Having a good, well functioning memory is a very powerful tool in life. It is of course particularly helpful while studying. Fortunately for us all, a good memory can be learned and is not something that you are just born with.
There are both strategies that can be used to improve your memory as well as lifestyle factors that can enhance or impede your memory. Below is a look at some of the most common strategies used to improve your memory as well as some of the most common lifestyle factors that may be affecting your memory.
Memory Improvement Strategies
There are a lot of strategies for improving your memory, however it is important to find what works for you. A strategy that one person finds effective will not necessarily work as well for you. It is a good idea to try several different strategies until you find some that are right for you. Here are just a couple of suggested techniques:
- Rhyming - Putting information you need to remember into a silly rhyme is a technique that works particularly well for auditory learners. Auditory learners are people who learn best using auditory cues. If you find yourself audibly repeating the things to yourself that you need to remember, you are more than likely an auditory learner. Learning through rhyme is a very common technique used with children but it is just as effective for many adults.
- Story or Visualization - The story or visualization technique involves you creating a story in your mind about the things you need to remember. It is particularly effective for visual learners who like to be able to see, or at least picture in their own mind, what they are learning about. An example might be if you forget where you place your keys. You would try to picture what you saw leading up to you putting your keys down, the visual features of the room you were in and what you remember seeing around you when you put your keys down.
Lifestyle Factors on Memory
There are several lifestyle factors which can have a dramatic impact on your memory. By making small changes to the way you look after your body and mind you might be able to make significant improvements to your memory. Below are some common factors that affect memory:
- Sleep - The benefits of a good night’s sleep are well known but several studies have confirmed the link between good sleep and good memory. Sleep performs two very important functions in relation to memory; it consolidates memories and also recovers memories. If you are not sleeping enough you are simply not giving your body the sleep it needs to maintain your memory. (Read: How much should college students sleep?)
- Diet – A well balanced diet is essential to a healthy body and mind. It is very important during periods when you need your memory functioning at its peak (exams for example) to eat well. Studies have also proven a link between dieting and poor cognitive performance. If you need your mind at its peak you need to be giving it the fuel it needs.
These are just a few ways in which you can improve your memory. The important thing to keep in mind is that memory is something you can improve over time, you just need to find the techniques that work the best for you.