Human is unquestionably the most intelligent being that roams this earth and probably the most sociable of all the animals, meaning that we need to have relationships in our life to have fun and share things. All of us when taking the journey of life, we go through many positive and negative situations, that teach us the important lessons of the world while shaping our true self. These precious emotions of the past, the dreams of the future and the people that are most dear to us are stored in our brain as memories and we owe our self to protect and preserve the this storehouse. What we do or not, what we eat, what we drink, if we exercise, how much we sleep and more compose our entire lifestyle, which can be improved and optimized to protect and even improve our memory power.
Improving your memory is a huge subject and there are many researches and techniques that can help you remember. Here i will try to note some really important things to help you in your way to more powerful memories.
1. Exercise is your ally
First of all, the brain is our most important organ, since it is the command centre of our body and within lies our intelligence. Also, our brain consumes large quantities of energy and oxygen, to complete its tasks and can only survive for a few minutes without energy or oxygen. When we exercise our body, we make it stronger and healthier, making it able to get more oxygen, while the blood circulation is also improved and therefore we have increased energy supply to the brain, to make it work better.
2. Have fun and mingle
Human is probably the most sociable being that roams this earth. No matter what is our mood, a good relationship can make things much brighter, this is because having great and healthy relationships, replenishes and energizes our emotional self and the brain works at its optimum when it’s happy.
Also in a study from the Harvard School of Public health, it was found that people who are socially active show the less memory decline.
Get out people, talk to your friends, even make some new friends or get your self a pet. You can’t imagine how much you can relax by just hanging out with your pet!
3. Laugh and smile
Life is the greater gift and trust me it cannot be taken serious. Spice up each moment of your life with joy, laughter and happiness. Haven’t you had a bad day, when someone smiled and greeted you warmly, making you feel that much more better? So here you have it, two in one, by being happy and smiling, or even making people laugh, not only you have fun, but you also make those around you happy, isn’t that fulfilling? So get out there, make people laugh, make your self laugh(use funny backgrounds or write poster jokes), watch a comedy with your friends and smile all day.
Also a tip from me!! When the phone rings, try smiling for 5 seconds without thinking of anything and then pickup. That works for me every time, even if i am in my blues and also makes me feel much more better.
4. Brain Food
Optimize your diet and feed your brain with what it needs in order to work at its optimum. You can get omega 3 from fish(sardines, cod, salmon and more), walnuts, cloves, flax seeds, Romaine Lettuce, flax oil, pumpkin seeds and soybeans.
AntioxidantsBlueberries(contain anthocyanins) are “magical”, they contain antioxidants that can protect the brain cells and also they may hold the potential to heal brain pathways says Jim Joseph, Ph.D., director of the neuroscience lab at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University.Acai berry: A research published at the Science daily, shows that “Both acai pulp and acai juice showed significant absorption of antioxidant anthocyanins into the blood and antioxidant effects”.Fruits and vegetables in general are a good source of antioxidants. Spinach broccoli, oranges and more.
-Avoid Processed foods
-Try to limit Red Meats
-Limit calories: Eating high calorie meals spikes blood sugar and then crashes it.
-Avoid foods high in saturated fats: Cheese, whole milk, butter, sour cream, ice cream etc
-Avoid Sugar and sweets
5. Alcohol is like fire
Alcohol is like a fire, use it to warm your house and benefit from it, or use it to burn down your house. On the one hand, when there is alcohol abuse memory cells of the brain are affected quite much(this is obvious to anyone who have had a hangover), make the consumption chronic and you have the worst effects on your memory. When consumed in moderation it can actually improve you mind power, especially in the case of red wine you get double benefits, as it contains resveratrol(a flavinoid that reduced the risks of alzheimer’s disease. *Limit alcohol to the minimum or zero if you are pregnant.
So here comes the most important of all. Come on, don’t tell you haven’t found your self trying to study or learn something, after a night with less sleep. In addition, creativity, problem solving, critical thinking and clarity are are negatively influenced. This is because, when we sleep both our brain and body, make the necessary processes to repair the tissues that have been damaged throughout the day. Also our brain takes its time to process all the information it has assumed over the day, and there are researches to support that the most essential memory sorting takes effect during the deepest stages of sleep. So dive in your bed folks and enjoy it. Keep in mind that the most effective sleep hours are 22:00 to 06:00.
7. Reduce stress in your life
Stress, first of all, is an ancient mechanism of the body that is also called “Fight or flight”. Its purpose is to shut down all functions that are not necessary to survive a life threatening event. For example, when your life is threatened, reproduction is not necessary so testosterone production is effectively reduced(The stress hormone cortisol plays a significant role here). Also, in the case of emergency the digestion system is not needed, while the muscles are essential, so most of the blood is diverted to the muscles.
What happens these days, is that many people are stuck in “fight or flight” for long periods of time, which means that essential repair mechanisms are deprived of the energy they need to keep your body in optimum health. Give your self some time off, listen to music, turn the phone off, watch a movie with your loved one, MEDITATE(my serene place where nothing else matters), read a nice novel and do what ever you like at least 2 hours a day.
