You know that strange-looking, a squishy device that lives behind your eyeballs and between your ears? Yes, your brain! Your brain is an odd organ because it actually behaves just like a muscle. This means that you can literally train and exercise your brain to become stronger, faster, and well, smarter.
Your intelligence, memory, and capacity to learn are entirely up to you and the effort you put toward training it. In this article, we will be giving you some fun memory techniques, exercises, and games that will help you kick your brain power into 6th gear.
Having a good memory isn’t restricted to genetics and repetition. Actually, building a good memory is much easier than all of that. There are many memory techniques, or mnemonics, you can utilize right away to have an impressively effective memory.
Most mnemonics work by blending the powers of imagination, association, and location. In the following examples, you will get a feel for how each is used to dramatically improve your memory.
Yes, it’s really this easy.
This memory technique utilizes the power of association. When learning something new, it is much easier when your brain can link this new information to something it already knows. This way, as opposed to creating a whole new file for a piece of information, it can easily clump it to something familiar.
This technique works tenfold when combining it with the power of imagination. Our brains are extremely visual learners. As well, our brains have a very natural inclination to understand the world through storytelling. So, by imagining each item you are trying to remember and linking them together into a (sometimes very strange) story, memorizing a list becomes almost effortless.
For example, let’s say you are trying to remember this grocery list:
Now, you can link these together by creating a mental story. Perhaps, the apples are all floating in a bowl of melting butter and someone is trying to pull the apples out by using giant carrots. This story could go on and on for a larger list, but by holding this strange story in your imagination, you aren’t likely to forget what you need at the store.
This memory technique is perhaps the most popular among mental wizards. It utilizes the power of location: our brain’s extraordinary and instinctual gift for spatial memory. As well, it sprinkles in a bit of help from the powers of association and imagination.
You can build a Memory Palace in your mind’s eye by imagining a physical place you are very familiar with (most people imagine their home) and placing the items you want to remember throughout the location.
In the case of the aforementioned grocery list, you can imagine walking into your bedroom and seeing a pile of apples on your bed, a river of butter flowing across the floor, and carrots poking up out of your window sill.
When we don’t exercise our bodies, they become slow and weak. Well, since our brain works just like a muscle, the same is true of it.
To help keep your memory quick, strong, and able, try embedding some of the following memory exercises into your everyday life. It’s time to get training — memory training.
- Learn a new language
- Play a musical instrument
- Ditch the calculator and practice doing math in your head
- Draw maps from memory
- Tell more stories
- Try to identify individual ingredients in the food you eat
- Learn a new sport — move your body in new ways
- Practice your fine-motor skills by taking up a new hobby like drawing or knitting
- Enhance your memory training by remembering more names and phone numbers
- Quiz yourself often
- Play memory games (see section below)
Memory improvement games
A fantastic way to exercise your memory and practice memory techniques is to get addicted to fun and interactive memory improvement games! To help get you started, here’s a list of some of our favorite memory games.
Ah, perhaps the most famous among memory games for adults… Crossword puzzles are a timeless go-to for memory training, as many studies show a strong correlation between playing crossword puzzles and a massively delayed onset of dementia. As long as the crosswords stay challenging and you are working that brain muscle hard to think of the proper words, it is a great memory enhancer.
Another one of the more popular memory games for adults, Sudoku is a real gem in the world of memory training. Having to keep a set of numbers in your mind while mentally rehearsing their place in the grid is a tremendously effective and exciting brain workout.
As one of the more unique memory improvement games, this game improves your motor skills and memory. The idea is this:
- Make two fists with your hands
- Extend your left thumb while extending your right pinky
- Switch quickly, extending your left pinky and your right thumb
Not so easy? It will get easier. As it does, switch up the fingers and patterns you use to keep your neurons firing. If you like this idea, you can find more brain yoga exercises here.
While not among the free memory games, jigsaw puzzles are certainly worth the investment. They work wonders on your short-term memory, as your brain has to quickly file through a cornucopia of shapes and colors to assemble the picture. As such, the more pieces in the puzzle, the greater the brain workout. Plus, the clicking into place of a correct piece is a fantastically pleasurable reward for your efforts (not to mention, the beautiful finished product).
For more in-depth information on all things brain and memory games, check out our brain games article.
Do you have any memory techniques you’d like to share with us? Do so in the comment below!