Popular Strategies for Improving Memory

Memory is important in daily life for storing store thoughts, experiences and images from the past. Unfortunately for the human mind, its capacity to build new memories–both short- and long-term–and recall old ones gets more difficult with age. Even for individuals who do not suffer from the degenerative disease, memory can slowly worsen. But certain activities will help keep your mind sharp.

Exercise Memory Economy

The more you’re attempting to keep stored in your brain, the tougher it can be for your mind to keep track of the information and recall it properly. The best way to save your memory for the things you need most is to avoid relying on it whenever possible. Create designated places to put your phone, keys, wallet and other belongings, so you don’t rack your brain trying to remember where you put them. The more routines you establish, the easier it will be to keep things in order and the more brainpower you will save.

Process Information Multiple Ways

The mind can process information in different ways, to varying degrees of success. You can exercise your brain by attempting to store information in your memory using several different approaches. If you hear the directions to someone’s house, that may be enough to get you there without problems. But you might also consider writing down the directions, even if you don’t use them; this helps you visualize the words and reinforces the memory. You can even draw a map of the directions to process the memory in a new way, which further implants the information in your mind.

Put Space Between Repetitions

Memories aren’t forged under the intense heat of rapid repetition. While that may be an effective way to cram for a test, it won’t help produce long-term memories that last. Instead, give your mind a rest in between periods of study to help it better absorb and store information. Repeat the information several times, putting a relaxing rest period in between each repetition.

Memorize Before Sleep

When you learn or take in new information shortly before going to bed, the rest period of sleeping makes you better able to recall the information the next day. The less you can do between memorizing and going to bed, the better; even simple tasks like brushing your teeth can disrupt how well your learning from one night carries over to the next day.

About this Author

Jonathan Croswell has spent more than five years writing and editing for a number of newspapers and online publications, including the “Omaha World-Herald” and “New York Newsday.” Croswell received a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Nebraska.