The older we get, the less we are able to remember (unless you’re so young you can’t remember anything, but whose keeping track?).
This is not uncommon and becomes more apparent through old age. So, there may be times where you go to do something, and suddenly forget what you were going to do, or maybe you learned something, and within an instant, that information was lost. This is not uncommon, but becomes more of an issue as your age increases (apparently).
As a result, here are five things you may want to try in order to have a better memory. Whether for academics, or everyday life – these are applicable to you!
1. Continue learning
Okay, so this is something you might or might not want to hear. I believe that everyone will always desire learning new information – it’s just that people desire to learn different things. From math to hairdressing to hockey; everyone has some desire to learn if it can be enjoyed. That being said, learning may take motivation to fulfill, which can be difficult to attain. From this information, it can strongly be urged for anyone to continue with further academia. This will have you be forced to continue learning, which can be motivating for many people.
Studies have shown that, believe it or not, a higher level of education correlates with a higher level memory at old age. It is believed that this is a result of maintaining an active memory for a longer period of time. That said – further academics is not essential for a better memory. You could consider joining a hobby which stimulates your brain, such as chess, reading (book club), puzzles, etc. Alternatively, you could even just acquire a job which forces you to use your brain! Participate and volunteer to do anything your brain doesn’t normally use in terms of your skill ability. Enjoy it, and make it a lifelong priority for your learning!
2. Repeat knowledge you desire
Have you ever had to remember a phone number, but didn’t have anything to write it on? Instead, you had to repeat it to yourself constantly to have a chance of remembering the numbers? Well – this is essentially a point in itself. When you learn something, or are told something and want to remember it, keep repeating it to yourself in your head or out loud as it will increase your chance of remembering it a later stage.
This also works for remembering where you placed something! So, the next time you place your keys on the bench; simply say out loud the place where they were placed, and you are far more likely to remember where you placed them. Trust me – I’ve done this many times.
3. Space it out
Learning does not have to be executed in a long, one session period. Take your time when learning new information. Don’t feel obliged to cram new information in all at once – your brain does not like this method! Instead, space out your learning schedule in different intervals. For example, today, you might want to focus on learning about the human brain for 30 minutes, and then take a 10-minute break. Walk around, and do something else for a little while.
This is in particular, more important for complicated information; the amount of brain power required is beyond that of simply remembering a name or two. Can I also add that research has shown that this simple ‘study’ modification improves recall in both healthy people, as well as those who are challenged with certain physical based cognitive problems, including multiple sclerosis.
4. Having belief
“I must be getting old” is a common phrase many older people hear and use, and therefore, begin to believe in that saying. From this negative stereotype being placed on the middle-aged and the elderly, it’s too common for these people to have a hindered memory resulting for a lack of belief in themselves. I mean, what’s the point in learning and improving your memory if society says you’re old and therefore, have a bad memory?
Those who fully believe in these stereotypes are those who are not likely to even attempt to improve their memory, and therefore, will more than likely experience a cognitive decline in comparison to those who believe they are in control of their memory regardless of age. It’s strange how the mind works, isn’t it? To those who believe they can maintain a high-level memory – keep at it! You are the ones who are going to have a better chance of maintaining a sharp mind as you age, or even see improvements.
5. Every sense is vital
Finally, you have made it to the last point – that point being that as a learner, you should use all your senses. The more senses being used, the more your brain will want to remember the information, and… you know what comes next, right? You will be on an incline to retaining your memory! That sounds good in theory, but how is this exactly achieved? Essentially, with what you’re trying to keep in your memory, try attaching some sort of emotional sense to it.
A study was executed with adults being exposed to a set of emotionless images; each image had a unique smell. Later, another set of images were shown to the same adults without any odors, and guess what? They were able to point out the ones with odors (unsurprisingly) and especially those with a good, positive smell. So, from this study, you are able to become adventurous with your senses to improve your memory. This is not restricted to smell – but also taste, sounds, feel, etc. Find which works for you best and keep working on it! Some senses would work better for different things. A simple example for this would be tasting foods; it will allow for you to remember which food it is, obviously.
So, from these tips, you should have gained an insight to what is generally required to increase your ability to retain your memory. It will take some time to adjust to these steps, but is something you won’t regret!
By Valerie S.