough sleep will ensure that you’re always at the peak of your mental abilities.

8. Meditate to avoid stress

Stress often goes hand in hand with work and studies. That’s just sad a fact of life.

Another fact about stress is that it’s not very good for your memory. When you’re stressed, you’re a lot less inclined to take in new information and a lot more likely to forget whatever you’ve learned later.

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Meditating has been proven to be a fantastic way to reduce stress. It has numerous other health benefits like increased focus and attention, mood enhancement, and of course memory improvement.

Even as little as two minutes of meditation per day could go a long way towards improving your memory, so there’s literally no excuse not to try!

9. Pay attention to your everyday diet

Any balanced diet consisting of healthy foods can have a positive effect on your memory, but there are certain groups of foods that have especially great benefits.

Leafy greens, seaweed, berries, nuts, olive and coconut oil, avocado and turmeric are all extremely rich in brain-enhancing components like unsaturated fats, vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids.

Adding them to your grocery shopping list and incorporate them into your daily diet will not only help strengthen your memory, but provide you with numerous other health benefits.

In addition to eating more healthy foods, consider avoiding trans fats and sugar, as those have been proven to have a negative effect on your memory as well as your health in general.

Depression, poor memory formation, low attention span, and learning disorders are among just a few things that their consumption have been linked to.

And of course, remember to stay hydrated. Your brain is 73% water, so even the slightest dehydration can have adverse effects on your concentration and memory.

10. Try light exercises

A healthy diet is highly beneficial for healthy brain function. Combine it with regular exercise and you’ve got yourself a seriously killer combo.

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Regular physical activity, even something light like jogging or power walking, boosts the size of the part of your brain that’s involved in memory and learning.

So get yourself a pair of comfy sneakers and get going!

11. Try brain training games and apps

There are literally thousands of free brain fitness apps and games available. Exactly how beneficial they are for your overall brain function is somewhat debatable, but the best way to know for sure is to give a couple of them a try.

Even if you’re not a big on games, trying a few free memory training apps is super easy and will not take too much of your time. Give them a week or two, and if you see the befits – great! If not, there are plenty of other great ways to keep your mind sharp on this very list!

The bottom line

Good memory is not something everybody has, but it’s something you can absolutely develop and improve throughout your life.

Hopefully, our list above will serve as a good first step towards becoming a true memory champion!

Featured photo credit: Thought Catalog via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Arina Katrycheva

Marketing advisor, productivity expert and technology enthusiast

11 Best Tactics for Improving Your Memory Within a Month

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Last Updated on October 17, 2018

7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

How is your memory? Is your cognitive function as strong as you’d like it to be?

If not, then you’re definitely going to be interested in the memory improvement tips I’ll be sharing with you in this article.

Despite what you might think – or have been told – improving your ability to recall information is certainly possible. You just need to know the right ways to do it. (Don’t worry, as you won’t need to make any significant lifestyle changes.)

So how to improve memory? Let’s dive straight into the first of seven easy ways to improve your memory significantly.

1. Meditate

We live in a world of non-stop, 24/7 information. It’s like a waterfall that’s endlessly pouring news, data, facts and figures into our conscious minds.

Unfortunately, our brains are not designed to absorb this tremendous amount of information. It’s no wonder then, that most people struggle to remember information and recall things.

Even if you believe you have a good memory and are comfortable with multi-tasking, you’ll also be aware that there’s only so much information your brain can process at one time. And research suggests that the more information and distractions, the harder it is for you to transfer information to your long-term memory.[1]

Fortunately, meditation can help you out.

Even if you just meditate for 10 minutes per day, you’ll boost your ability to focus, which in turn, will make it easier for you to remember important facts.

If you need help in shifting into a meditative state, I recommend trying an app like Headspace – which can assist you to achieve this in a convenient and structured way.

And don’t forget, meditation doesn’t just have to be closing your eyes and sitting in a lotus position. Some people prefer to simply take a short walk in nature. This clears and calms their mind, and still provides the all-important boost to their focus.

2. Get plenty of sleep

If you’re sleep deprived or have not been sleeping well, then I’m guessing you’re not remembering well either. This is because sleep and memory are intimately connected.

If you have a busy life and regularly find yourself not getting enough sleep, then this will negatively impact your cognitive abilities – including your memory.

How much sleep should you be getting?

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Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation, you need a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you get this amount of sleep regularly, then within just a few days, you’ll see a tangible improvement to your ability to remember and recall things.

Now, I’ll be honest with you, maintaining a proper sleep cycle is not always easy (especially when the latest Netflix series has just been released!). But if you care about improving your short-term and long-term ability to remember things, then it’s critical that you try to get at least the recommended amount of sleep every night.

Are there ways to hack the sleep cycle?

Yes, there are.

Try these three things:

  • Have a fixed bedtime (preferably before 10pm)
  • Don’t eat too late
  • Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible

Sleeping is a precious activity. It regenerates your body, clears your mind, and helps with the storing and retrieval of information.

However, don’t sleep just yet, as I want to tell you about another great way to increase memory…

3. Challenge your brain

When was the last time you challenged your brain?

I don’t mean challenged in the sense of overeating or undersleeping. I’m referring to stretching your mental capabilities through things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku and memory games.

To expand your memory bank, and to make your recall razor-sharp, you need to continually challenge your brain.

