Using all your senses
The more senses you involve when learning, the more the brain is going to be involved in retaining the memory. There was a study where adults were shown several emotionally neutral images, and each of them came with a smell. The subjects were not asked to remember what they had seen. The next round they were shown images but there was no odor with it. They were then asked to indicate the pictures they had previously seen. They were able to remember the images that came with the odor, especially the ones with pleasant smells. Piriform cortex is the brain region that process odor, and brain imaging showed that this region became active when they saw images that had been paired with the odor even though there was no odor and the subjects were not trying to remember them. This is why it is a good idea to challenge your senses when venturing into something you are not familiar with. For example, you try out a new restaurant dish, try guessing the ingredients by smelling and tasting. When touching ceramics, notice the smell and feel of the material used.
Believing in yourself
There are some myths surrounding aging and failing memory. Middle-aged and older learners tend to worse when exposed to negative stereotypes regarding memory and aging, and they performed better when they were exposed to positive messages on memory preservation into old age. When a person doesn’t believe that they are not in control of their memory, they will be reluctant to improve their memory skills and this can result in cognitive decline. If you have the belief that you are going to improve, and put it into practice, then you can expect to keep your mind sharp.
Get enough Sleep
Good quality sleep works wonder for your mind and memory. When you are tired everything is harder and feels a little fuzzy. Ensure that you are setting yourself up for the best night sleep possible with a great quality mattress like sleep number.
Economizing your brain use
If you don’t use a lot of your mental energy trying to remember where you put your keys or the time you need to be at your granddaughter’s birthday, then you can expect to have better concentration when learning and remembering important and newer things. Take full advantage of tools such as maps, calendars and planners, file folders, shopping lists, and address books to make sure you can easily access routine information. Have a place in your home where you put your purse, glasses, keys, and any other item you use regularly. Removing clutter from your home or office is a good idea because it helps in minimizing distractions, which means you have the chance of focusing on the new information that you want to remember.
Repeating what you want to know
If you have just learned something new and you want to remember, write it down or repeat it out loud. When you repeat something, you reinforce the memory or connection. Let’s say someone has just told you their name and you want to remember it, you can ask them a question like “So Jane, how was your flight?”. If you place something somewhere and concerned you might forget, say it out loud what it is you have placed and where. If you don’t understand it, don’t hesitate to ask them to repeat.
Spacing it out
When properly times, repetition can be one of the best learning tools. It is not a good idea to repeat many times in a short time. You can increase the time between re-study – once an hour, then once every couple of hours, then once a day, then once a week, etc. If the information you are trying to master is complicated, spacing out can be very effective. Research has shown that spaced rehearsal is effective in improving recall in healthy people and those with cognitive problems like multiple sclerosis.