We all know that the best way to take care of the body is to work out regularly and eat well. What about the brain, though? How do we work out our brains and improve our memories? Our brains also need to work out. This is called “brain gymnastics,” and it helps our minds work better. Next, we’ll talk about seven ways to improve your memory.
Write your Story
We begin with a pen and paper. Writing, especially by hand since we concentrate on fine motor skills, is a fantastic memory workout. We all have a tale to tell—our own recollections that shape our lives. And there comes a point in life when those memories begin to fade: it’s time to record them.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a writer or understand basic literary standards to compose your novel. In the beginning, it’s just about writing down recollections from your life, even if they’re unrelated. Little by little, while you write, you will surprise yourself by remembering details that were forgotten: this is the magic of writing, a lovely method of remembering ourselves and making us remember.
Look at old Photographs
Don’t know what to write about in your story? Don’t you remember everything about the house you lived in when you were a child? Look at old photos to open the trunk of memories. Our visual memory will start to work, it will link up with other senses, and we will start to remember scenes, conversations smell, and even love.
It’s true that sometimes it’s hard to look at old photos because they make us feel nostalgic, but looking at old photos is, above all, a good way to strengthen our memories.
The Chained Words
Let’s try a classic exercise to work on our short-term and verbal memories. This is the game called “chained words.” To play, you have to find a word that starts with the last syllable of the last word. A series of examples: balcony, contact, tortilla, key, blindfold, etc.
One way to combine verbal and visual memory is to use pictures with chains of words that we have to connect to find the matching drawing, like this one:
Do you want to make it a little harder? The following exercise to improve memory is a classic psychometric test used to measure an individual’s intelligence. It is mostly used to measure abstract reasoning.
In the Raven test, we have to find the missing piece in a pattern, which is usually made up of geometric shapes. With this test and other visual memory exercises like the Stroop test or logic games, we can get the most out of our ability to remember and think.
The Couples Games
Couples are another classic way to improve our ability to remember what we see. There are different ways to do this exercise, from the easiest to the hardest, and all of them will test our reasoning skills. Making the exercise harder or easier for each person based on their age and ability makes sense.
Have you ever created a mind map or an idea diagram? Nope? It’s finally time. Because our brain works better with visual and verbal associations that are typically unique to each individual, mental maps are a fantastic approach to enhancing our memory.
Mind maps and concept diagrams, which are utilized in a variety of disciplines ranging from business to literature, can help to stimulate our creativity and organize a job or a hard activity. In this regard, a mind map is an excellent tool for graphically structuring a novel… or an autobiography: Having this visual guide put on the wall makes it more difficult to become disoriented in the midst of so many memories.
Did you know that your nose can tell the difference between up to a trillion smells? The Laboratory of Neurogenetics and Behavior at Rockefeller University in New York came to this conclusion. And it’s because the smell is one of the most powerful senses because it goes straight to the parts of the brain that process information and is one of the main ways we remember things.
Surely, you’ve surprised yourself at some point by remembering a person or event that you thought you had forgotten just because you smelled something that reminded you of that person or event. It sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Well, not really. According to the same study, people can remember 35% of what they smell but only 5% of what they see.
And how do you use the smell memory? We live in a bad time for our sense of smell because so many people wear masks. Can you picture what your life would be like if you always had to wear gloves, earplugs, or glasses that made your vision 80% worse? So, we do the same thing with our sense of smell.
We can always take the smells home and work out there, no matter what. A good way to improve our ability to remember smells is to close our eyes and smell a few things (coffee, a new book, perfume, etc.) for ten seconds each. You will notice how many other feelings are triggered, including memories that are clear.
And here’s one that’s even easier and more fun. Close your eyes, crack a window in your house, and just smell it. Try to say what kinds of smells you can smell and where they are coming from.