Do you ever completely space why you walked into a room? Do you ever forget what you were just reading? How about forgetting someone’s name that you just met? Accidentally leave the stove on?
If these embarrassing instances sound familiar, this article will delight you.
The truth is, we all forget things (often). Luckily, there are many ways to improve our short-term memory and, in turn, learn how to memorize anything more efficiently. We’re here to help; in this article, we will explore these brilliant ways to optimize memory retention and become wizards of memory.
How to improve short-term memory
What separates short-term memory from long-term memory? How long does short-term memory last? To clarify these all-too-common confusions, short-term memory only lasts between 15-30 seconds. Anything beyond that time, the brain either begins converting into long-term memory or simply forgets.
Below are a few useful, quirky, and perhaps strange tips on how to improve short-term memory. By doing these 4 things throughout your day, you will notice a great decrease in (or perhaps a complete disappearance of) those silly forgetful moments we mentioned earlier.
We thought we would begin this list on a joyful note. Guess what? Laughter really helps to improve short-term memory. Laughing greatly lowers cortisol (stress) hormones. Cortisol is memory’s big enemy. When your bodies feel stress, it is in fight or flight mode; it assumes that whatever it is you are trying to remember can wait because it wants to save all its energy to either fight the stressor or run away from it.
Watching a funny video is probably one of the easiest and most exciting things we can recommend you to do. Laughing and being happy are key to great health and a fantastic short-term memory.
We know that many of you are probably quite excited about this, too: you were right for doodling in class, after all. Even Harvard studies show this fact to be true — doodling can help with us with memory retention, maintaining focus, and with grasping new and abstract concepts. Plus, a blank page can really infect the brain with the creative bug.
3. Eat a healthy diet
Research shows that a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and omega 3’s and low in red meats and dairy does wonder for your brain and memory. This type of diet is easily referred to as the “Mediterranean Diet.” However, there are many other specific foods that help to boost your memory — our favorites can be found here.
Hooray! Another one of the miraculous benefits of meditation!
Studies, again at Harvard Medical School, show that people who regularly practice meditation have a much greater control over their brain’s alpha rhythm — a brainwave that helps to improve concentration and memory retention. As well, meditation does a great job of increasing blood flow to the brain and improving its ability to store information.
How to memorize and improve memory retention
So, now that we have discussed how to improve short-term memory, we will now explore how to memorize efficiently and transfer those short-term memories over to your long-term memory.
Here are 4 tips you can start practicing right away.
What? Guessing is a tip for learning how to memorize? Yes, it is (and it’s a good one, too).
One of the best ways to remember something new (whether it be an answer, a name, a word, or what-have-you), is to try to guess what it is before you even know it. Most likely, your guess will be wrong — and that’s totally okay. Just the act of guessing means that you will remember the answer better than if you hadn’t guessed. This is probably because your brain becomes much more invested in knowing the correct answer.
2. Think spatially
Our brains have superb spatial memory. In fact, our spatial memories are so superb, that they help us memorize things that aren’t necessarily spatial. A great way to learn how to remember things is to picture a room you are very familiar with and attach what it is you are trying to remember to a place in that room.
3. Use a mnemonic
Using memory mnemonics is a great way to learn how to remember things. They are said to help increase test scores by 77%! There are many different types of mnemonic devices, but the main idea is that it’s easier for the brain to store information when the information is linked to something that the brain already knows.
For instance, let’s say you are trying to remember a new word. If you can find a way to link that new word to something else that word sounds like or makes you think of, you’ll have a much better chance of remembering it.
That’s right — relax. Step away. Sit down. Breathe… This is good news. Taking a ‘time out’ to rest your brain greatly replenishes your memory retention.
For more in-depth knowledge and techniques read our Ultimate Guide On How To Improve Memory.
Do you have any other tips on how to memorize efficiently? How about on how to improve short-term memory? Share with us in the comments below!