The human brain should have the ability to retrieve information at the drop of a hat, yet there are times when we find ourselves forgetting important things.

Whether you’re a college student who’s preparing for an important exam or a senior citizen who doesn’t want to lose cherished memories, there are many effective ways to sharpen and enhance your memory. Let’s memorise!

Effective Memory Enhancing Methods

1. Drink Moderately

You’ll be glad to know that memory and alcohol have an interesting relationship, but take note that too much alcohol handicaps your memory. Everyone knows this, especially if you’re out the whole night and don’t remember how you got home. Too much alcohol has negative effects on the brain cells. There is evidence, however, that light to moderate consumption of alcohol can enhance cognition and memory. Although more studies are needed, there were some studies that found moderate alcohol drinkers tested better on certain cognition and memory tests as compared to non-drinkers and very heavy drinkers. Those who consume up to 2 glasses of wine per day are 45% less likely to develop dementia or Alzheimer’s disease than non-drinkers.

Red Wine

2. Avoid Multitasking

If it is not required, avoid multitasking. Even though multitasking is considered a skill, studies have shown that 98% of people can really only focus on one activity at a time. By multitasking, you’re switching your attention from one task to another. This produces a tendency to mix up and lose some information. The more you multitask, the less information you retain.

Image courtesy of www.forbes.com

Image courtesy of www.forbes.com

3. Exercise

Whenever we hit a memory wall, we tend to either sleep on it or go on a leisurely walk to try to remember things. The brain needs to have the right amount of blood and oxygen to function properly and moving or doing regular exercise every day will give the brain a big boost. At least 20 minutes of aerobic exercise daily is a big help.

4. Meditate   

 Studies have shown that mindfulness and meditation can improve memory recall  within 8 weeks. Meditation can teach us to concentrate. During meditation, the brain stops processing information as actively as it usually does. Mediation can be compared to a preventive maintenance of the brain by shutting it down and letting it rest when it needs to. It takes out stress and helps us process and relay information.

Image courtesy of www.yogaloft.com.au

Image courtesy of www.yogaloft.com.au

5. Caffeine

If you’re a person who cannot start their day without having a cup of coffee, you might be on to something. Although caffeine as a memory enhancer is still debatable, most research has stated that there is no negative effect on memory. One study found that taking a caffeine pill after doing a task led to enhanced memory recall. The research in this study focused on the effects of caffeine on memory consolidation. Memory consolidation also means the process of strengthening the memories we have already created and stored. Thus the researchers believe the effects occurred when caffeine was ingested right after learning the tasks.

Coffee

6. Association and Visualisation

Learning to turn random words into images can help us remember those words easily. For example, if you place your glasses on the kitchen table and then visualise your glasses eating all the food on the table, you are much more likely to remember where you placed them after a long period of time. This can work for many things.

7. Sleep and Relaxation          

Much research has proven that getting the right amount of sleep improves memory, insight, concentration and cognition. Power naps also help to refresh your brain during the day if you feel run down.

Sleepy

It’s natural to be concerned and panic about an upcoming exam, date or a job interview. We want to do our best during these times, but anxiety can ruin if for us. Short term, moderate stress can be good in boosting our memory, but when stress and anxiety is too much and out of control it will affect our judgement and memory. Constant worries and stress put pressure on memory and the brain. If you feel stressed, go out and have some fresh air, walk and relax.

8. Learn To Use External Cues and Reminders

For appointments, enter a reminder on your smartphone and set an alarm to make sure you take a look at it. Or, if you need to remember to take a specific medicine every morning, place it somewhere where you would normally look every day. For instance, if you make a cup of tea or coffee in the morning, you could place your medicine inside the mug you are going to use or next to your tea bags.

9. Pay Attention

These techniques will be useless if you’re not paying attention to what you need to remember in the first place. There are times when we cannot remember things to begin with but trying to stay in the present and truly paying attention on any task at hand will surely help with your memory. Try to minimise distractions. When meeting new people, repeat their names when you’re talking to them and acknowledge them. Try to remember particular physical attributes so you can link that to their name. Pay attention to particular things they say and you’ll have a much greater chance of remembering not only their name but what they are like.

There is a saying that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks. However, when it comes to the human brain, learning is a constant action. The brain has an astonishing ability to change and adapt and this holds true when it comes to memory and learning. Your brain can accomplish great things, you just need to nurture it from time to time.

About Author

Jon specialises in research and content creation for content marketing campaigns. He’s worked on campaigns for some of Australia’s largest brands including across Technology, Cloud Computing, Renewable energy and Corporate event management. He’s an avid scooterist and musician.