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5 tips to improve your memory

By Ruben30 March 2014
We are all very careful with our memory. So how do you improve it?
The reason why we are so careful is that we don't want to forget the things or persons we love. We also want to remember more things at a single time without having to write them down. Another important matter is our general fear of memory-based diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. Therefore, improving your memory can be a very good idea, to begin with. We at BrainGymmer offer you memory games for you to start your memory exercise. With that, there are a lot of useful tips for you that we think you should know about when you want to remember something. We provide you with 5 tips for a better memory!


Tip 1 - Use different tactics

Your memory is a complex phenomenon inside your brain. It is hard for scientists to unravel its mysteries. This means that if you want to improve your memory, you have to do different kinds of exercises. For instance, it is not sufficient enough to just remember a bunch of numbers at a time. You may improve your working memory for numbers (the so-called ‘digit span’), but you will not improve your memory for other aspects such as human faces or names. So in order to increase your memory in general, you have to try other ways as well. Try to remember pictures, or train yourself in remembering objects when you watch a short video. Try to focus on specific types of human memory and you will see that you can remember much more than you used to.

Tip 2 - Associate with visuals or characteristics

A little help now and then can result in massive cognitive improvement. So, use different tools that can help you. If you want to remember a (difficult) name, try to come up with words or visuals that are somehow related to that name. According to an article on Psychology Today in 2009, 85% of the middle-aged adults and older adults forget names. But luckily there are some creative tricks that can help even the most forgetful people to remember names. For instance, the name Ryan can be easily remembered when you think of celebrities who are also named Ryan (for example Ryan Gossling). If you make these connections with other people, it becomes easier for you to remember the easy names. To remember more difficult names or human faces, try to associate these names/appearances with things they do or things that are characteristic of them. Is Doctor Kuzweiler a fan of the New York Yankees? Then associate the New York Yankees with this person. You will notice that remembering a name or a face will become easier. The name Prof. Prlwitzkowski can be a real pain when you want to remember it. Cut the name into pieces and relate these pieces to easy words. For instance: ‘pearl with cow ski’. Of course, you can use a very creative visualisation as well for this name; a skiing cow with pearls perhaps?

Tip 3 - Use mnemonic aids

For difficult terms or phenomena, use mnemonic aids. These are little tricks that help you remember complex systems, for instance, the solar system or all the states of the US. When you want to remember the order of the planets that are the closest to the sun, you can come up with your own mnemonic aid. The order is this: Mercury Venus Earth Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune Pluto. You can make a word for every first letter of the planet and with those words, you can create a sentence to help you remember the order:
  • My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas, or perhaps:
  • Mary's Violet Eyes Make John Stay Up Nights Praying
Either way, be creative and use the tools that help you! Use items, people or events that you know about in your sentences.

Tip 4 - Use categories and pairs

If you are tired of making a special shopping list for your groceries, then this tip is for you. Make pairs of the things you need to get. Do you need apples and bananas? Pair them up. When you put the items you need into related categories (vegetables, drinks, meat etc.) it becomes easier to remember the items during shopping. Mostly, categories of two, maybe three are easy to come up with. This tip has a resemblance with tip number 2 because you associate certain shopping items with each other in order to remember them. Check out this shopping list for 30 seconds and use pairs to remember them, walk away and come back after 5 minutes:
  • Bananas, chocolate milk, beer, eggs, toilet paper, sausages, lemons, energy drink, rice, shampoo, peanuts, tomatoes, deodorant, chicken wings.
How many of the 14 items did you remember? Did you use related categories to help you remember the items? For instance, the categories ‘fruit’ (bananas, lemons, tomatoes)? When you practice more, you will notice that you can improve your memory during these little games.

Tip 5 - Exercise (that means sleep as well!)

Here we go again: Exercise is good for your body and mind. We all know it, but not all of us are actually doing it. But research shows us that you can significantly improve your memory if you exercise even more. When you exercise, the blood flow in your body gets more stimulated which results in more blood flow in your brain as well, giving you the opportunity to memorize more and better. And because exercise reduces stress, the chances of memory illnesses, like dementia and Alzheimer’s, are reduced. A big bonus of exercise are the ‘after-effects’, which are the good feelings you get thanks to the endorphins your body produces after the workout. Having a good night rest is also considered an exercise in the sense that your brain gets refreshed. When your brain has rested, your memory capabilities are ready to go once again. Exercise and rest are key for your memory and especially if you want to improve it.

So, with the help of our memory training on BrainGymmer, you can use these tools to increase your memory even more!