Mastering Your Memory
For students, busy parents, and retirees alike, memory and the loss of it can be exceptionally frustrating.
While permanent memory loss is typically associated with severe injury and the aging process, we are all
subject to forgetting pertinent pieces of information.
Our brains are not just a super computer, storing information to be filed away and retrieved when
needed. The human brain is a living thing that grows and evolves just as the body it calls home. Much
like muscles, lack of use and laziness can result in sluggishness and ultimately atrophy. A few simple
facts, habits, and techniques can help you boost your brain power and remain mentally alert and active
for years to come.
How Your Brain Works
Information obtained by our brain is stored in various places, depending on the nature of that
information. The brain then creates neural pathways or individual
pieces of road by which the information is accessed. Each piece of road
leads to only one bit of information, however many pieces of road may
be attached to a single bit of information.
As we develop more neural pathways to the information stored in our
brain, we are able to access more at an increasingly efficient level. Each
time we retrieve information in a new way, whether it is memorized
facts for a test, or the movement required to run a race, we are creating
new neural pathways to old information. The more pathways to a single piece of information, the
stronger our memory of that information is.
Certain foods and activities can help boost your ability to think and remember while others will most
certainly detract from that ability. With food and drink, the key
is moderation, specifically when it comes to alcohol. Students
are notorious for partying and, while fun, alcohol (and drugs)
can seriously inhibit your brain and can even destroy neural
pathways you have already created.
Keep yourself hydrated with water and eat food high in
Omega-3 (found in fish, nuts, & various seeds), antioxidants
(berries, fruit, beans and some nuts), and other nutrients.
Additionally, strive to get a healthy amount of sleep and exercise to keep your entire body alert and
active, providing your brain with the tools necessary to accomplish everything you need it to.
As you work to create a healthy lifestyle there are some additional things you can do to help your
memory. Late night cram sessions, while potentially effective, can result in burnout if you don’t take
breaks. Schedule down time that will allow your brain to relax and recover before you start cramming
Utilizing a few additional techniques can help you as you practice your memorization skills. Reciting
information repeatedly is helpful but take the time to also write down what you are trying to remember.
You may also try using visualization and association tricks to help you remember the facts you need to
recall. And above all else, practice. Continuing to use these skills will only strengthen your ability to
obtain, retain, and recall information on command.
Whether you are a student pursuing a business degree, a retired professional, or somewhere in
between, these practices will help you build your brain power and increase your ability to memorize and
recall the information you need.
Photo Credit: artM, Galina-NB