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7 tips to help you improve your memory

Retain more information and enhance recall with these tools. By Priya Prakasan

We’re being bombarded with information every single minute, so it’s a wonder we remember all the stuff that we do. Memorisation isn’t a skill that comes naturally to everyone. It’s something that needs to be built on so that you can retain crucial details. Follow these tips to exercise your memory muscle and improve your focus.

1. Create a memory palace
This is a tried and tested method that many people use to remember a variety of things, from small tasks at work to a long grocery list. The idea is to create a route through a very familiar location, like your office or home, which will be your memory palace. Create visual memories of the items to be remembered and image them in detail. While doing so, link each to a specific spot in the memory palace location. Create mental pictures and stories, so that the associations will be easy to remember. This will help you recollect details with ease.

2. Create a linked narrative
Another visualisation tool, here you are linking your tasks together to create an out of the ordinary story/narrative that serves as a reminder. By connecting tasks you’re creating a link that will help you remember that’s next. Form simple associations between items for better recollection. The more vivid, engaging, or odd the story/ visualisation, the more effective it will be. This is a great way to train your brain to memorise things faster and optimise learning.

3. Break the routine
One of the most effective ways to set a mental reminder is to break the habit surrounding the action. Break the sequence of events leading to the action, this way you will intentionally jog your memory thanks to the odd feeling you’ll experience when you don’t follow your usual routine. This feeling acts as a reminder, alerting you about what has to be done.

4. Give yourself a mental challenge
Stimulate your brain cells by incorporating a mental workout in to your daily routine. These types of challenges result in improved mental acuity, making your mind sharper and helping you train your brain to memorise things quickly. Try different routes to work, don’t use GPS, try eating with chopsticks, use your non-dominant hand for everyday activities, stop relying on technology to check spellings or to do math problems… All of these will activate different parts of your brain and force you to use new neural pathways, resulting in increased brain activity. These challenges will make memorisation a piece of cake.

5. Take notes
Another tip is to ditch your smartphone or laptop. Instead of using these, actually write things down (we’re talking paper and pen) that you want to remember later. The act of writing registers and encodes the information in your mind because of the effort involving, helping in better recall.

6. Use visual, auditory, and verbal aids
To enhance your memory power determine which method works the best for you. You can accordingly use different learning styles and include visual, auditory, and verbal aids. . If you are a spatial learner, use images, and colour to organise information. If you are an auditory learner you should use sound, music, mnemonics, and rhyme. For those who are verbal or linguistic learners, use words in writing and speech to remember things better.
These associations will create a layered effect that will help you retain a lot more information a lot more easily. By attaching different sensory experiences to a single memory, recall becomes a lot easier.

7. Practice every day
These tools and tips are only as effective as their utilisation. Daily practice is necessary to build a strong memory. Like your body needs exercise to be healthy, your mind needs these mental challenges to stay in top shape. Develop an interest in what you are learning, build associations, and give your brain a workout every day.

Photograph: Freepik 

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