To Speed Up Your Memory, Do 6 Things That Others Don't
“Through using our memory to its fullest we can unlock the vast reservoir of human potential that isn’t currently being used” - Tony Buzan, Inventor of Mind Mapping
Handling numerous tasks on a daily basis creates strain on our short-term memory, often leaving us exhausted or frustrated. Our memory capacity inevitably dwindles with age and other external factors such as stress and increased responsibility.
If you find yourself forgetting things more frequently than before, you are not alone. Memory loss affects nearly everyone to a certain degree.
Thankfully, there are a few ways to improve and maintain your powers of recollection. Here are some simple tricks you can use to boost your memory and your productivity!
Colour your work desk
Colours can significantly help to boost your memory. So, if you are a minimalist who loves white and earthy shades, you may want to consider adding more colours to your workstation.
Cognitive psychologists deduce that colour recognition is a major driver of how our brain retrieves information from its ‘database’. When you look at something, the brain first picks up on the colours, followed by other descriptive details. When you colour code your work desk and stationery, you will find that you seem to remember details better; such as the note scribbled in green ink on the yellow sticky note.
Try using coloured pens and markers for note-taking; use a colourful scheduler or doodle on your desk calendar when marking important dates.
Tip: Warm shades such as yellow, red and orange are most effective in aiding memory!
Play strategy games like Mahjong or Sudoku
Mahjong forces your brain to draw up complex strategies according to the flow of the game. Like chess, it helps combat age-related memory decline and keeps your mind active and alert to its surroundings.
The physical game is recommended over a digital version, as hearing and feeling the tiles is a multisensory experience that provides a richer, fuller experience. If you are a novice, your memory will get a workout just trying to memorise the rules!
If it is too much hassle rounding up three friends for a game, grab a Sudoku book and attack the puzzles instead. The strategy and forward thinking required for this popular Japanese pastime mimic that of Mahjong, and are shown to have similar stimulating effects on the brain.
Weird fonts are good
If you have been emailing your colleagues using bold and underline to help them remember something important, perhaps using a weird Font will work better.
Recent research found that people remember information better when they read it in a font that is unfamiliar and slightly difficult to read. This weird hack may work for you at the office too!
Typing or writing in a combination of weird fonts may feel uncomfortable especially if you are particular about convention. However, if you are game to try ways to boost your memory, treat it as an experiment or form of light mental exercise. Try it in the next email to your colleagues, and share the tip with them after. I’m sure they will remember you better - in a good way!
Stock up on blueberries! You are what you eat
Can’t remember your password? There is a fruit that can boost your short and long-term memory that doesn’t involve peeling or cutting - blueberries!
Research shows that blueberries can help delay cognitive decline and improve brain function. Compounds called flavonoids and the antioxidants found in blueberries interact with our cell signalling pathways and help improve motor skills. This increases communication between nerve cells and stimulates the active regeneration of brain cells. Together, these helpful nutrient combinations help to make it easier for our brain to recall and store information.
If you’re not a fan of eating plain blueberries, you can blend them into your next smoothie or sprinkle a few on some hot and fluffy pancakes. Yum!
From more restful sleep cycles to reduced stress levels, there are numerous documented benefits of meditation. Meditation can reshape our brain and help improve memory capacity.
Researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston found that regular meditation causes the brain's cerebral cortex, which is responsible for memory, to thicken. People who spend at least 15 minutes a day meditating become better at blocking out distractions, which enables them to quickly store and recall new facts.
Given the large number of meditation techniques available, we recommend Mindfulness Meditation, which can be done either on the move or at home. Simply observe specific things such as the taste of your toothpaste or how the bristles feel when it caresses your gums. Of course, if you can devote 40 minutes of your day to sit down and observe your breathing in a quiet location, that will also help to boost your memory effectively.
Difficulties Remembering Names?
Remembering the names of people you meet is important, especially if you attend regular business meetings or networking sessions. This behavioural attribute creates a favourable impression among the people you meet, causing them to remember your encounter fondly. It might even make or break a deal!
If you struggle with remembering names, there’s an easy solution. Just repeat and associate. This helps to make mnemonic connections that will help you recall better.
For those who have difficulties remembering names: Repeat it out loud and associate.
Someone says: “Hi, I’m Jack.”
You could say: “Oh hello Jack, it’s a pleasure to meet you!”, followed by: “It’s been so great speaking with you, Jack!” a while later. Or, “I have a friend named Jack as well, and he works in advertising too!”, creating a common thread between your new acquaintance and another, more familiar friend.
Alternatively, you could picture Jack working hard on a car jack to lift a car with a flat tyre. Zany or creative mental images are effective in creating a more lasting memory of the person.
To maintain your memory in its sharpest state, getting sufficient sleep and regular meals are a good starting point. With an enhanced memory, we would surely perform better in many aspects of our lives!
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