Feedback from Lifehack readers such as yourself, has suggested that brain training apps are a super-effective way of doing this. Used regularly, these apps can enhance your focus, attention span, problem-thinking ability and memory.

There are hundreds of these apps available (most of them for free), but I recommend starting out with one of the big three:

  • Peak (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
  • Lumosity (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
  • Elevate (Android/iOS, free, 5 million+ downloads)

If you normally spend a chunk of your week playing computer games, then instead of shooting and killing your enemies, why not let some of them live – while you put your attention into boosting your brain power!

Challenging your brain will strengthen your neural pathways and enhance your mental abilities. But don’t just take my word for it, try one of the apps above and see the positive benefits for yourself.

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4. Take more breaks

When I think back to my days as a budding entrepreneur, I distinctively remember working all the hours under the sun – and many under the moon too!

At that time, I believed that breaks were for the weak, and to become wealthy and successful, I needed to shed blood, sweat and tears.

However, I was wrong.

Taking regular breaks is the best way to keep yourself productive, creative and alive to opportunities. It’s also the best way to learn new information.

Let me explain.

Typically, when studying lots of new information, most people will spend hours reading it – in an attempt to learn and remember the content as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, they’ve overlooked something.

Namely, extended study sessions are rarely a good thing, as your ability to retain information naturally declines after a certain period of time.

It’s similar to physical exercise. You wouldn’t attempt to train vigorously for four hours in a row. Instead, you’d take regular breaks to give your lungs, heart and muscles adequate time to recover. Failing to do this will result in muscle cramps and overexertion.

It’s the same with your brain. If you overload it with information, you’ll suffer from mental fatigue.

What’s the answer?

Make sure you take regular breaks when learning new information. I recommend at least a 10-minute break every hour. (You may also want to take a look at the Pomodoro Method.)

If you don’t want to be as regimented as that, then take breaks as soon as you find yourself losing the ability to focus on the new material. Your brain will thank you – and your learning aptitude will move up a level.

5. Learn a new skill

I love this quote, as it’s 100% true – but frequently overlooked:

“Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci

From my experience of helping to develop the careers of dozens of Lifehack employees, I can definitively say that participating in meaningful and purposeful activities stimulates the mind. It also reduces stress and enhances health and well-being.

Let me give you an example of this:

Imagine you work for a global financial institution in one of their call centers. You take over 100 calls a day – many of them complaints. When you started the job a few months back, you were excited to be in full-time employment and working for a household name.

Unfortunately, your initial enthusiasm quickly turned into frustration.

The endless complaint calls began to take their toll on you. And the supervisors irritated you too, as they were far too interested in micro-managing you – rather than letting you work in your own way.

Now, in the story above, the ending could be that you put up with a job you didn’t like, and led a dull and frustrated working life for years and years. However, an alternative ending is this: you channeled your dissatisfaction in to learning a new skill (computer coding). It took you a year or two to get up to speed, but it allowed you to successfully upgrade your career – and the ongoing learning made the call centre job much more bearable.

Clearly, learning new skills gives you impetus, focus and something to aim for. Your brain loves to learn, and you should tap into this by always seeking our new information. And when learning becomes a habit, you’ll find your ability to remember and recall things effortlessly, becomes a habit too.

6. Start working out

If you’re not already working out regularly, then here’s another reason to do so:

Exercising for 20-30 minutes three times a week will improve your long-term memory.

Regular exercise increases blood flow in your body and supplies the brain with extra oxygen and nutrients. And a well-nourished brain is a well-functioning brain!

“But I just don’t have the time?,” I hear you say.

Not a problem.

A research has shown that a daily burst of 60 seconds of high-intensity exercise, offered many of the benefits of the longer exercise routines.[2] So, if you’re short on time – now you know what to do.

Interested in getting started?

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Here are five different ways that will help you work out:

  • Join a gym
  • Join a sports team
  • Buy a bike
  • Take up hiking
  • Dance to your favorite music

7. Eat healthier foods

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: “You are what you eat.”

This applies to your brain too.

The food that you eat helps determine your brain’s capacity to store and recall information. A poor diet (think junk food + soda!) harms not just your physical health, but your mental health too.

Fortunately, there are several foods that are especially good for your brain and your memory. These include: blueberries, celery and dark chocolate. But anything high in antioxidants will have a positive effect on your brain and memory.

Conversely, highly-processed foods and those loaded with sugar will have a negative impact on your memory. This is due to them providing insufficient nutrients for your brain – leading you to easily suffer from mental fatigue.

Want to be mentally healthy? Then eat and drink an abundance of these for brain health:

  • Turmeric – helps new brain cells grown
  • Broccoli – protects the brain against damage
  • Nuts – improves memory
  • Green tea – enhances brain performance, memory and focus[3]
  • Fish oilfish oil supplements can increase your brain power

Here’re more brain food options that improve memory!

Final thoughts

I sincerely hope these seven memory boosting ways that I’ve covered in this article will be of help to you.

You don’t need to implement them all. I suggest just trying the ones that appeal to you.

But, if you’re serious about dramatically improving your memory, then make a start right now on adopting one or more of the ways I’ve suggested. I’m confident you won’t regret it.

Featured photo credit: Eric Ward via unsplash.com

Reference

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