With all the digital noise and information out there today, it doesn’t help that we can get our hands on anything we want with just a click of a button. This tends to get our brains into “information overload”.
So it comes to no surprise that the brain is so overloaded that people scavenge the internet to learn how to remember things better.
Thankfully we’re here, and we’ve curated some research for you on awesome techniques to, not just remember things better, but even how to generally improve your long term memory.
We even went the extra mile and answered some of the internets most asked questions like, “how can I memorize things quickly”? Or “how do I remember things for a test”?
I’m sure you are curious, so let’s get started…
Easy Memory Hack #1: What Helps Remember Things
Fun competition is great for memory and learning, here’s how:
One thing your brain does when you are engaged in a fun activity, like playing a game, is the release of dopamine.
This neurochemical helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers and can happen to work as a mental “save button”.
Just like when you were in third grade and there was a spelling competition in class with teams walking up to the board and spelling words.
That was basically just a more fun version of a pop quiz. Your teacher was sneaky, however very smart.
When dopamine is present during an experience, the dopamine tells our brain that this is something worth holding onto — it gives our brain permission to store it. Because it loves that feeling of “fun”.
How to apply this hack:
By turning your study notes into a game.
For example, studying with a friend or group and quizzing each other for “the win” reward, in the end. That can go a long way in helping you remember things.
The competition, reward, and the overall fun of the game itself will generally make your brain naturally produce dopamine when you are engaged in learning.
Easy Memory Hack #2: How Can I Memorize Things Quickly?
What you need to know is that your brain is like a muscle, you need to train it in order for you to learn how to memorize things fast and effectively.
This is something that is achieved over time, just like building muscles, you don’t start to look like Thor in a day.
Memory games are great for that “brain muscle”. You can play them alone, or play with a group of friends… Whichever way, doing so will get you to exercise your memory.
But there is an actual method we found developed by Nobel prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman, and it’s called the Feynman Technique.
It’s quite simple really, and there are four easy steps to the Feynman Technique:
- Choose the topic you want to learn
- Write it out on a blank sheet of paper as if you were to teach it to an 11-year-old: This will force you to use very basic language in your explanations.
- Identify the missing gaps you have in your understanding go back to the source material.
- Review again and repeat the process and simplify further.
Optional bonus points: Once you think you are done, try actually explaining it to a 6th grader.
How is this useful? One of the ways you trick yourself is by using jargon vocabulary that sounds smart and it masks your ability to have clear thinking.
Easy Memory Hack #3: How Can I Memorize Things Permanently?
You can learn how to read a book a day, or how to speed read, but if you are not absorbing the information and can’t recall it when you need it, then why are you reading in the first place?
“In the long run the secret of study resides in our ability to bathe our thought, our task, our lesson in the stream of interest.”
If you want to remember things for a long period of time, one key element is to actually get into what you do. Not because you have to, but because you want to.
One hack that works well is to further investigate what you are reading about. Explore other sources of information about the same topic. Podcasts, blog articles, but the most powerful one of them is mixing reading with actual doing.
Let’s say you read about how to remember things better…When you are out with company, talk about it and engage in conversation, hear opinions about it.
Try this and your brain will naturally start to reach into the memory of what you’ve read and learned.
This helps retain information for long periods of time. But hands down, the best method is actually applying what you learn here in the real world.
Go and actually talk to people about what you are learning, or try out and test some of the hacks we highlighted earlier, and see what a difference it makes in the long run.
Knowing is not enough, you have to apply.
Easy Memory Hack #4: Playing Memory Games
Brain games are a great way of keeping your mind sharp. If it’s for fun, or to give your memory muscles an extra kick, games can really be a great way to do that.
Here are some brain games we recommend you explore for building stronger and faster memory recall.
Memory games for adults
You know the kind we are talking about — crosswords, Sudoku, all the good stuff. Utilizing your daily newspaper helps to make a routine of playing these fun, free memory games.
These mentally challenging games promote a healthier and quicker mind by increasing active brain cells. Once a puzzle is no longer challenging, though, it’s time to switch it up and play a different one.
As one of the top-rated memory games for adults, Lumosity (created by neuroscientists) teaches you how to remember things most efficiently by combining and stimulating all the different memory areas of your brain.
Lumosity works with your transforming mind to create new levels of games and puzzles that will consistently challenge you and benefit your memory recall.
Memory games for the whole family
Another fantastic way to learn how to remember things is to play these memory games with people you love — your brain learns better when its happy chemicals (that sweet, sweet dopamine) are fluttering about.
Blind jigsaw puzzles
Jigsaw puzzles are an awesome family activity; you get to create and grow together. They are also super beneficial for training your short-term memory — it gets a good workout sorting through the cornucopia of shapes and colors to assemble the picture.
Plus, every time your brain here’s that glorious “click” sound of snapping the right pieces together, it rewards you with yet another spurt of dopamine.
For an extra challenge, you can get jigsaw puzzles with more pieces (fancy 1,000?), or even try playing it “blind,” which means to not look at the final picture on the box.
The memory train
This game is fun because, as opposed to creating an image as a group or family, you get to create a story.
This game is commonly played using the idea of going on a trip and packing a suitcase. You can start off by saying, “I’m going on a trip! I’m packing my suitcase and I’m bringing my… flute.”
Then, the next person repeats the same phrase and adds an item to the suitcase. So, “I’m going on a trip! I’m packing my suitcase and I’m bringing my… flute and my overalls.”
You continue this story until someone messes up the list.
This story can be applied to any type of list, like a grocery list. However, we enjoy the suitcase list because you can get really creative with items to bring (and it may help to attract a real-life trip!).
If you want to impress your family, try combining this memory game with some awesome memory techniques, such as the Memory Palace.