6. Write it Down
If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.
Nowadays, it’s fairly uncommon to write down notes with a pen and paper. When we go to class or meetings, we take our laptops and use that to mark down important ideas. However, recent research has suggested that may be doing us more harm than good.
One 2014 study found that “even when laptops are used solely to take notes, they may still be impairing learning because their use results in shallower processing.”
You can start a journal, write yourself emails, or even start keeping a blog. All of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information. Most importantly, if you’re going to class or to a big meeting, consider taking notes by hand instead of on your computer.
7. Listen to Music
Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories. If you’re looking into learning how to improve memory, this can be a great thing to try.
Listening to music has been shown to specifically benefit the memorization of words. One study found that young adults who listened to music while memorizing a list of words, as opposed to listening to environmental sounds or silence, performed better when asked to recall the words.
Next time you have to memorize a speech of want to compete in a spelling bee, try listening to music while studying. You may be surprised by how much it helps.
8. Use Visualization
In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.
Pay attention to photographs, charts, and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or, if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.
Another strong visualization technique for memory is the memory palace. This essentially involves imagining a place you know well (your house or a former school, for example), listing distinctive features of the place in your mind, and associating those features with things you want to remember. Then, when you need to recall information, you simply go the specific room or object where you stored the information in your mind, and it will come to you.
9. Teach Someone Else
Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.
One study pointed out that this increased memory specifically because it forced students to recall the information in order to teach it.
Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.
10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read, or Play Cards
Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, reading, or playing cards on a daily basis helps to delay memory loss, especially in those who experience cognitive decline in the form of dementia.
So, pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book, or enjoy a game of Solitaire if you want to boost your memory.
Everyone has the ability to learn how to improve your memory and boost brain power, and everyone will find that different strategies work for them. Try out some of the above in order to get a feel for what works for you.