Many people have a hard time remembering things. Students want to boost their memory to learn faster, adults want the same to be able to finish everything they need for the day. In short, we all want a better-working memory that will help us excel in life.
Before you go to the ways you can hack your brain to remember better, you first need to know what exactly memory is and how it is created.
There are two types of memory: short-term and long-term memory. The first is temporary and it usually serves to remember things you need to do in a particular moment, such as remembering a number you need to dial. However, the moment you dial the number, you kind of forget it (in most cases).
For this information to go into the long-term memory, it needs to be repeated, worked on, or put into the brain by using some tricks. So, how can you hack into your brain to remember stuff more easily?
In every second of your life, the brain lights up in different areas under the influence of what you perceive, do, and feel. The brain re-lives the memories by lighting up the same way it did when it first experienced them.
For example, a certain part of your brain will light up from listening to a song, while you are experiencing a strong emotion caused by the one you love (which will cause another area of the brain to light up), and so on, and so forth.
Next time you hear that song, your brain will light up in all areas it lit up when that memory was created. Thus, your brain will relive the moment which you will perceive as memory. What song reminds you of someone you love or used to love?
This reflex can be easily hacked into and you can train your brain to experience the information you need. It’s a conditioned reflex, just like a mouse that has started associating food with the ring of a bell.
So, if you are preparing for an exam, you can do this:
Take a cheap perfume that you haven’t used before and that doesn’t associate your memories to anybody or anything. Spray it onto yourself while you are studying and take a shower when you are finished. Then you could go to bed (read more about sleep and memory below).
Next time you want to remember the information you gathered while wearing the perfume, spray some of it onto yourself again. However, don’t use the perfume in other situations, except for studying.
You can do this with other stimuli as well. Like rubbing a pebble with a unique texture, or chewing a gum with a different flavor. Give it a try.
Sometimes, conditioned-reflex memory won’t help you out too much. It requires meeting conditions that are sometimes hard to meet. Working on your perception will improve your memory.
So, how to work on increasing your perceptive abilities?
Start by paying attention to every detail you can notice, like signs, colors, smells, sounds – pretty much everything you can notice. Next, ask yourself what you saw, try to revise the things you just noticed and try to remember how they were ordered, what they were like etc.
Practice this, so that it becomes your habit – perceiving things around you can help you out for many things besides memory. However, this is only the first step.
Next, you need to start analyzing your knowledge. Start connecting the dots and see how everything relates to everything – it really does. You need to start analyzing every new information and put it in relation to what you already know.
Things that can be grouped are more easily remembered, so connecting information to each other is a key element to remembering them more easily. Eventually, this technique will help you to remember so much, that you may even feel overwhelmed.
Sharing is not only something that is useful for others, but also for yourself. It has been proven over and over again that the best memory retention happens when you pass on the knowledge. Teachers know so much of their subjects not because they are all geniuses, but because they pass on the knowledge every day.
Whatever you learn, try to share it with someone who might find it interesting. Discuss the interesting things about it and make sure they understand what you are speaking about. If you are able to pass the knowledge on, you understand it. And if you are able to understand it, you remember it.
MEMORY’S BEST FRIENDS AND WORST ENEMIES
Whatever you choose to be your main method of remembering things, you need to know this: certain circumstances contribute to better memory, while others make you forget things.
The most important thing that contributes to good memory is good sleep. The largest amount of information transfer from the short-term to the long-term memory happens during sleep. So, maintaining a good sleep pattern and at least 7 hours of sleep during the night is important.
Some foods can contribute to good memory, such as cocoa which can be found raw, powdered or in dark chocolate. Make sure to introduce it into your diet, if you haven’t already.
Memory’s worst enemy is stress. Although we face stress daily, make sure you find a way of combating it. The best practice for relieving stress is sport, meditation, and genuine fun. Spend time for yourself and relax when you can.
We hope you found this information useful!
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A professional writer with over a decade of incessant writing skills. Her topics of interest and expertise range from psychology, to all sorts of disciplines such as science and news.