There are so many gadgets and programs available today for enhancing brain function, particularly for improving your memory. They offer many tips and tools, as well as personal support. But you can start enhancing your memory on your own right now–not by changing how you recall memories, but by improving how well you create them in the first place.
Try these eight brain enhancement tips for improving your memory:
- Pay attention. One of Ilchi Lee’s (author of Principles of Brain Management) three rules for operating our brain effectively, paying attention is the first step toward creating a memory. You should try and take in as many details as possible.
- Use more than one sense. The more of your five senses you pay attention to when trying to create a memory, the more connections you will make in your brain, which leads to a stronger, longer-lasting memory.
- Make associations. Making associations between one thing and another will help you remember it. For example, when you meet someone and want to remember their name, really focus on it and notice different things about the person such as, “Mary with the blonde hair and brown eyes who smells like roses and likes white wine.” The more interesting or entertaining the associations you create are, the more easily you will remember them.
- Enthusiastically engage yourself in what you are doing. According to memory expert Eran Katz, when we like something, or are excited about it, we automatically remember it better because we naturally pay attention to it using more than one sense, and make associations with it to things we’ve already experienced.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat. Once you make your associations, keep repeating them. If you can repeat them out loud you will employ the help of your sense of hearing and remember them more easily. Brain Rules author John Medina says, “The human brain can only hold about seven pieces of information for less than 30 seconds.” If you want to hold more information longer, keep repeating it and the associations you’ve made to it.
- Get plenty of exercise. Exercise, especially when it increases the circulation of oxygen-rich blood to your brain, boosts every brain function, including memory.
- Manage your stress. This tip also applies to overall brain function. Levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which are higher during chronic stress, actually shrink memory centers in the brain and kill nerve cells. Stress also affects things like how well you eat and sleep, which then also affect your memory. Exercise, of course, helps to manage stress.
- Get enough sleep. During sleep, especially the first few hours of “slow-wave” sleep, our minds are busy processing the information and skills we learned during the day, further solidifying memories.
As you continue to use these brain enhancement tips for creating more solid new memories, they will also help you keep them. In addition to memory improvement, brain enhancement techniques for other cognitive abilities will help keep your brain active and agile throughout your life.