How To Improve Memory Skills

Can you envisage how life would be if you had a perfect memory? You could read a novel in just one sitting and never forget anything. A good or boosted memory is an essential part of a successful life. Many of us have difficulty memorizing facts and figures, names, dates, etc. But with some confidence, you can improve them by using a specific system for remembering facts and figures. It’s easier than memorizing phone numbers or birthdays because there’s a method to follow.

It is a complex cognitive process involving short-term storage and retrieval of information and the capacity to store, organize, and categorize new information. So before jumping to the tips on how to improve your memory skills, let’s first list the reasons for poor memory.

Why Someone Suffers From Poor Memory?

🧠 Age-related and Environment-related

Your age

Memory can decline as you get old and mature. Older people may have difficulty remembering new information. However, they still generally remember things that happened to them earlier in life. They tend to have more problems with names than with other types of information. If you notice memory loss getting worse, see a doctor for an evaluation for dementia.

Your environment

It’s easier to remember something if you’re in the right setting. Distractions and unwanted movements can significantly affect your memory. That is why a calm environment is the first thing you need when you feel unease, especially when remembering the sort of things.

🧠 Diet

veggirs to improve memory skills
Photo credits: Nadine P.

One of the main reasons for poor memory is a lack of a healthy diet. You may have tried to eat well and consume those “brain foods” that claim to boost memory. Many foods are good for your memory, but it’s important to remember some of the most basic ones like leafy greens and fatty fish. Leafy greens contain vitamin K, which is essential for cognitive health. It helps keep cognitive decline away by improving communication between brain cells. 

On top of eating foods that are good for your memory, it’s essential for you not only to avoid food that reduces cognition abilities but also to eliminate entire foods that contain toxins such as corn syrup with high fructose content and artificial sweeteners, lead, aluminum, and mercury because these toxins affect brain function over time.

🧠 Alcohol use

There are plenty of reasons for poor memory that have nothing to do with aging. It’s possible, for example, that your drinking habits may be affecting your cognitive abilities. Alcohol is known to impair the brain’s ability to store new memories. Long-term alcohol use can actually lead to memory loss.

Alcoholics are at higher susceptibility to developing dementia or what is sometimes called alcoholic dementia, which is a condition characterized by memory problems as well as difficulty learning new things and communicating effectively. Excessive alcohol use can also affect your sleep cycle, which in turn has been linked to poor concentration and forgetfulness.

🧠 Smoking

Smoking is a consequential risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease that can decline your thinking ability. Tobacco smoking is thought to be involved in the development of nearly half of all cases of vascular dementia and an even higher percentage of cases of Alzheimer’s disease. And it has been estimated that if you smoke, your chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease are twice as high as those who don’t smoke.

🧠 Stress

stress affects memory skills

Stress can also affect your memory, making it hard to remember things. Whether you’re presenting a report at work or running from a dog, stress causes changes in the brain that interfere with your ability to retrieve information. If you’re stressed out over work or personal matters, then that stress can make it harder for you to concentrate on anything else. It makes it hard to keep up with everything around you and causes brain fog, as well as forgetfulness.

 Stress may be to blame if you find yourself having trouble focusing or remembering specific details, like the name of the person you just met or where you left your car keys.

🧠 Depression and anxiety

If you have depression, it may be a cause of your memory issues. Depression can cause you to lose concentration and focus, which makes it hard to remember what you were doing or planning to do. Anxiety can also affect your ability to focus and remember things. If you’re worried about something, then that worry can distract you from what’s going on at the moment. 

🧠 Loneliness and isolation

Loneliness is also a factor. It’s a scientifically proven fact that isolation can affect your brain and mess with your memory. This is because loneliness causes you to be more distracted, decreasing the amount of attention you pay to new information or tasks. Additionally, loneliness has been found to increase blood pressure and stress levels, which are known to diminish the formation of new memories. 

🧠 Vitamin B-12 deficiency

By and large, the symptoms of a vitamin B-12 deficiency are similar to those of other conditions, so it’s not a problem you can diagnose on your own. If you think you might have a case of vitamin B-12 deficiency, talk to your doctor about having your blood tested for the condition.

To treat a vitamin B-12 deficiency, you’ll need to start taking supplements or eating more foods that are rich in the stuff. Typically, doctors will prescribe one 1,000 microgram supplement per day to be taken orally. While this amount is considered safe for most people, it’s worth checking with your doctor before starting any regimen, just in case.

If supplements aren’t for you or if you’re just looking for some food options that will help keep your vitamin levels up, dieticians recommend eating two or three servings of animal products like meat or eggs every day (especially red meats like beef). You can also acquire some extra vitamins by drinking fortified cereals or adding nutritional yeast to dishes.

Tips On Boosting Memory

tips on improving memory skills

💥 Exercise

Exercise promotes blood flow to your entire body, including your brain. This can help keep you more alert, which allows you to retain more information and focus better. Exercise also releases hormones that help the function of brain cells. It stimulates the new growth of cells in the hippocampus — the area of the brain responsible for memory function. When physical activity is combined with mental tasks like crossword puzzles or reading, it can be especially helpful in preventing cognitive decline as we age.

Regular exercise has been shown to improve focus and concentration. It can increase dopamine production, which helps reduce stress levels and improve memory and concentration.

💥 Eat right

The number of people with deteriorated memory has risen in recent years, and the rates should continue to elevate for some period of time before leveling off.

According to some studies, more than a third of those diagnosed with memory-related diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, have dementia that can be reversed by changes in diet. It is believed that fruits and vegetables seem to protect the brain from dementia because they contain compounds called antioxidants that combat free radicals that damage cells over time.

