13 practical strategies for improving memory
In a previous article by Psychology and Mind we already explained that memory is a very complex process in which we do not just file memories and sensations mechanically as if we were a computer.
Human memory is closely linked to the emotions that memories produced in their day, as proposed by psychologist Gordon H. Bower. But, in any case, that we are able to remember many details of our past we also need our brain to be in full shape .
You may be interested in: “10 tricks to improve your brain health”
Trained memory, effective memory
memory is an intricate mental process by which we store thoughts, memories, skills and experiences. If we are able to take care of our cognitive functions we will be able to enhance the capacity of our memory to retain data. This is especially interesting for people of a certain age, who suffer a slow but progressive deterioration of their cognitive abilities in general and of their memory in particular.
Habits for training memory
To improve memory (in the case of young people) as well as to delay its deterioration (for the elderly), there are different habits and strategies that help us to develop the capacity of our memory , as well as to preserve it and make it more efficient. To do this, it will be necessary to follow some simple training guidelines.
In the case of older people, there are usually many cases of symptoms (more or less evident to family members) of memory loss. These symptoms may be normal and consistent with age, but in other cases they may be severe and require professional diagnosis. In this type of more severe cases, it will be necessary to put yourself in the hands of a specialized doctor, in order to get a diagnosis and treatment (if necessary) indicated.
The Dangers of Not Enhancing Memory
If we don’t exercise our memory in our daily routine, we may begin to notice that we are less able to remember concrete data and perform tasks in which we used to have sufficient skills. As in any other area, not exercising your memory is the easiest way to gradually lose it.
But there is good news: if we exercise it a bit every day, we will improve it and enhance it . Constant and sustained learning over time helps us to create certain habits and positive cognitive mechanisms for our memory. Memory ability can be developed if we are patient and persistent.
Maintain memory in good shape
Basic Healthy Habits to Reinforce our Memory
- Healthy and balanced diet . Rich in vitamins and minerals and omega acids Control cholesterol and saturated fats. Moderate consumption of processed meats and industrial baked goods.
- Play sports. Among the many benefits of regular exercise is that it keeps our mind strong, and that improves our memory.
- Stay away from sources of stress . As far as you can, try to move away from sources of stress and anxiety. You can resort, if you have time, to practices such as yoga or Mindfulness if you feel that you are too nervous on a regular basis.
- Relationship to other people . Living in solitude makes our brain comfortable and works little. On the other hand, if you have an active social life, we will encourage the coming and going of ideas, conversations and emotions, and this helps our memory. Moreover, being in contact with friends and acquaintances allows us to keep our brain busy remembering data and listening to and understanding our interlocutor. This is very beneficial for memory.
- Get out of the routine . Your daily activities (going to work, cooking…) are not enough to adequately boost your memory. As long as we have time, we should try to do new activities that attract us and develop some of our skills. The most recurrent: chess, practice a new sport, go to meetings, read books …
Routine memory strategies that can help you
- Get rid of (or almost get rid of) your diary . If you are a busy person and you need a personal diary where you can write down the commitments you have, it is understandable… but you should try to remember the appointments with your memory. Okay, this may seem a little risky and you may want to keep your diary. But in the medium to long term, this habit will improve your memory capacity. This advice also applies to shopping lists: it is preferable that you do not make them and that when you go shopping you make your purchases “from memory”.
- Travel as much as you can . If we leave home and explore corners of the planet we didn’t know before, it makes our brain discover new sensations and retains new data. This helps our memory to exercise a lot.
- Organize meetings of friends . Any excuse is good: have a coffee, go to the cinema, play a board game… all opportunities to socialise have a positive influence on your memory. As I mentioned before, remember that when you are with your friends you exercise your brain, telling anecdotes, discussing controversial topics or playing and doing any activity together.
- Be a friend of books . Reading regularly is a great way to boost your memory (among many other benefits). Regardless of the type of reading you enjoy most, you should know that the challenge of reading a book helps your brain stay awake and greatly stimulates your memory. It’s also interesting to discuss the book with a friend or family member after you’ve finished reading it, since this will force your brain to recapitulate what you’ve learned.
- Look at the little things . In your daily life, whether at home, in the office or walking around the city, you should know that there is a world of small details that are waiting to catch your attention. Observe and ask yourself about them, your memory will appreciate it.
- Routinely exercise your memory . If you are one of those who write everything down, you might have to change your strategy and try to remember things without help. Names of people, telephone numbers, restaurants we want to go to .
- Try to remember by your own means . If every time you doubt some data you google, your memory will not be properly exercised and you will lose a chance for your brain to develop the ability to rescue data or information.
- Test yourself with new technologies . In the 21st century, we are permanently surrounded by technologies and gadgets. It’s not unusual for us to feel like we don’t remember how to install a program on our PC or how to search for a specific application on our smartphone. It can be easy to go to YouTube and look for a tutorial, but the most positive thing for our memory is that we try to remember how we managed to do it last time. With patience, we’ll probably make up for it.
The essential thing when exercising our memory is to be constant and do exercises and habits on a routine basis. In this way we will improve our short-term memory, which is the one that is most often damaged as we grow older, and is the one that can be altered in cases of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
If you exercise your memory with these simple strategies, you will notice that you can remember much better.