How to Train Your Memory: Simple Exercises for Your Brain

Memory and attention are two sides of the same coin. Both functions-remembering and concentrating-are regulated by the same brain processes. In other words, we remember better when we are able to concentrate well. This is why it is necessary to develop the ability to concentrate and to remember in tandem.

Memory is the process of capturing, storing and later reproducing information. The last aspect – the ability to extract information from the “archive” at the right time to use it – can be considered key.

Figuratively, the process of remembering can be compared with putting valuable objects in a safe. We open the door of the safe, put the object there, and close the door. But when we need an object, we must be able to open the door and find it in the safe visit

Remembering can be both involuntary and involuntary. Involuntary memorization is that which does not require any conscious effort on our part. This is usually how information is remembered that is emotionally colored for us, that evokes associations: something pleasant or interesting, or maybe that fell into the focus of our attention when we were in a suitable emotional state. Or it may be information that is important to us, related to our past, to the life tasks we are currently facing, or to future projects. Either way, the most important thing here is our emotional involvement.

By contrast, involuntary memorization requires us to make a conscious effort. We are faced with the task of memorizing material, for example to prepare for an exam or memorize sport lines. The information itself may not be interesting to us at all, but it must be learned. This is where the difficulties arise. How do you activate your memory at a moment like this?

Here are proven recommendations, the application which allows you to lower the threshold of “resistance” to remembering new information.

Give Information an Emotional Coloring

The brighter, more interesting information for you, the easier it is to remember. So you need to make it attractive to your brain. To do this, find some interesting aspects of the topic.

Tie the Information to Your Life Experience

You can go two ways here. The first is to make a link to the past, that is, find the basis for the new information in past experiences. The second is to realize that the information is really important and useful for your current or future tasks.

How to Remember Information for a Long Time

The second important point has to do with the need to remember information for a long time. Mechanical memorization usually does not have a long-term effect.

The experiments that scientists carried out in the 19th century showed that uninteresting and incomprehensible information that could be memorized only mechanically is retained in our memory for a very short time.

People who tried to “notch” a number of meaningless syllables have already forgotten about 60% of memorized information during the first hour. After the first 24 hours, they could reproduce only 20% of the material.

The indicators were somewhat better in cases where they tried to memorize lecture theses. Students were able to recall 70% of the material after the first hour, but nevertheless a significant portion of it was forgotten within a day.

After conducting a series of experiments, the scientists created an algorithm for memorizing complex information. To remember for a long time, you need to transfer the material from short-term to long-term memory. To do this, you must repeat it several times: after an hour, the first 24 hours after remembering, after 3-4 days and a week. Thereafter, repeat periodically.

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Practical Memory Exercises 

Involvement of All Types of Memory

Different people have differently developed types of memory: visual, auditory, and motor. On the one hand, it is necessary to know and use your strengths. For example, if you have a well-developed motor memory, when memorizing the words of a foreign language it is recommended to write them down.

But you should not dwell only on the type of memory which is most developed or habitual for you. Therapists recommend connecting all kinds of memorization. For example, reading a text aloud engages not only the visual, but also the auditory-speech memory.

Neuronics: Doing the Familiar in a New Way

The brain remembers information better if it is periodically removed from its “comfort zone”: to force the normal situations to use those senses that previously did not apply, to depart from familiar patterns of behavior.

You can choose a new way to work, use cutlery with your left hand, and try to get dressed in the morning without turning on the light. Such training will allow the brain to become more flexible, create new connections in it, and, as a consequence, improve memory.

Visual Associations

There is a mnemonic technique, which “gives meaning” to disparate information, parts of which are not connected with each other. In order to remember a phrase consisting of several words that have no semantic connection, you need to think of an image for each word and in your imagination link these images to each other.

Using the Principles Neuroplasticity

Scientists of the XX century disproved the popular belief that nerve cells lost with age don’t recover. They proved that new connections between neurons of the brain emerge throughout a person’s life, which means that he retains the ability to remember information.

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The reason why memory deteriorates with age is not because of the loss of nerve cells, but because the parts of the cells that conduct impulses between them are depleted. This is due to a person’s choice of beaten paths: he does not engage in new activities, and is constantly in a familiar rut.

That is why it is so important to take up new hobbies, learn foreign languages, travel – anything that will force the brain out of “sleep mode” and into active activity. Particular attention should be paid to such training in the second half of life.

Counting in Your Mind and Grocery Lists

Experiments using MRI have proven that during mental counting people’s frontal lobes of the brain, the part that is also responsible for memory, are activated.

Regularly carry out simple calculations in mind: addition, subtraction, multiplication. And it is not necessary to allocate a lot of time or invent special tasks. You can, for example, add up the numbers in license plates you see on your way home. The main thing here is regularity. Another good exercise can be a shopping trip. Many of us write memos – lists of products that need to be bought in the store. The secret isn’t to look at this list until the moment when you are going to pay for the purchase, and only then check it.

Another important thing is a sleep and rest schedule, the absence of information overload. In a state of stress and under the pressure of multidirectional streams of information, our brain refuses to work well, including remembering anything.

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