8. Remember names
We all were in the awkward situation of forget the name of a person we just met. First of all, by remembering names of people you just met, you immediately get the person to like you, while you steadily train your memory in the long term. I know you may say it is difficult, but lets try…
First of all, when you first hear the name repeat it nicely, such “Nice to meet you Kate”.
Then, you must use your visualization powers to make it stick.
Say you meet a woman named, Kate Brown.
You can think of a Kate you already know, or even a celebrity as the new Princess Kate of England.
And for the brown you can imagine her wearing brown clothes and while reminding your self the smell of brown coffee.
9. The loci method
This learning method is familiar to almost all of us, but very few actually use it. It comes all the way from ancient Greece, when a poet named Simonides left a building briefly just before it collapsed, and was able to remember the names of the people that were inside, just by recalling where they were sitting before the accident. ALL of us, actually use this method when we remember a route based on known landmarks. So all you have to do is use this method in every aspect of your life. If for example you want to memorize something, associate it with something that is next to it(e.g. Texts next to pictures, creating a multi list and memorize categories that are next to each other.)
If you know a few memory techniques and can focus on your material, then many people are jealous of you. I, for example, used to lose my keys or phone all the time, this is because when I placed them somewhere I didn’t pay attention, i did the task but my mind was wandering around. The same thing happens when you are studying, if you are not focused you read it but you are not storing it, it’s like leaving the tv on while doing other things. Focus people, get in your material and engulf your self.
How can you do it:
-Use a concentration timer.
-Always reward yourself when you achieve your target
-While studying other thoughts may kick in, the target is not to fight them, simply recognise them and let them pass like clouds. I sometimes note down what catches my mind, so i can look back in to them as a reward after i finish my study.
-Get Rid of distractions: Keep the TV off or even get in another room, turn your phone off(you can get back to your love ones, when you get a break) and keep other reading material away(Magazines are good, but first things first people!!).
11. Divide and conquer
One of my favorites, and trust me we all use this all the time without even knowing. So how about using this “power” consciously on other areas of our life?
For example when you want to give the phone number ”2533546” you don’t say “Two million five hundred thirty three thousand five hundred and forty six”, you probably say 253-354-6. You see? You’ve done it!
This can be used on much more that phone numbers.Other examples:
-Say you want to call Michael, Alice, George and Nicholas, break it down to M,A,G,N
So now you only need to remember MAGN
-Are you going to the market? Split the products you need in categories(Fruits, Dairy, Pasta, Meat and more)
-When I leave the house I remember Keys,Mobile,Wallet and lock! This way when I step out of the house I repeat these word and I always get everything i need!
This list is limitless, use your imagination and create your visual categories or combinations so you keep everything in track!!
12. Ridiculous associations
This one is my personal personal favorite and the number one in my “arsenal”. The fact is that our brains remember pictures and stories far more easy that they do lists. So whenever I want to remember something, I try to make a mini fairytale of that and then the magic happens, everything sinks in.
For example you want to remember these:
Get some cheese
Wash your car
Pay electricity bill
Fairytale: Imagine George talking on the phone, eating cheese while he is waiting for his car to be washed. When he goes to the cashier, he is given the electricity bill to pay.
This is quite a simple yet very ridiculous story, but you can say it’s quite unforgettable.
Two months after I learned about this method, I found my self in a situation where I had 3 hours to memorize 30 pages. I was reading faster and faster, but kept in mind that I don’t have time to revise, so this is my chance of getting it. Then while I was reading I caught my self drawing mental ridiculous “fairytales” of what i read.
Definitely try this one!
Visualization is the key to our existence, we dream, we daydream, we imagine magical places, we visualize our goals and pretty much visualize everything that we desire. Our mind, does not realize the difference between something that is real and something that we truly visualize(with much detail), that is why we feel extremely happy right after we visualize something we deeply desire. So lets use this tool of our brain’s powerhouse to fuel our memory.First of all have the end in your mind(One the seven habits of highly effective people). But also enjoy the journey, as it is the journey that will provide you with the end result. ->Visualize your self being able to recall everything that you would like to know.
Visualize what you read as interesting figures, animals and pretty much everything.Examples:
3= heart on the side
6=trunk of an elephant
This system can be used in every way, just use a shape for whatever you want to remember.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” ~ Aristotle
In order to achieve a target, we need to have the results by the due date of the target, and the best way to do it, is to make constant progress towards it. A brick at a time makes a wall in the end!!
By making studying a habit, you will constantly improve your studying powers or even find new more challenging ways to learn something. Remember the first 21 days are the most challenging since it takes 21 days for the brain to form the pathways for your new habit, sometimes even less or much longer. For best results, dedicate a fixed amount of time daily to study, so when it’s time you will relax studying in your reading sanctuary. Also keep in mind, that there will be days that will get screwed up, on these days try to read at least a paragraph so that you keep the fire going.
Write down the 10 first things that come to your mind. Then look at them for 2 minutes and let them down. Go on doing whatever you want in the house for 30 minutes. Come back and write down what you remember. Keep up the good work, try the methods and observe your memory growing.
(Last Updated: April 22nd, 2017)