How to improve your memory?
Most of us forget. We forget our car keys, the important grocery items to buy in the market, the lesson during exams, important dates in history, etc.
The failure to remember important information can be problematic sometimes. Can we do something to solve this problem?
Science findings say yes. In this article, I will be talking about the several ways and tips on how you can improve your memory recall.
At the end of this post, you will be able to learn strategies to preserve your brain’s capability to store more information than ever.
But first, let me tell you a story about a man who died because of his failure to remember something. Is forgetting a fatal tendency?
Not all the time, but sometimes maybe. Here’s the story.
In 1907, a man died because he failed to remember an important information. Jack Daniel, a well-known businessman and founder of Jack Daniel’s Whiskey Distillery died because of blood poisoning.
Daniel was a hardworking businessman. Every day, he came to his office and open his safe.
Unfortunately, after years of doing so, one morning Daniel forgot his safe combination. To his disappointment, he kicked the safe.
His act did not open the safe. He broke his toe instead. The injury caused the blood poisoning. Several years later, Daniel died from that injury.
The case of Jack Daniel can be the most tragic consequence of not able to remember important information.
The story also tells us that simply repeating a task does not lead to memory recall. In fact, when the behavior is repetitive, the brain will start to operate on autopilot.
This means that the behavior is executed without conscious processing.
The death was not directly associated with forgetting but on the act of kicking the safe. But still, forgetting triggered the act that led to Daniel’s death.
The lesson? Don’t do anything when you are angry.
So what can you do to avoid a situation like this? Can you do something to improve your memory?
Scientific findings suggest that a brain can be trained to improve its memory recall ability.
For instance, one study suggests that grouping pieces of information into a category is an effective memory recall strategy.
For instance, if you want to remember what happened on a certain day a week ago, you need to start on the location of the event. Concentrate on that.
After determining where the event took place, you need to concentrate on the “what.” Try to recall what you did, what others were doing and saying, and so on.
The researcher, Dr. Craig Thorley called this approach the “clustered recall” technique.
This is an exact opposite of the classic free recall strategy. In the free recall, people try to remember the pieces of information (e.g. facial feature of the criminal, height, weight, etc.) in any way they want.
In the previous study, eyewitnesses of the crime remembered more when using the clustered recall than the free recall.
The reason why the clustered recall is effective is that the brain loves association. This means that your brain wants incorporated information rather than a random and disconnected one.
Although the study was designed for criminal identification purposes, you can use it in your daily life activity.
Apply the clustered recall technique to improve your memory.
Additional scientifically tested techniques to improve your memory recall
- Meditate. A research suggests that meditation increases brain’s ability to store more information in two months. The experts suspect that during meditation the brain stops doing what it usually does. This phenomenon can be surprising. But it works.
- Drink coffee. Although many neuroscientists are reluctant to believe in this idea, a recent study found that taking a caffeinated pill boosts memory.
- Eat berries. One study found that eating blueberries for twelve weeks improved the memory of the participants. This is because of the flavonoid content of berries which is good for enhancing neural connection in the brain.
- Exercise. A regular exercise will not only improve your memory but also slows memory deterioration. Exercising does not require you to go to the gym. A simple walk every morning or afternoon will do.
- Chew a gum. This may sound a joke but science finds it helpful. Chewing a gum during studying can help you recall most of the information you want to remember later. One study found that those who chewed gum remembered more information than those who did not.
- Get enough sleep. A sufficient sleep helps the brain to consolidate more information. A study found that people who slept after memorizing were able to recall more information than those who did not sleep.
When I was a student, I used to drink several cups of coffee during my study sessions. Coffee seemed helped me achieved excellent academic performance.
I hope that these techniques will help you too.
Have you tried some of these techniques? What worked and what didn’t? Let’s talk about it. Leave a comment below.
I’m a licensed psychometrician, author, and blogger. I’m currently working as a University instructor teaching psychology. I love writing and doing psychological research.