Much like the world we live in, human memory is a dynamic and ever-changing entity – susceptible to frequent lapses and losses. Most of us, at some point in our busy lives, have trouble recalling name of a person or a place from the recent past or from the distant past. It would be wonderful, if we could miraculously remember everything just like Brad Williams, who is known as the “Human Google”. Brad can recall almost any news events or personal experiences from his past with pin-point accuracy and fidelity.  Though we might not have memory as good as “Superhuman” like Brad Williams but good news is there are ways and means to improve overall memory performance using surprisingly simple psychological hacks discussed below.

 

Ways to boost memory, Pep Talk

 

1. Meta-processing

 

Meta-processing is a deeper level of awareness of your thinking and memory processes. It is understanding of one’s mental model, memory capabilities and strategies that can facilitate memory. It is self-awareness about how one learns new information and use memories. Though it is not always possible to have that kind of super awareness all the time but with some practice, you can use meta-processing strategies to improve your memory of things that are important to you. For remembering birthdays of your dearest friends and favourite people, you can create a mental month-wise calendar with specific dates and events. Talking to yourself, repeating important information, taking notes, revisiting to-do lists, writing with neat handwriting and using pencil, and journaling are well-proven meta-processing techniques you can use to boost your memory.

2. Solving puzzles and crosswords

 

Solving puzzles and crosswords helps reinforce existing connections between our brain cells. It also increases the generation of new neural pathways in our brain. This, in turn, improves mental speed and memory recall. Puzzles, word games and Sudokus helps in improving neuroplasticity of the brain in long-term and enhancing overall brain health and memory. After reading this, I am sure you will be more inclined to solve puzzles and fun brain teasers, play brainy games like chess or bridge to keep your memory sharp instead of just playing PUBG on your smartphone.

3. Relaxation and meditation

 

Besides daily exercise, regular relaxation and meditation go a long way in improving memory. A research study indicates that meditation improves overall brain function, minimises risks of brain degeneration, and improves both working memory and long-term memory. The study highlighted that regular practice of meditation may cause long term changes in the brain, including increasing brain plasticity, which helps keep it fit. Health experts recommend that at least 30-60 minutes of meditation or any form of relaxation including sensory deprivation, nature walk, digital detox etc.

4. Taking adequate sleep

 

Sleep is important for overall physical and mental health. Disruption in the body’s natural sleep cycle can lead to cognitive impairments including poor memory function. Research has shown that taking a proper sleep after you learn something new can actually help you learn faster and remember better. During sleep, consolidation of new information and skill occurs which helps in better memory. A recent study also confirms that taking a nap immediately after exercise boosts overall memory.

5. Socialising frequently

 

Humans are social animals by nature. Research shows that when we meet people, certain areas of our brain light up and this greater neural activity helps a great deal in improved cognitive functioning. Social interactions help undermine the risk of depression and stress, both of which can contribute to memory loss. It is advisable to frequently hang out with real friends instead of just interacting with friends on social media.

 

Ways to boost memory, Pep Talk

 

6. Mastering new skills

 

Since ancient times, Greeks and Romans pretty well knew the importance of learning new skills to improve performance on memory tasks. Studies show that if your mind is engaged in some skills which you have mastered, it dramatically improves your cognitive functions including memory. Experts recommend that one should keep learning new skills and hobbies at different stages of life such as painting, singing, writing, sculpting, boxing etc. It doesn’t have to be a creative hobby, it can be anything constructive you enjoy doing. You can learn new skills like public speaking, new languages, playing musical instruments like guitar or flute, learning new words, quotes and songs etc. Developing lifelong interests and skills can definitely help you maintain sharp memory and reduce the risk of degenerative conditions like dementia.

7. Doodling

 

Research shows doodling can help memory recall. According to a study published in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology, subjects were given a doodling task while listening to a boring phone message had a 30 % improved memory recall compared to the peers who were not doodling. Researchers say that drawing or doodling can help boost our memory by engaging more of the visual and motor parts of our brains, which helps us absorb new concepts and retain them better. This is known as “the doodling effect.”

 

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