Advertising
Advertising

Is Memory Enhancement Possible? 12 Ways That Actually Work

Is Memory Enhancement Possible? 12 Ways That Actually Work

Memory enhancement is important for three things: Productivity, Personal Growth and Prevention. Whether you’re working on growing your business or career, leveling up your life or staying ahead of future health problems, the simple memory enhancement methods in this article could make or break your efforts.

If you look into memory enhancement just a little, you’ll see there are different categories you can focus on.

In this article we will look at three categories: Nutrition (what we put in our bodies), Physical (what we do with our bodies), and Mental (tools and hacks we can use to train our brains).

For many, what we put in our face goes widely unchecked. If we do filter what we eat or drink it usually is about losing weight. But much of our nutrition impacts our brain, which impacts our recall.

At work, your brain is a huge asset. Whether you’re sharp or fuzzy mentally will impact your productivity. Memory enhancement gives you a smoother track to run on as you tackle big projects for your company.

1. Water for Memory Enhancement

The first ingredient in memory enhancement, nutritionally, is water. Drinking more water is such a common problem that they make apps just to help you track your water intake.

Many scold themselves knowing, in a general sense, they should drink more water because it’s good for you. But when it comes to memory enhancement, there are specific benefits to drinking more water.

While the body is made up of 60% water, the brain is made up of 73% water. A study conducted by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that “drinking water improved memory and focused attention.”[1]

This is such an easy one to add to your daily routine for memory enhancement. Find the easiest way you like to drink water and insert that into your day.

For me, I drink more water from a water bottle. Without my water bottle my water intake drops by more than half. Once you find the way you drink the most water, bring that method with you throughout your day and even to bed so that it’s ready for you first thing the next morning.

2. Fats for Memory Enhancement

Just like water, fats also make up a large portion of our brain. Fats feed our brain slow burning energy that allow it to function at optimum levels. So for memory enhancement, finding the proper balance of good fat in your diet makes a difference.

An article by Harvard Health Publishing found “polyunsaturated fats may be the heroes in the dietary battle to preserve memory.”[2] These fats can be found in nuts, olive oil and fish.

This doesn’t mean that you have to chug a gallon of fish oil. You can start simply by reorganizing what you eat and observe the mental clarity you find. Instead of carbs for breakfast, just try eggs and bacon. Instead of a refined sugar snack in the afternoon, substitute it with a handful of nuts.

Advertising

You don’t have to go to the extremes, just begin playing with the sequence of your food throughout the day and find where your mind most benefits from more fats.

3. Supplements for Memory Enhancement

Enhancing your memory can also happen through supplements such as fish oil supplements. The supplement industry is huge and there are many claims about improved cognitive function that aren’t founded in clinical studies.

If supplements are interesting to you for memory enhancement, the best course of action is to research your options. Look for blind and double blind studies if you want supplements with measured, unbiased results.

As with any of these methods, always research and test to see what works best for you.

4. Intermittent Fasting for Memory Enhancement

On the rise in the last several years is intermittent fasting. Common in the weight loss space, intermittent fasting has also shown benefits for brain and body chemistry.

Intermittent fasting can be done multiple ways. One of the most common protocols is to fast for 16 hours, then consuming your normal amount of daily calories in an 8 hour feeding window.

Many report mental clarity from intermittent fasting and studies show why the brain works well in a fasted state.

With the benefit of increased growth hormone and the healing effects of intermittent fasting, it’s worth a go for improved mental capacity.

How we treat our bodies is as important as what we put in our bodies. Our brain needs both exercise and rest to perform at its best. We seem to get this backwards by working our brain overtime with an overload of tasks and interruptions while sitting at our desks, in our cars or on our couches and not getting enough sleep.

5. Sleep for Memory Enhancement

In extremes, it’s easy to see that with sleep deprivation your memory suffers dramatically. But with our busy lives, many of us don’t think about sleep as a bridge to memory enhancement.

A study by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center found “a good night’s sleep triggers changes in the brain that help to improve memory”.[3]

If you have trouble getting to sleep, here are some helpful tips for better sleep:

  • Turn off your devices an hour before bed
  • Meditate for 10 minutes prior to sleep
  • Eliminate alcohol or caffeine before bed
  • Try a natural supplement like Melatonin
  • Take up this night routine to get better rest at night

Getting enough sleep is an easy path to brain function. If you’re not getting enough sleep, the hardest part may be challenging your patterns or limiting beliefs that are keeping you from the sleep you need.

Advertising

6. Exercise for Memory Enhancement

Exercise is great for brain function. As cited on the Harvard Health Blog “a study done at the University of British Columbia, researchers found that regular aerobic exercise appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning.”[4]

Exercise can be as simple as a 10 minute walk or even 5 minutes of stretching. The focus here is that as you activate your body, you activate your mind.