💥 Stay hydrated

Dehydration slows down brain functions and reduces both alertness and energy level. A lack of water can also make you nauseous or cause headaches: so drink up! To stay mentally sharp, keep drinking throughout the day. Sip on water or a non-sugary beverage throughout your waking hours, and aim for at least 8 cups a day and more in hot weather.

💥 Manage stress

While not a memory cure-all, managing stress is one of the best things you can do for your overall health. It will help reduce your risk of myriad physical ailments, but it can also contribute to better memory. When we’re stressed out, our concentration takes a hit. Our ability to absorb new information is reduced, making it harder to commit that information to memory. Start implementing some healthy coping mechanisms into your daily routine like the following:

  • Try walking meditation —it’s a great way to calm down while getting some exercise.
  • Practice deep breathing exercises in times of extreme stress or frustration—you may feel silly at first, but trust this technique!
  • Consider tracking when and how often you feel stressed out—you may notice patterns that give insight into what triggers your anxiety (and, therefore, how best to treat or avoid those triggers)

💥 Get enough sleep

One of the most common quibble from people with fewer sleeping hours is that they can’t remember things in some situations. Overwork, anxiety, and even lack of sleep are the frequently combined reasons for this. The first thing you need to know about memory consolidation is that it’s a very complex process that affects all parts of the brain and body.

The sleep cycle is the time between each period of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. A good night’s sleep will give your brain the time it needs to consolidate memories from all areas of your life: what you ate for breakfast, what you did yesterday, new information you just learned in class—and keep them there long-term by turning off neurons, so they don’t become active anymore.

💥 Relax

You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge, so know that stress is a significant factor in memory loss. Don’t beat and stress yourself up if you can’t remember something; be kind to yourself! And then take a deep breath, because relaxation is always the key. Try meditation or some simple stretches to get started on a path of self-care. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, have fun! A good memory is one that’s filled with happy memories, so do what makes you happy!

💥 Use all your senses.

Remember that the more senses you utilize when learning something new, the more your brain will remember it. For example, say you’re trying to memorize a poem. Reading it over, again and again, is helpful to an extent. But for further recall, try reciting it or even acting out the parts of words or phrases that have a lot of meaning for you. If there’s another sense that’s relevant, say the poem has a strong smell associated with it; try bringing in those elements as well.

💥 Meditate

Meditation has been shown to improve memory. Studies have found that meditation allows you to focus better, which in turn improves your memory. Furthermore, meditation reduces stress, and stress has a solid correlation to poor memory.

So you have to learn how to meditate. To do this, start with sitting comfortably, with good posture, and eliminate distractions by turning off your phone, TV, and other gadgets. After a few minutes of relaxation, it’s time to start focusing on your breath. Breathe in through the nose for one or two seconds and out through the mouth for two or three seconds longer than you breathed in. Continue this process and let your mind wander as it will. Don’t try to stop it from wandering off-topic, and just focus on breathing steadily until you are ready to stop. You can also use mantras such as “I am calm and all right” or “I can do this.”

Lastly, allow yourself some time every day for meditation to make it effective. Take advantage of little moments throughout the day where you may be bored or tired, such as waiting at the doctor’s office or riding on public transportation; instead of scrolling through Facebook on your phone during these moments, try meditating!

💥 Try mnemonics

One of the most effective ways to remember a list is to use mnemonic devices. Mnemonics are tools you can use to help remember certain pieces of information, and they are particularly helpful for remembering lists.

Where possible, apply mnemonics to learning complex information, not just lists. Let’s say you’re trying to memorize the names of the planets. You could remember them as “My Very Eager Mother Just Served Us Nine Potatoes.” There are various effective ways to make a mnemonic device memorable for you; choose the one that works best for your mind.

💥 Play games that challenge your brain.

Play games to exercise your brain. Games like crossword puzzles, sudoku, chess, or word games are great for improving memory. These kinds of games allow you to exercise both short- and long-term memory skills. The most effective ones are those where you have to pay attention to what’s happening in the present moment while also recalling pieces of information from the past. In fact, it may be the act of paying attention itself that improves memory.

Attention is the process by which you filter out irrelevant information and attend only to those things that are important to you at a given time. When a person pays attention, the brain takes snapshots of what is focused on so that the person can remember them later on. When you’re trying something new for your mind, don’t forget about taking breaks and having fun. Research shows that people who take time out from their day feel better physically as well as mentally, so give yourself permission!

Changing Habits For Memory Improvement

In order to remember something, we need to store it in the brain. There are several effective ways this can be done:

✏️ Recording

You write down all of the things you need to remember. This is like having a tape recorder permanently installed in your brain. This is effective because you’re like printing the words you need to memorize in two ways. Your hand will write what your brain tells, and your brain memorizes what your hand writes.

✏️ Congruence

You try to find patterns among the things that you’ve stored and notice similarities between them. Aside from patterns, you also try to find signs around you that connect the things you want to memorize. This is related to mnemonics, but you are exercising your photographic memory in this technique.

✏️ Cache

Stores information regardless of whether or not it’s relevant. Another way would be by doing research online or asking someone else who has deep knowledge about the things you want to learn. In this way, you can have the chance to learn more about a particular topic that the internet limits you off.

Bottom Line

It is enough to be sincere and add a little effort to improving your memory skills. The rest will be achieved by the method that you choose, so it’s worth experimenting with different ways until you find a technique that suits you. It isn’t always easy to get started using these strategies. However, once you get into the habit of using them regularly, your memory skills will sharpen in no time.

Our brain works in such a way that it remembers anything that is going to be repeated soon or in the near future. We can’t remember everything we need, but if you apply these techniques, your ability to remember will be much better than before.

If you know someone who’s feeling down and don’t know what to do, click this link to learn how to encourage a stressed person.

Leave a Comment