Whether you’re a student trying to memorise your courses more efficiently or a professional seeking self-development and mental sharpness, there are many ways you can boost your performance.
Just like you work out your body to be fit and strong and maintain a balanced lifestyle to stay healthy and beautiful, you can train your brain to keep it sharp and use various tricks to improve your memory.
Here are 10 tips to help you improve your memory:
Meditation has been proven to not only help your focus, concentration and creativity, but also improve your memory and learning capacity. People who meditate regularly show an increased thickness of the cerebral cortex, as well as more synaptic connections between neurons, both of which being linked to better memory and mental sharpness.
“Meditation is painful in the beginning but it bestows immortal Bliss and supreme joy in the end.” – Swami Sivananda
2. Practice memorising new information
Think of it as a warm-up for your mind. Choose something new every day, no matter how insignificant; a quote, a new word, a phone number, an historic fact, the lyrics of a song, etc. – and try to memorise it. Quiz yourself every couple of hours and see how well you manage to remember it. It may seem like a pointless exercise and a waste of time, but you won’t believe how effective it can be in the long run.
3. Do something new repeatedly
When you do something different repeatedly, your brain rewires itself and creates new pathways to help you do it faster and better each time. And it doesn’t even have to be a life changing thing. You can start with a really small step that you wouldn’t usually do, and your brain will still build those precious neural connections that are so valuable for your mind.
4. Learn a new skill
One that really means something to you. Engaging in meaningful activities has been proven to stimulate the neurological system, improving memory function, relieving stress and reversing mental decline. The key here, again, is that the skill or activity must be something important to you, something that stimulates you and requires your undivided attention.
5. Play or listen to music
Whether you’re playing or listening to it, studies have shown that music can expand your potential to memorise new information and your mental acuity. Mastering a musical instrument can actually change the anatomy of your brain and rewire your brain cells. When you are just listening to music, the effect is not as pronounced, but it still is there.
6. Link to as many senses as you can
Link the information you want to memorize to sounds, smells, colours, textures and even tastes. Even if you’re a visual learner, you should also speak out loud what you want to remember, as well as write down or rewrite the data. The more senses your brain can rely on, the easier it will be for you to imprint the new information into your memory.
7. Socialize as much as possible
Research suggests that interacting with new people regularly helps your brain stay agile and challenges your memory. Interestingly enough, it seems it may not even matter whether these interactions are “real” or virtual. Whatever the medium, socializing involves many behaviours that require your control, memory and attention, thus “oiling” your brain and improving your cognitive skills.
“Many think of memory as rote learning, a linear stuffing of the brain with facts, where understanding is irrelevant. When you teach it properly, with imagination and association, understanding becomes a part of it.” – Tony Buzan
8. Use mnemonics
Mnemonics are tools and clues to help you retain information, words or concepts, by organizing them into a format that’s easier to remember. Think about using rhymes, acronyms, visualisation, or even building a memory palace.
9. Train your body, not only your brain
Physical exercise strengthens neural connections, stimulates nerve cells and encourages the brain to function at its optimum capacity. What’s more, when you work out, your nerve cells release a protein called BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), which is known to boost cognitive functions, including memory.
Remember some of these tips and actually put them into practice, and you’ll see how easily you’ll be able to memorise anything.