Top Five Ways to Improve Your Memory

reminderYour memory is one of the most powerful tools that you have. It can help you pass tests and exams, win an argument, save money and acquire a new skill. But as you get older, your memory begins to deteriorate and if you want to keep it as powerful as it was when you were younger, you need to put in place a few of the following strategies.

Have a Glass of Wine

You may be surprised to hear this, but some preliminary research suggests that people who drink in moderation do better in some memory tests than heavy drinkers and non-drinkers. That means that you shouldn’t completely deprive yourself, but you should be careful not to drink excessively. A French study that followed around 4,000 people over the age of 65 found that people who drank in moderation who consumed up to two glasses of wine a day were 45% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than non-drinkers.

Get Up and About

Have you ever taken a break from studying or working to take a walk around the block? If you have, you’ll understand this tip – you need to get moving to not only exercise your body, but also to exercise your brain. Studies show that those who exercise their body regularly do better on cognitive tests than those who don’t.

If you don’t do regular exercise, plaque can build up in the arteries and the blood vessels, meaning that they become thinner and less able to transport blood around your body. That’s bad news for both your heart and your mind – so get up and get moving!

Visualise and Associate

This tip sounds a little more complicated than it is – but it’s actually incredibly easy. It’s a great technique for remembering both everyday information and for trickier information when you’re studying for your exams. It works by associating everyday events or information with a picture or a set of pictures. When your brain is trying to remember the information, it will remember the picture that you associated with the information, thus enabling you to remember.

Example: say that you’re going to the cinema and you’re meeting a friend there at 8 o clock. If you’re prone to forgetting times, try visualizing a big number eight dancing outside of the cinema. Alternatively, you could use the word ‘ate’ instead of ‘eight’ and you could picture yourself eating at the cinema. It doesn’t matter what pictures you use or what you associate with the information – as long as it works for you.

Pay Attention

One reason that you may feel like you’re being forgetful may not be because you’re forgetting information –  it could be that the information isn’t making its way into your memory bank in the first place. That being said, every time you’re trying to memorize something, make sure you hold the information in your mind for at least eight seconds. That’s the optimum amount of time for you to have the information in order for you to remember it – so make sure you pay attention!

Chunk Information

One of the simplest ways of remembering large amounts of information is to separate it into chunks. That means instead of remembering a large amount of information in one go, separate it into smaller, easier to manage chunks. One great example of this is with remembering phone numbers – let’s say that your new phone number is 01234567567. Instead of attempting to remember that entire string of numbers, separate it into chunks – ‘01234’ ‘567’ ‘567’. Say the numbers or the information out loud, using the chunking technique, and you’ll begin to remember the chunks far more easily than you would a large amount of information.