If you don’t currently exercise, start small and work your way up. Here’re 5 ways to help you make time for exercise.

If you exercise a lot, find ways to bring mindfulness into your physical activity for memory enhancement.

7. Massage for Memory Enhancement

Massage is a bridge to mindfulness. Time stands still, your body relaxes and your brain opens up to its potential.

Many times what impedes our memory and cognitive function is the busyness of life. We have too many tasks on our To Do lists. Our patterns of life have left little to no margin of time and space for our minds to relax. This is an impossible environment we’ve put our minds in.

Massage can be a great pattern interrupt to the chaotic chatter in our minds, creating an environment for the brain to breathe and enhancing our memory.

8. Meditation for Memory Enhancement

Similar to massage, meditation allows our brain to breathe and calm the chaotic chatter.

An advantage to meditation over massage is how quickly we can access a calmer mind. However, while many often say they want to do meditation, it’s hard for them to still their mind and relax into the quietness meditation can provide.

Meditation, in its simplest form, is simply breathing. You don’t need special phrases or to sit in certain positions. To get started, just sit in a comfortable position and breath deeply for as little as five minutes. Thoughts will come and go. Just bring yourself back to focusing on your breathing.

You can also have a try with this 5-minute Guide to Meditation: Anywhere, Anytime.

As you do this daily you’ll begin to notice how refreshed you feel in such a short amount of time.

Our brain can be trained. Like a muscle, the more we use it, the stronger it gets. Embedded in the phrase “memory enhancement” is the idea that we want to improve, not just maintain, how our brain works.

Advertising

In addition to mental and physical disciplines, we can train our brain with tools, creating a quicker path to a stronger brain. The hacks below are common and well established in enhancing memory. Add them to your daily routine and notice the difference in your mental clarity.

9. Batching for Memory Enhancement

Often used to improve workflow, batching refers to doing similar tasks in consolidated blocks of time. For example, rather than checking email throughout the day, you would check email once in the morning and once in the afternoon.

You can see how limiting the distractions can create an environment for your brain to focus on what’s at hand.

In a study,[5] researchers found that it takes the average brain over 20 minutes to refocus after an interruption. More important still, they found that a new interruption happens every 11 minutes, causing your brain to never fully catch up. This fatigues your brain and impairs your memory.

With batching, you’re simply reducing the amount of interruptions your brain has to manage, making it available for the work you want it to do.

10. Games for Memory Enhancement

Brain games can keep the mind sharp. Whether you play on paper or in an app, memory games can be fun.

There is a debate about whether games like crossword puzzles actually enhance your memory, but research is emerging that shows “brain training” is an effective solution.

Like growing muscles, when you push your brain beyond its current abilities you force it to grow. When used to push your brain to the next level, brain games a great way to enhance your mind.

11. Apps for Memory Enhancement

Similar to games, apps are great trainers of the mind. There are a large selection of apps specific for memory enhancement and exercising your brain.

Picked by Medical News Today out of hundreds of brain training apps, here are their top 5 apps for brain training:[6]

You can also check out more brain training apps here to train your mind and improve memory.

At different price points, you’ll want to find one that works best for you. If you’re busy, apps may be a great solution during small waiting periods in your day.

12. Mnemonic Devices for Memory Enhancement

The imagination is a powerful tool. Mnemonic devices use word play to make it easier to remember things like names and lists.

Advertising

Popular types of mnemonics include: Music, rhyme, expression/word, connection, spelling and image.

Here’s an example of an image mnemonic device that can be used for immediate recall:

Using numbers 1 to 10 you find a rhyming word with each number and then place the item you want to remember into the image you created in your head.

Our example will be for a grocery list, but you could use this for names, birthdays, work projects or tests:

One rhymes with run. So I picture a horse track with a horse running on the track. The first item on my grocery list is olives so I put a human size can of olives on the saddle of the horse running.

It’s important that you make the items in these visualizations memorable, like a human size can of olives on top of a horse.

Common rhyming words for this particular mnemonic device are:

  • One, run
  • Two, zoo
  • Three, tree
  • Four, door
  • Five, hive
  • Six, sticks
  • Seven, heaven
  • Eight, gate
  • Nine, wine
  • Ten, den

If you have 20 things to remember, you can begin to use colors to separate the groups of ten. For example, if I have 20 things on my grocery list then the first 10 visualizations can be in red and the second, using the same rhyming words, can be in yellow.

Try this out and you’ll see how quickly this works. The mind is powerful, especially when we use images and pictures that tell stories. Mnemonic devices are simply hacks that use images and pictures that tell us stories that are easy to remember.

