Have you ever forgotten something before? Maybe you misplaced your house keys or forgot someone’s name. Some of us have struggled with recalling information at some points. Of course, the more we age, the more we become forgetful.
Also, the biggest reason we forget is that we are not paying attention. Due to the emergence of a digital world, we rely more on external equipment such as a smartphone. It makes us easily distracted and we forget things more.
It is important to know the strategies to improve your memory since forgetfulness is human nature. Knowing these strategies will improve your cognitive abilities. But before we discuss them, let’s briefly explain how the memory works.
How Are Memories Processed?
Our brain is a marvel. It can store data and information worth a zillion terabytes and can recall them accurately. For many years, scientists wondered how the human memory functions but almost to no avail.
In 2016, a new discovery was made. It showed that a certain protein in our brains ensures the formation and loss of memory. Yet, there is still so much that has not been discovered about how this works. What we know is that information processing can come in three (3) stages: encoding, decoding, and storage.
This is the first stage of information processing. This is when information or events that you are experiencing are consciously encoded by your brain. This can be interpreted by sounds, smell, touch, and images. Semantic encoding is when you attach meanings to your sensory interpretation, and it is this encoding that ensures better retention.
The information encoded is stored in various parts of our brain, which contains nerve cells called neurons. These neurons are like a network that sends signals to themselves. They help memory storage and retrieval. Having a strong neural connection will enhance remembrance.
Our memories can be long or short-termed. Short-term memories are short-lived. For instance, after a meal, your brain may choose to forget or recall this event. But memories that are long-term store for a long time like riding a bicycle or your first love.
As we age, our memories weaken. This is because our brain loses some neurons that are important for information storage connections. You may want to click on https://www.helpguide.org/articles/alzheimers-dementia-aging/age-related-memory-loss.htm to learn more about how age can affect our memories.
Retrieving a memory is the last stage of information processing. Having been stored, your brain can recall events or knowledge later on. Also, repeatedly remembering information can strengthen your neuron’s connection. It is important to note that the way information is encoded is not exactly how it will be recalled.
Popular Memory Improvement Strategies That Can Help
Since we now know how memory works, let us look at the most popular memory improvement strategies that have been proven to be effective.
Meditation improves memories. Our brain stores information in a database called the working memory. New things learned are stored in this database till the brain decides to either do away with or store them.
Since we use our working memories every day, we need to strengthen them. Meditation can make this possible by improving our concentration, which in turn, helps us recall things faster. It is counterintuitive because when meditating, our brain slows down the processing of information but improves the sharpness of recalling.
2. Eating Habits
“Watch what you eat and drink” is a popular improvement strategy. Research has shown that eating certain foods can enhance our memories. Berries are one of such; they contain flavonoids which are said to strengthen the brain neurons connections. Fish is a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids which improve memory.
Since caffeine makes you alert when ingested, some studies have shown that it can improve your memory performance, but an overdose may be harmful. Also, sugar, in the form of glucose, can boost thinking abilities. Chocolate and nuts have antioxidants in them that improve concentration and enhance focus and recalling of knowledge.
Overall, a healthy diet with the right vitamins and minerals will boost your health and memory. You may also want to click here to read more about this.
A good sleeping routine will improve your memory. It is when we are sleeping that information processing occurs. So, when we lack sleep, we can’t recall anything we have learned. Napping is enough to enhance the recalling of events.
Sleeping after acquiring knowledge is not only important but also advisable to sleep before acquiring new knowledge. So, get a good night’s rest or nap before and after acquiring new knowledge. This will improve your ability to recall.
Just as sleeping is important, so is exercise. The brain needs oxygen for proper functionality and blood flow. Therefore, it needs a healthy supply of this oxygen. Through exercise, we improve blood flow in our brain.
Aerobic exercises like running can do this. When running, we trigger a protein known as Cathepsin B. This protein improves the growth of neurons and strengthens their connections with the hippocampus, which is relevant to information retention.
Walking for hours after we learn something new can improve our memory. Whatever the case is, regular exercising can improve your cognitive abilities and perception.
5. Share Your Memory
As the saying goes, “the best way to recall something is when you teach it to someone else”. This is referred to as “the protégé effect”. You will improve your memory retrieval as you prepare to pass the knowledge to others.
And when you pass this information, you can improve your thinking and cognitive prowess. Also, the repetition of this information can enhance your brain to get familiar with this memory.
As more studies of memories are developing, we learn every day how we can retain the knowledge gained. There are many popular strategies that could help; it could be a good sleeping routine or healthy eating habits. Why don’t you try any of the popular proven memory improvement strategies above if you struggle to recall information?