Three Tips to Boost Your Memory November 16, 2015 13:28

Whether you are a student or you have already received your degree and are working in your career, it is crucial for your success in life to be able to take in and retain information. Memory isn't just a portion of your brain that stores information, it is a muscle that needs to be flexed, and a skill that needs to be honed. Just like the muscles in our body become more skilled in a specific physical activity as we practice athletic skill and our muscles gain strength, our minds need to be exercised and strengthened in order to develop our ability to retain and access information.

The challenge we face in today's technological society is that we often don't exercise our brain's ability to memorize. Instead our memories are stored on our smartphones or our computers, information is more often gathered from search engines than by our own personal recollections. This means that many of us exercise our memorization skills less often than in previous generations, and that if we are to develop a good memory, we need to actively practice. Here are some tips on developing good memorization skills.

  1. Discover your learning style: Your learning style is tied to your senses and each of us has a dominant learning style. Are you a more visual learner? If so, flashcards may help you. If your learning style is more auditory, however, flashcards may just complicate the situation. You may instead find that you memorize information better if you speak it as you memorize, or if you listen to the information. Tactile learners may find that they retain more information if they memorize it while they pace or perform some other activity. They also may learn and retain information better by doing - participating in something rather than just reading about it.
  2. Use short bursts, not long cramming sessions: Your focus is best for the first 15 minutes or so that you do a thing. After 15 minutes, your ability to retain information decreases and requires more effort. If you are reading material that you need to recall later, do so in 15-minute increments, and then give yourself a break. This method will allow you to memorize things more quickly, and with less work on your part.
  3. Read over your material right before sleep: You've heard the situation before, when someone needs to process information and make an important decision, they are asked to "sleep on it." This is not just a meaningless phrase. Often a situation becomes clearer or a new idea arises as you wake up. Especially if you were pondering the subject just before you went to sleep. As you sleep, your subconscious processes and sorts through the events of your day. If you read over material that you need to retain, then your subconscious often will aid in the process of memorization, and you will wake up the next day a little more familiar with the material.

It is important to remember that memorization is not doing battle with your brain, forcing it to take in a retain information. Find your learning style, don't push yourself into long memorization sessions, and let your subconscious work for you. Work with your brain, not against it.