Final Thoughts

It’s time to make this article actionable. You have many options when it comes to memory enhancement. The real trick now is to pick one.

Looking at your current goals in productivity, personal growth and prevention, you can narrow your focus to the methods that best support those goals.

Go back through this article and find three to five methods that interest you the most. Then look at your schedule, and decide how you will add these methods your daily and weekly routines to improve the environment of your brain.

With all the tools and research, there has never been a better time in history to train our brains. Your path to enhanced memory is now in your hands.

More About Memory Enhancement

Featured photo credit: Tamarcus Brown via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Chris Angell

The founder of Groundswell Digital Marketing, helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses through done-for-you content marketing.

11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity This Year 9 Best Productivity Planners To Get More Done in 2020 Is Memory Enhancement Possible? 12 Ways That Actually Work 9 Tips on Multitasking Management That Will Improve Your Productivity

Trending in Learning

1 A Comprehensive Guide to a Smart Learning Process 2 12 Learning Strategies to Help You Retain Information Fast 3 How to Become an Intentional Learner for Never-Ending Growth 4 7 Characteristics of a Smart Auditory Learner 5 How Do Memory Vitamins Work? (And the Best Brain Supplements)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 24, 2020

A Comprehensive Guide to a Smart Learning Process

A Comprehensive Guide to a Smart Learning Process

One of the most crucial aspects of our lives is the ability to learn. We often take this skill for granted since not many of us pause and think about our learning process. In fact, if we did, we would probably uncover that we engage in ineffective learning mechanisms.

Think about it. Has your learning helped you recall things you learned last month? Go back a year and ponder.

A lot of how we learn was tucked away in school. Our exposure to school learning is the basis of how we learn moving forward. However, over the past few decades, learning has evolved into different stages of learning, and that becomes the main issue.

No longer are we looking at examinations of people’s characteristics about understanding and learning. Instead, scholars have created learning processes that use materials that support our interactions with others and our goals.

As a result, we can learn new things more smartly and effectively – which will be covered as we proceed further in understanding the learning process.

The Essential Steps of the Learning Process

In his book Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell states that the key to success is for us to practice 10,000 hours on a specific skill. It’s also worth noting that the skill needs the correct learning direction. If you’re learning how to do something the wrong way, you’ll continue to use it the wrong way.

But before understanding the learning process, we must understand the stages of learning. Written in the 1970s, Noel Burch created a model called the Four Stages of Learning. [1]

From there, we can use the stages of learning as a basis for how to learn effectively.

1. Unconscious Incompetence

Think of a skill that you are good at and that you use every single day.

Now think back to when you first developed that skill. Were you good at it? Probably not.

Advertising

You never heard of the skill or had a desire to learn of it until that point. This is the first stage: You know nothing about it.

2. Conscious Incompetence

Once you have heard of the skill, you begin to delve into it.

Driving a car is a perfect example. Before this stage, you never felt the need to learn how to drive. Nevertheless, once you became of legal age, you had to study to get your license. You likely made several mistakes on the driving test as well as during the written test.

This is the stage where you feel learning is slow, and you’re also aware of your mistakes.

3. Conscious Competence

By this stage, you know pretty much everything you need to know. At the same time, though, you are also aware that you need to focus and concentrate on what you are doing.

This stage can be that you know the rules of the road and can drive well. However, you feel you can’t talk to anyone, play any music, or look away from the road. You feel like you need total silence to focus and concentrate on driving.

At this stage, learning can be even slower than the previous stages. The learning isn’t consistent, nor is it a habit yet.

4. Unconscious Competence

By this stage, you’ve made it. You know everything in and out about the skill. It’s become a habit, and you don’t need to concentrate. You can relax and let your unconscious mind take over.

Exceeding the 4 Stages: Flow/Mastery

While Burch only covered four stages, there is another stage that exceeds it. This is the flow or mastery stage.

You may have heard of something called a flow state. [2] It’s the mental state where someone is performing an activity and is fully immersed in it. They feel energized, focused, and get a sense of joy from doing this activity.

Advertising

Flow or mastery can stem from all kinds of activities like Writing, reading, jogging, biking, figure skating, and more. It’s also characterized as complete absorption in what you’re doing, making you unaware of space and time.

Different Types of Learning Process

Another aspect of the learning process is the types of learning. While every person goes through those stages of learning, how we learn is different.

Having covered four learning styles in 4 Learning Styles to Help You Learn Faster and Smarter, I’m recapping the different types of learning in psychology.

