Techniques for Improving Your Short-term Memory with Simple Exercises
Your short term memory is good for more than just cramming for tests, or preparing a speech or presentation. Developing your memory will help reduce your risk of mental degeneration as you age, and work to delay problems like Alzheimer’s or Dementia. Here is a quick guide on how to help prep your brain to remember everything you want to remember.
The first rule for improving your memory skills is to pay attention to the task at hand. Attempting to block out anything that can distract you will increase your focusing abilities and make learning easier. Televisions, loud music and a hectic environment will only complicate the memory process, causing your brain’s processing speed to go down. You need to focus, blocking out distractions.
It just takes a little practice, but it’s possible for you to remember just about anything you want. And remember, the harder the task, the more concentration you’ll need.
Another way to improve short-term memory is to use a variety of physiological cues, whether it be visual, auditory, or even linking a certain memory to a similar experience. If you have trouble remembering names, try to find an association of something or someone familiar to you. Who do they remind you of? Do they look like someone or someone that you already know , like a celebrity, or a relative? Perhaps the sound of their voice reminds you of something. If none of those are working, try using repetition by repeating their information. This helps create a specific neurological pathway in the brain that makes information easier to recall.
A great way to improve short term memory is by association. This can be applied to names, places, vocabulary, and a variety of other things. If you have trouble locating your car in a large parking lot, try to associate the aisle number with something that is familiar to you. Look around and see if there is anything in the immediate area that is recognizable. And, if all else fails, take a picture of the aisle and row location with your camera phone! Numbers can be especially hard to remember, but there are even tricks to lock those into your brain. For instance, you can turn the rhythm of the spoken numbers into a jingle or a rhyme to help you remember. If your social security number is the same number of syllables as the words in a tune you like, sing the numbers to that tune. You’ll never forget them!
As we get older, repetition and focus becomes more important. The processing speed of your brain begins to slow down. As we age our “working memory” which is mostly short-term memory, is never fully stored and never becomes a part of our permanent memory making it easily replaced by another bit of information that takes the same pathway as the first. Because our brain size decreases, we lose the efficiency of our brain functions, and facts that were easy to remember when we were younger, take more effort, and practice. Simple tasks such as the placement of keys, or the name of a new acquaintance take extra effort. Just as exercising the body make you physically stronger, exercising the mind will make you mentally stronger.