10 tricks to improve your memory

10 tricks to improve your memory

There are many methods to improve memory, such as comparing and contrasting, fragmenting information, performing association exercises, making analogies, etc. They have proven very effective, but require training and a good amount of mental effort.

That's why here we wanted to make a small collection of the 10 easiest ways to improve memory, and that are backed by various investigations. With very few exceptions, most people can do this with little effort or mental expense.

The best tricks for your memory

1. Get enough sleep

One of the many benefits of dream It makes memory stronger. The reason or is other than the brain, which is surprisingly busy during sleep, one of the important things it is doing is work in our memory. Not only does the dream make our memories look better in memory, but it also restructures and reorganizes them. Studies have shown, for example, that people are more prone to dream about things that are important to them, and later this helps them remember those things (Oudiette et al., 2013). Even if what is important to you is, for example, playing the piano, you should listen to a piece while doing a nap, since a study has shown that this helps to consolidate the notes in memory (Anthony et al., 2012). Finally, Rebecca M.C. Spencer of the University of Massachusetts published in March 2013 a review of the neurophysiological basis by which sleep influences memory and cognition. As he explains, sleeping is a very important process not only in the consolidation of memories, but also in the selection of information that will be discarded and forgotten or in the learning of motor skills.

2. Take a walk or moderate exercise

Many people suffer memory problems with age. But, apparently, if we walk one hour a day even if it's for a walk, it will help us preserve memory during old age. A study has shown that older people who walk between six and nine kilometers a week had a greater volume of gray matter nine years later, than those who were more sedentary (Erickson et al., 2010). We all know that there are more and more benefits for the brain associated with sports. According to Kirk I. Erickson of the University of Pittsburgh in collaboration with a group of researchers from different American universities, aerobic exercise increases the size of hippocampus previous and this entails improvements in spatial memory. It concludes that it is a good way to reverse the loss of volume associated with age in this brain structure fundamental for memory.

3. Quit smoking

Although the physical benefits of quitting smoking are well known, it is less known that you will also benefit from memory. That's because tobacco damages memory, and quitting can improve it.. Quitting smoking is not only good for your health, it is also good for memory, according to a study by Tom Heffernan of the University of Northumbria. The research published in Alcohol & Drugs reveals that quitting smoking can restore memory to the same level as non-smokers. The study analyzed 27 smokers, 18 former smokers and 24 individuals who had never smoked those who underwent memory tests. Participants were asked to remember predetermined tasks in specific places on a university campus. While smokers only remembered 59% of the tasks, those who had quit smoking remembered 74% and those who had never smoked remembered 81% of the tasks. Tom Heffernan points out: "We already know that quitting smoking has health benefits, but this study also shows how quitting smoking can have benefits for cognitive function as well." That is one more reason to quit smoking (or to be happy you don't smoke).

4. Clench the right fist

A study conducted by a group of researchers from the University of Montclair (New Jersey, USA), headed by Ruth Propper, and published in "Plos One", suggests that clenching the right fist for 90 seconds is helpful in the process of memory formation. Likewise, squeezing the left when we need to remember something can make this task easier. And, a gesture as seemingly simple as shaking hands is able to increase the activity of neurons in the frontal lobe, the most evolved part of our brain, an area that also has a very important role when storing and retrieving memories. Through electroencephalographic tests it has been possible to see that contracting the left hand for 90 seconds increases the activity in the opposite cerebral hemisphere, that is, the right one, and vice versa, to increase the activity in the left one, just press the right hand during the Same time. This cross activation is because every Cerebral hemisphere regulates the opposite side of the body (the right hemisphere regulates the left side and vice versa). In any case, you will not lose anything to try if this simple and harmless method works for you when it comes to remembering.

5. Chew gum

There are certain laboratory experiments that suggest chewing gum stimulates memory, attention-concentration, reduces anxiety and stress and can help fight dementia. Dr. Lucy Wilkinson, of the cognitive neuroscience unit at the University of Northumbria, in the United Kingdom, randomly divided 75 young people of 26 years into three groups for two minutes, one group chewed sugar-free gum, another simulated chewing movements no gum and the third did not chew. After an interval of 20 minutes with other tasks, the memory and attention of the first two groups were evaluated. According to the researchers, young people who had chewed gum remembered 35% more words from a list. "This suggests that chewing improves secondary memory, which brings together the ability to learn, store and retrieve information," says Professor Moss. The operative memory, in charge of retaining information in the short term, worked better in the group that chewed gum than in the one that simulated chewing. The reaction time of this second group was shorter than those who did not chew. Apparently chewing increases blood flow by 20%, which helps short-term memory. In addition, it also produces a 35% increase in hypothalamus activity, small gland responsible for various functions, including memory.

