Today, many people just go online for answers. Why learn if you can look everything up? But you need a fit mind, so here are ways to train and maintain your memory.
In these days of the ubiquitous internet, the largest knowledge bank of mankind, why would you need to have a good memory? But a strong mind isn’t just about knowing trivia or data; there are many other things we need to know, like where we put the car keys. Or, what’s the name of that person who said “hi” to me, but I can’t seem to place her anywhere?
Fortunately, there are many great ways to improve our memories and strengthen our minds! Anyone playing the game of memory with children will be amazed by how well they remember the position of the cards. This isn’t so easy for adults! It’s all a matter of concentration and practice. We’ll show you how to jog your memory!
Less Stress = Better Mental Performance
In order to be mentally fit, you need to balance your life stresses. When you’re too stressed out, your mental performance also goes downhill.
Sometimes just hearing statements like the last two sentences can stress us out even more! How are we supposed to have a “harmonious life” when there are so many deadlines and things that need to be done! But just being conscious of our need for relaxation and self-care is a big step in the right direction.
Here are a few other tips for reducing stress and increasing mental agility:
- Take breaks and relax
- Regular and healthy meals
- Sufficient sleep
- Regular exercise
Especially when everyday life becomes too stressful, we forget to take care of ourselves. We’re too tired to go running, and would rather hang out on the couch in front of the TV eating processed comfort foods. This might seem great in the short-term, and there’s nothing wrong with the occasional Netflix binge, but it doesn’t really relax the body and mind long-term.
Exercise is great, since it releases endorphins (aka our “happy hormones”) that reduce our feelings of pain. Healthy foods can help fuel this exercise, and this combination also improves sleep. Relaxing breaks are also part of the process.
Simple, right? Easy? . . Not exactly. At the very least, when we focus on a healthy lifestyle during a particularly stressful time, we can shift our focus from the problems to ways we can feel better during the midst of them. Plus, all of these healthy benefits might even release chemicals in our brains so we’re better able to think about our favorite memories and create new ones.
Improve Your Memory by Minimizing Distractions
The less your thoughts wander, the more you can fully concentrate on a task. To work effectively, put away your smartphone. Or simply hang a “Please do not Disturb” sign on the office door. A mental to-do list also distracts us: “I still have to think about doing xyz”.
Make room in your brain by writing down everything important, then you don’t have to think about it all the time. One exercise to increase concentration is to consciously focus on only one thing, making use of several senses. Instead of learning vocabulary on the way to work, while watching TV, or on the subway, it’s much more efficient to consciously take time for it.
Memory Training – Example: Learning vocabulary
Find a quiet place where you’ll be undisturbed. Then notice the vocabulary on several levels. Let’s take the English word “pineapple” as an example.
- Listen to how it’s spoken.
- Look at how it’s written.
- Imagine how a pineapple looks or smells or tastes.
- Write down the word (feel).
Mnemonic devices or mnemonics are terms used to describe the so-called “art of memory”. The aim is to improve storing and retaining information in long-term memory. The aids and methods are many, such as rhymes, schemes or mnemonic bridges. A well-known one is the loci technique. With this method, we arrange and link specific content in a fabricated structure.
For example, you take something out of everyday life that you know by heart, like the way to work or a certain room in your apartment. Let’s use the way to work. We mentally mark our path with certain points, like the big oak tree, the bus stop, the red house. We anchor these distinctive points in the memory, in sequence, and can now link them to new content.
Example: Shopping list
|My way points:||My shopping list:|
|Big oak tree||Flour|
I walk out of the house and monkeys are eating bananas while sitting on the garden gate. Flour covers the large oak because it has snowed at night. At the bus stop, someone is milking a cow. The cow nibbles on the red house because it’s made of bread.
We can store memories more easily within such little fantasies than in sterile lists. The more imaginative the better, because we remember concrete, absurd, lively and colorful things more effectively than things that are abstract, boring, rigid and drab.
These activities help us strengthen our memories, but also to relax and have fun with the process. By reducing stress, improving our lifestyle choices, taking time to relax, and having fun with memory games, we can go a long way to having a sharp mind for years to come.