Can you remember what you had for tea last night? What about last week? What about six months ago? Like our physical muscles, our memory needs to be exercised to be effective. Listed below are several ways to try to boost your memory.
It is thought by many that eating the right food has a dramatic impact on memory. Eating your greens like your parents told you is the best way. Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach (my favourite) are some of the greatest. Fruit is also very important for memory with berries, grapes and apples (with skins) contributing to memory. Fish is thought to help, with the recommendation that you should eat one meal of fish per week to make an impact on your memory. Also grouped in with this would be getting enough exercise, think the mantra: healthy body, healthy mind!
Not getting enough sleep, otherwise known as sleep deprivation, will affect how your brain and your memory, functions. In studies of mice, having little sleep or broken sleep affected the ability to build memories. There is also research suggesting that sleep is required to consolidate memories, especially when trying to remember sequences of actions. Sleep deprivation is a form of torture used to break people to gain information, don't do this intentionally to yourself!
There are exercises to boost your memory. These may be things you are already doing such as Sudoku's and crosswords. There are a lot of online games for you to play if you do a simple Google search. These games will help keep your mind ready and boost your memory. But there are also some basic methods of helping you to remember things. Mnemonics is a simple tool for remembering information that would be hard to remember. An example is "I before E, except after C". This is easy to remember but serves an useful purpose. They can also be used for helping spelling, e.g. Not Every Cat Eats Sardines (Some Are Really Yummy) for spelling Necessary, and my favourite as a science teacher "Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain" to remember the order of colours in the rainbow.
To remember longer lists or pieces of information, memory systems such as the journey system can be used. These involve linking information to a real or imaginary journey. You link each piece of information to a place on your journey e.g. elements in the periodic table. A modification of this can involve making imaginary rooms, with each one containing a piece of information or theme. You imagine yourself starting to walk down a corridor with lots of doors on it. In each room you put one of these pieces of information, together with a strong mental image to link to it. To remember a dead king you might imagine a bloody crown . This can take a lot of work and planning, but can be incredibly effective.
Memory techniques and "brain training" are of great interest to me. I have read several books on these topics and the majority seems to focus around creating connections between strong mental imagery and the piece of information you are trying to remember. Have you used any memory techniques? Write them, or any other comments below.