6. Ignore stereotypes

Of the many negative stereotypes that exist on older people, the most common is that they are forgetful. But a new study now reveals that reminding the elderly of this stereotype increases their memory problems, and also that there is a way to avoid this effect. It is what in psychology is called "self-fulfilling prophecy" (What you think is going to happen, ends up happening). The research was conducted at the Davis School of Gerontology at the University of Southern California (USC Davis), in the United States, and studies the concept of "the threat of stereotype," which refers to the influence of prejudices on certain groups in the aptitudes or abilities of a subject belonging to one of them. These stereotypes can undermine the performance of individuals in various areas, placing it below their real potential. In this way, without realizing it, people end up confirming the prejudices that condition them. The results obtained in the research highlight how important it is for the elderly, to be aware of the extent to which beliefs about the elderly can affect the performance of their memory. "Older adults should be careful not to strengthen negative stereotypes about aging - for example, not to attribute each of their forgetfulness to their age - because they can worsen their own memory problems", explains researcher Sarah Barber. It has been found that 70% of older adults reach diagnostic criteria for dementia when evaluated under the threat of stereotype, compared to approximately 14% of participants who were evaluated without this threat.

7. Read Facebook messages

A recent study has found that people's memory is superior to remember messages from Facebook than to remember phrases from books, or even people's faces. Researchers at the University of California in San Diego have discovered that the images and messages that are read on the Internet portal, which has no less than one billion users worldwide, are specifically retained once and a half more in the memory that the lines that are read in a book and two and a half times more than the image of the face of a strange person. Apparently our memory responds better to natural and spontaneous texts, instead of polished and edited writings, something that clashes head-on with educational strategies, communication and advertising.

8. The rosemary

The smell of rosemary helps to remember, and not only popular wisdom says, but science itself. Today we know that rosemary has much greater properties than we thought, but very few, had identified so far. A recent study on this issue has shown that Rosemary essential oil allows people to remember to do things, a finding that completes the one made by previous research about its usefulness to evoke the past and, in general, to improve long-term memory. After a series of tests carried out on healthy people by the psychologists McCready and Moss, of the University of Northumbria, in Newcastle (United Kingdom), it has been concluded that rosemary essential oil increases the probability of remembering between 60 and 75% Do things as everyday as taking a medication, going to an appointment or remembering a specific date. But in addition to improving long-term memory, it seems that it also increases ability to perform mental exercises of arithmetic, so it attributes a great capacity to promote prospective memory, making it a fantastic remedy for modern life, always so bombarded with small tasks. It is believed that volatile molecules of rosemary essential oils can be absorbed into the bloodstream by inhalation.

9. Lose weight

Like smoking, weight gain is associated with memory problems, although fortunately these are also reversible. A group of Swedish researchers found that older and overweight women had better results on memory tests after losing weight. Previous studies showed that obese people have worse episodic memory -ability to remember autobiographical events-, but the new findings suggest that this may be reversible, according to scientists. Andreas Pettersson, a doctor and PhD from the University of Umea, selected 20 overweight women with an average age of 61 for the experiment and subjected them to a rigorous diet for six months. He gave them tests that consisted of memorizing a series of names and faces, and then remembering what letter they started with. Women's performance improved after losing weight, while brain shots also showed that storage efficiency and memory recovery had improved.

10. Turn off the computer and sit quietly

Being continuously connected to the computer, mobile or Tablet, apparently affects our memory negatively, especially the short term. Erik Fransen, a researcher at the KTH Royan Institute in Stockholm, says that the brain is designed to remain partially inactive, which helps consolidate short-term memory. Having the brain always busy, prevents this "clean" everything you do not need, optimizing this operation. He also argues that when a person spends too much time "online", this can lead him to overload the brain, since he is exposed to too much information, of which not all will be archived (so from a practical point of view, he would not have a lot of sense). And is that the "work memory", or in the short term, which is what filters and searches for the information we need, is an unlimited resource, and its continuous exposure to Social Networks or other Internet content only reduces its capacity. If you thought you could store a lot of information while browsing the Internet or interacting through the Social networks, you are very wrong.

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