How to Improve Memory - 9 Proven Methods for Improving Memory [2021]

A strong memory depends on the mental stability and vitality of the brain. Human beings are the most privileged ones on this earth to have a powerful memory. Making the best use of this power, we have been successful in all the major technological advancements starting from the industrial revolution to the present day digital revolution. Today, in this blog article, we’ll be mentioning 9 ways on how to improve memory.

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In this blog post, we will try to highlight some of the best actionable hacks for studying longer hours with full concentration and improve your daily output.

The problem with most of us is, we fail to use our memory power to the fullest. For instance, most of us have had an experience of forgetting key points in important examinations throughout our educational tenure. In fact, it is seen that the problem ameliorates as we grow, and worsens when we get into our old age.

Fortunately, there are multiple ways you can improve your memory. This involves a few routine efforts on our end to ensure mental stability and improve mental performance.

It is scientifically proven now that the human brain has an ability called “neuroplasticity” that can adapt and change their mental retention capability with the right stimulation. In this metamorphosis phase, the brain alters existing connections and forms new neural pathways. It is due to this ability of the brain that the brain is able to learn new information and utilize the true cognitive potential of the brain.

If you are a student, a job holder, or anyone who faces issues in remembering facts or necessary details, these 9 research-backed hacks that let you know how to improve memory power and retention capability.

How to Improve Memory - 9 Proven Methods for Improving Memory

#1. Involving Many Senses

They say, “People generally remember 10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see, and 50% of what they see and hear.” So, we can say that combining the senses is of benefit for all types of students. Our five senses work in unison every single second of the day. But, if you can focus all your attention on a particular activity, you can unleash your true potential.

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For example, If a student focuses on a single concept and tries to understand it via audio-visual aids rather than reading, then, he would be more well versed with the concept and can apply it much better to solve real-life problems. To be precise, practical learning ideally happens when we are able to feed in all our sensory inputs to the brain and connect to the already established facts contained in the brain.

#2. Spaced Repetition

Introduce time intervals in between your revisions. This will not only let you retain the topic better but also help in improving your brain’s ability to recall what you study.

It is a proven method to make study sessions more effective and is widely used by most toppers all across the world. You can figure out your learning intervals on your own by actually practicing it.

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For instance, the first repetition can be within 1 day, the second can be within 7 days, the third can be within 16 days and the fourth can be within 35 days. Neurological studies have proved that the more often you come across certain information, there is a better probability that you retain the information.

#3. Brain Workout

Just the way we do our physical workouts to stay fit and healthy, our mind also needs certain mental workouts to maintain our cognitive health. This is necessary to withstand memory loss or any neurological damage due to aging.

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Scientists believe that following a lifestyle that suits your mental health and performing certain targeted brain exercises can help in improving mental power. Playing chess, solving sudoku puzzles, or meditating is the most common type of brain workouts used by individuals. It is believed that the more you work out your brain, the better it will become.

#4. Physical Exercise

Scientists believe that exercises play a crucial role in neuroplasticity that stimulates new neural connections and helps you improve your memory. Although mental exercises are important for brain health, physical exercises help in increasing the oxygen supply to the brain and proliferate the effects of brain chemicals.

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Apart from this, doing regular exercises can reduce mental stress and physical disorders like cardiovascular diseases that can lead to memory loss. To be particular, the “Aerobic exercise” is good for the brain. Also, physical activities like table tennis, badminton, cricket, etc. which involve complex motor skills or hand-eye coordination are particularly beneficial for brain building.

#5. Proper Sleep

According to scientific studies, taking a nap after learning something new can help us remember those better. Sleep can thus be considered most important for improving learning appetite and retention power.

Recent research has also revealed that sleep-deprived mice experience less dendritic growth following a learning task than well-rested mice. Thus, sleep leads to physical changes in the brain as well. It is believed that key memory-enhancing activity occurs during the deepest stages of sleep.

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Some of the rituals to follow a healthy sleep can be to have a regular sleep schedule, cut back on caffeine, and avoid screens for at least an hour before bedtime. These rituals will make sure you have a healthy sleeping pattern and enjoy deep sleep for reaping maximum benefits.

#6. Keep Stress in Check

According to behavioral studies, stress is connected to memory loss as it affects many functions of the brain and leads to headaches, migraines, etc. Scientists believe that for a person under stress, one part of the brain is preoccupied and has only the other part to deal with important tasks.

Vector art; character in stress, how to improve memory

Thus during this phase, the brain goes into survival mode and can retain the least amount of information. Setting more achievable and realistic goals, meditating, and maintaining a good work-life balance are some of the practical hacks to manage stress. All this helps you know about how to improve memory!

According to the latest research, meditation has been found as the most effective cure for stress as it increases activity in the part of the brain called the ‘prefrontal cortex’ which is mostly associated with happiness. It also increases the thickness of the ‘cerebral cortex’ and improves the connections between brain cells to increase mental sharpness and stability.

#7. Brain-Boosting Diet

Just like the body needs food for energy, the brain too ideally needs a certain diet popularly called a ‘brain diet’. Apart from eating a healthy diet that is devoid of saturated fats, the brain needs omega-3 fatty acid which can be derived from cold-water fish, walnuts, seaweed, ground flaxseed, etc.

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It is also suggested to have green tea as it contains polyphenols that are powerful antioxidants preventing damage to brain cells. Moreover, keeping alcohol consumption in moderation is of utmost importance, as it kills brain cells if there is no control over its consumption. Fresh fruits and vegetables are best for the brain as these are considered antioxidant-rich foods.

#8. Selectively Social

Most of us try to socialize too much and get into unnecessary chaos. We need to understand a very well known truth of life that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. We should ideally avoid unnecessary gossip with random friends and prefer only those friends and colleagues who add value to our lives.

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These are the kind of people who always keep our morale high and guide us whenever we feel mentally down. The idea is to connect with other like-minded people, who share the same goals, thoughts, or temperament as they are the ones who can help us grow both personally and professionally.

If you want to surround yourself with hardworking students and eventually become like them, try StudyGang’s Virtual Reading Rooms. It’s absolutely FREE.

#9. Use Mnemonic Devices

Mnemonics are memory clues that are usually used to associate information with a visual image, a sentence, or a word. The various types of mnemonic devices that can be used are Visual image, Acrostic (or sentence), Acronym, Rhymes or Alliteration, etc.

Vector art; boy studying and learning using visuals

In most of these mnemonic devices, we try to associate them with certain images or words which are known to us or easy to remember. For instance, The sentence “After School to College” to memorize the trigonometric value signs in the 4 quadrants. Or using the method of chunking while remembering a 10-digit phone number by breaking it down into two or three slots. For example, 9437 145 322.

The Bottom Line

There are many fun, simple and even delicious ways to improve your memory.

Exercising your mind and body, meditating, enjoying a quality piece of chocolate and reducing the amount of added sugar in your diet are all excellent techniques.

Try adding a few of these science-backed tips to your daily routine to boost your brain health and keep your memory in top condition.

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Written by

Avinash Tripathi

Founder & Chief Productivity Engineer at StudyGang. Making a dent in the universe, one user at a time.