Can’t remember where you left your car keys or your kids favourite brand of cereal? There's no way around the fact that as we get older, memory erodes and it gets harder to recall information. However, it is not impossible to boost your memory power and improve your ability to recall what you need to.
If you follow these five simple rules to supercharge your memory, you too may find that your ability to recall information has vastly improved:
Visualization is actually one of the secret methods that many of the World Champions of Memory use when attempting to memorize a deck of shuffled cards. It’s easier for your brain to access a mental photograph, allowing for better memory recall.
The technique is simple: associate key information with a memorable feature, person, action or color. Use memory recall for the memorable item, which then leads to the visualization of what it is you’re trying to remember. Just using this simple guideline can vastly improve your ability to recall.
Exercise Your Brain
Just as you would train a muscle to get stronger, you have to train your mind. This helps create new neural pathways, which will improve memory power and overall brain performance. Keep your brain fit with new activities that test various skills, rather than sticking to a similar activity over and over; for example, a lawyer or analyst may want to grab a paint brush and a canvas. Even playing different types of puzzles—a crossword today, Sudoku tomorrow—is better than doing the same type over and over again.
Watch Your Stress Levels
Stress contributes to a bad short-term memory as well as loss of recall power, providing plenty of motivation to curb your stress levels. Any negative emotions such as anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away at the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed as a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.
Furthermore, new research on pond snails has revealed that high levels of stress can block memory processes. Researchers trained snails and found that when they were exposed to multiple stressful events they were unable remember what they had learned, stressing the importance of maintaining low stress levels.
Create Strategic Distractions
Switching up your tasks from one subject to a slightly different one forces your brain to try and hold onto the first thing you were focusing on, according to researchers. The momentary distraction might also help reduce your stress level, helping your concentration even further.
Add Memory Superfoods to Your Diet
Research is showing that you can increase your chances of maintaining a healthy brain well into your old age if you add the so-called "smart" foods to your daily eating regimen. These include blueberries, wild salmon, nuts and seeds, avocados, kale and other omega-3 rich foods. Rich in folic acid, quinoa has been shown to quicken information dispensation and improve our memory.
So there you have it! The next time you are feeling lost when trying to recall something, follow these rules and watch your memory improve.
Got any little-known tips to improve memory that work well in your experience?