8 Smart Ways to Improve Your Memory
Poor memory can be frustrating. Even the most minor things can be forgotten, like where you put your keys or your appointment time. When left unaddressed, poor memory can affect your day-to-day life and create problems with work, school, and relationships.
The good news is that there are some simple ways to help improve your memory.
1. Take a Memory Test
Taking a memory test will provide insights into your current memory recall capacity and what areas need improvement. A memory test can also help you identify effective strategies for deepening your understanding of content, helping you retain information better.
Most memory tests focus on different types of memory, including working, long-term, and episodic. Working memory is the ability to store information quickly and recall it later. Long-term memory is the ability to remember facts and events over an extended period. Episodic memory is the capacity to remember specific personal experiences.
Many online memory tests are available, and some may even be tailored to your needs. You can use a free memory test to assess your retention and recall abilities. For best results, take the test more than once to see if you can improve your scores.
2. Exercise Your Brain
The brain is a muscle that needs to be exercised to stay sharp. Engaging in stimulating activities such as solving puzzles, playing games, and learning new skills can help your memory improve. Regular exercise is also an essential part of keeping fit both physically and mentally. Research suggests that physical activity can increase the production of chemicals in the brain that promotes neuron growth which helps keep mental functions sharp.
Games like crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and word searches can help stimulate the brain and improve memory retention. Learning a new language or how to play a musical instrument is another excellent way to give your mind an exercise routine. You can also try Brain Training Apps, designed to provide mental exercise while tracking progress. These apps can help sharpen your memory skills by providing fun and challenging activities tailored to your skill level.
3. Check Your Diet
Eating a balanced diet is essential for good health, and it’s no different when it comes to memory. Specific vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients are essential for keeping your brain functioning at its best. Foods high in antioxidants, like berries, leafy greens, and nuts, can help fight brain inflammation, leading to memory loss. Omega-3 fatty acids in foods like fish, eggs, and avocados can also help improve your brain health.
It’s crucial to ensure you get enough vitamin B12 for healthy nerve cells that store memories. Additionally, foods rich in magnesium, such as whole grains, nuts, and green leafy vegetables, can help improve memory. Supplementing your diet with memory-boosting vitamins and minerals may also help. Fish oil supplements and vitamin E are known to have memory-enhancing properties.
4. Practice Mindfulness
Being mindful or present can help improve focus and concentration, which can help your memory. Taking a few minutes daily for mindful activities like deep breathing or meditation has been shown to reduce stress, promote relaxation, and increase mental clarity. Mindfulness can also help improve focus, allowing you to absorb and remember information better.
If you’re new to mindfulness, there are plenty of apps available that can get you started. These apps offer guided meditations and deep breathing exercises that allow you to practice mindfulness in a convenient and accessible way. You can also try mindfulness walking or yoga if you have difficulty focusing. Both of these activities can help clear the mind and allow for improved focus and concentration.
5. Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is essential for proper brain function, including memory retention and recall. Research suggests that getting seven to nine hours of sleep per night is vital for cognitive performance. Not getting enough sleep can lead to a lack of focus and concentration, making it more difficult to remember information.
Ideally, you should establish a consistent sleep schedule and stick to it. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day helps your body maintain a healthy pattern of sleep which is vital for memory retention. Additionally, you should avoid caffeine late in the day as this can interfere with your ability to get restful sleep. And if possible, try to limit distractions in your bedroom, such as TVs, smartphones, and tablets.
6. Get Social
We are social beings, and spending time with family and friends can help manage your emotions and improve your mental well-being. Interacting with others can help sharpen your memory by stimulating new ideas, conversations, and experiences.
Connecting with people helps create a sense of purpose, which in turn may positively affect cognition. Additionally, a robust social support system can help reduce stress and anxiety, negatively impacting memory. Lastly, engaging in meaningful conversations with people can help improve your problem-solving abilities, allowing you to better remember facts and information.
7. Manage Chronic Conditions
Chronic conditions like diabetes, depression and high blood pressure can negatively impact memory. It’s essential to manage these conditions by following your doctor’s diet, exercise, and medications instructions. Avoiding unhealthy habits such as smoking and drinking too much alcohol can help reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Additionally, it’s crucial to stay on top of your mental health. Seek help if you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious, as this can have a negative effect on your memory.
8. Stay Organized
Staying organized helps reduce stress and anxiety and can help improve memory. Keeping your desk, workspace, and home clutter-free can help free up mental energy, which is essential for focus and concentration.
Using a planner or calendar to keep track of tasks and commitments can help ensure you never forget a deadline or appointment. Writing down necessary information can also help you remember it better. Likewise, using reminders to keep track of tasks and events can help ensure nothing slips through the cracks.
If your job requires you to remember a lot of information, breaking it down into smaller chunks can make it easier to recall and retain. Remember to take regular breaks throughout the day to give your mind and body a chance to rest and recharge.
Further Reading from Skills You Need
This two-part guide is an easy-to-read summary of the essential skills you need for a healthy mind and body.
The first eBook, Looking After Yourself, covers some of our most popular content and will help you to live a happier, healthier and more productive life.
The second eBook, Living Well, Living Ethically, considers how you can live your best life all the time. It helps you to answer the question: how can I avoid having too many regrets about my life?
Improving memory is an integral part of cognitive health. Adopting a few simple habits can significantly affect your ability to remember facts and information. With practice and consistency, you will be able to improve your memory and enjoy the benefits that come with it.