Argh! I can’t remember what I’ve read yesterday! Ridiculous!” Ever experienced this? Sometimes we just find ourselves forgetting what we think we will never forget. Isn’t it annoying? So, what we can do about this? Is there anything that we can do to mitigate the process of forgetting? Or are we all destined to forget everything we have learnt? Well, both yes and no. In this post, I will show you how YOU (yes, you) can improve your memory. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter so you’ll never ever miss any new articles!
In my previous articles, I touched on the fact that the brain is simply unable to multitask and that trying to do so will only kill your productivity. This applies to memory as well. Doing more than two things at once affects how your mind encodes information. Often, we find ourselves forgetting what we have learnt or read and we blame it on our mind’s inability to recall information. Let me ask you this question. How can your mind forget something that was not even stored in your brain in the first place? Well, stop blaming your poor brain. Instead, amend your bad habits. Let’s say that you want to study a chapter of Chemistry today. To facilitate a conducive learning environment, you should place all your electronic devices somewhere inaccessible, perhaps in a locked drawer. Furthermore, practice mindfulness when you study. This means staying focused and motivated with your work at hand. (No daydreaming!) This allows your mind to absorb information much more readily.
#2: Method of Association – Using Mnemonics and Acronyms
The mind is an efficient machine. In other words, your mind will instantly delete anything it deems useless so as to ensure the healthy functioning of the brain. This also effectively prevents information overload as it allows the individual to only remember what he/she needs for survival. This can be both good and bad. Sometimes, your mind interprets what you think is useful as trash and the vice versa is true as well. Why is it that we can remember the embarrassing moments of the past without flaw, while we struggle to remember what we have read as recently as a day ago? This is because your mind places different degrees of importance on different memories. Let’s say you tripped and fell due to a plastic bag on the ground a year ago. I bet you will most likely recall this event today! In this case, this is because your brain has judged this memory as essential to your survival, thus effectively preventing you from making the same mistake again. Do you remember the times when people laughed at you? I can confidently say that you do as well! So why is it that your brain still retains such humiliating memories? In the early history of mankind, being part of a group was a matter of life and death. Being alone only increases one’s chances of being lost and being hunted by predatory animals. As a result, our minds have evolved to prioritise social cohesion and that aforementioned memory (the one about you being laughed to death by others) helps you to understand the minds of others and spurs you to fit in. Meanwhile, our minds have developed to appreciate humour, with the same purpose of helping one build friendships and social connections with other fellow humans.
So what does this have to do with improving our memory? To retain information much more effectively, we can learn to take full advantage of the evolutionary features of our brains. We can do this by using acronyms to represent lists or sentences. The funnier and weirder the acronym, the better the recall effectiveness. You could also utilise rhymes to remember certain information. For instance, “A knight on the rim is grim.” helps chess players remember that a knight is most powerful in the centre of the board.
#3: Taking Omega-3 Supplements
Our brains are about 60% fat. The architecture of our minds are such that we require an adequate amount of fatty acids to sustain its performance. Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in this. Research has shown that consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids, which include Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), help to build cell membranes and prevent inflammation in the body. Meanwhile, Omega-3 fatty acids are key components in the myelin sheaths of neurones, which insulates nerve fibres and increases transmission speed of nerve impulses. This boosts memory formation and increases the processing speed of the mind. In fact, the consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to prevent certain psychotic disorders such as depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
I hope that this article gave you insights into the inner machinations of the brain and how you can improve your memory. If you did enjoy this article or have found it useful, do consider giving it a like! Do follow me if you haven’t done so! Stay tuned for more articles and thanks for reading!