Psychiatrists have narrowed how we learn down to seven learning styles as below:

  • Visual (spatial): Learning through pictures, graphs, charts, etc.
  • Aural (auditory-musical): Learning through sound and music.
  • Verbal (linguistic): Learning through spoken or written words.
  • Physical (kinesthetic): Learning through the body, hands, and a sense of touch.
  • Logical (mathematical): Learning through logic, systems, and reasons.
  • Social (interpersonal): Learning through groups or talking to people.
  • Solitary (intrapersonal): Learning individually through self-study or individual assignments.

You may be asking why all of this matters and actually how we learn plays a significant role. How we internally represent experiences stems from how we learn. What we learn not only establishes how we recall information but also impacts our own word choice.

It also influences which part of our brain we use for learning. Researchers uncovered this through various experiments.[3]

For example, say you’re driving to a place you’ve never gone before. How you learn will determine which method of learning you’ll use. Some will ask people for directions, while others will pull up Google maps. Some will write the directions out, while some won’t and merely follow street signs.

Knowing how to learn to this depth is vital because once you know what style you use, you can then develop a learning process to be a more effective learner.

How To Become an Effective Learner?

The learning process varies from person to person. Generally speaking, though, consider the following steps and considerations:

1. Improve Your Memory

Learning doesn’t only require that we learn information, but to retain it. If we are to learn something, we will have to learn and relearn. This means recalling and having a sharp memory to keep that information.

Advertising

Improving our memory can range from a variety of things. From memory palaces to practicing other memory improvement tactics.

2. Keep Learning and Practicing New Things

Learning a new skill takes time, but there is nothing wrong with learning a few other things. International Journal of Science – Nature: Changes in grey matter induced by training[4] reported that those who juggled between learning different topics increase their gray matter which is associated with visual memory

3. Learn in Many Ways

While we have our own go-to style, delving into other types and stages of learning can be useful. If you learn by listening to podcasts, why not try rehearsing information verbally or visually?

It will not start great, but by improving your skill to describe what you learned orally, you are further cementing the knowledge in your mind.

Judy Willis MD, M.Ed in her publication on Review of Research: Brain-Based Teaching Strategies for Improving Students’ Memory, Learning, and Test-Taking Success[5] states how the more regions we keep data stored, the more interconnection there is in the collection information that we later process.

4. Teaching What You Learned to Others

It doesn’t have to be in a tutoring situation, but this method is still a reliable way for two people to grow.

Regardless of learning styles, we retain the information we tell others more effectively than if we keep it to ourselves. Was there a random fact you told someone a few months ago? You are more likely to remember that information because you brought it up to someone.

5. Use Relational Learning

Relational learning is relating new information to things you already know.

A typical example of this is remembering someone’s name. You can better recall that person’s name if you associate that name to something or someone familiar.

6. Gaining Practical Experience

Nothing beats learning than trying it for yourself. Sure, seeing information does have its strong points -and most learning styles benefit from exposed information – there is something to be said about getting your “hands dirty.”

Advertising

7. Refer Back to past Info If Need Be

The learning process is not perfect. We’ll forget at certain points. If you ever struggle to remember something, make a point of going back to your notes.

This is key because if we try recalling, we risk ourselves learning or relearning the wrong answer. And again, there is a difference between learning the right way and the wrong way.

8. Test Yourself

While this step may seem odd, there are benefits to testing yourself. Even if you think you know everything about the topic, going back and testing yourself can always help.

Not only does testing improve our recall, but we may realize that we learned a concept or task incorrectly. That knowledge can enhance our effectiveness in the future.

9. Stop Multitasking

While we should be learning new things all the time, we shouldn’t be trying to do several tasks at once. We ought to focus on one activity at a time before moving onto other tasks.

By trying to multitask, we are learning less effectively and are only hindering ourselves. Check out how multitasking is merely another way of distracting ourselves.

Bottom Line

Psychologists define learning as the process of a permanent change in a person’s behavior resulting from experience. The understanding of the learning process is up to us, but do consider the bigger picture. Be aware of what style works best for you, and work to improve it while enhancing other learning styles. The only way we can advance a skill is to learn continuously. Even in the skills you have mastered, there are always new developments.

You can learn more about how you can cultivate lifelong learning and attain an edge in every niche that you get associated with today!

Featured photo credit: Aliis Sinisalu via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Gordon Training International: The Four Stages of Competence
[2] Habits for Wellbeing: Flow: the Secret to Happiness: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
[3] Training Industry: How the Brain Learns
[4] International Journal of Science – Nature: Changes in grey matter induced by training
[5] Judy Willis MD, M.Ed: Review of Research: Brain-Based Teaching Strategies for Improving Students’ Memory, Learning, and Test-Taking Success

Read Next