5 scientific ways to improve your memory
Are you having difficulty recalling the name of the new client you met at the office? Would you rather describe yourself as forgetful?
There are numerous tips and tricks on the internet to increase the efficiency of the brain. Scientists are continually working on finding out measures to improve the performance of the brain, now that most of the activities a human being does involve complex uses of the mind. Intellectual functioning of the mind has become a daily part of our life which has led us to overwork it from time to time. Multitasking and intellectual stagnation leave behind a brain with reduced potential than usual.
No doubt, we are losing our capacity to accommodate so much information in our brain that we are pushing some of the created memories at the back of our mind, the process which we call forgetting.
Let us understand the process of creating a memory and how we recall those memories when we need to, in the simplest way possible.
How do we create a memory?
We all are surrounded by a plethora of stimuli in the environment we reside in. All our sense organs are functioning to perceive them and send them to the associated parts of the brain to get it interpreted and to put meaning to it. This information from the environment is passed on from one neuron to the other in the form of chemical messages with the help of chemical substances called neurotransmitters present at the termination of each neuron at the synapses.
Each time new information is passed on in the form of electrical impulses, a new pattern of connectivity is formed in the brain, which is known as a memory. A memory is any form of new experience that the brain has registered after interpretation.
Consolidation of memory
In a particular day, we perceive and draw in several new information from the environment but are all of them significant enough to create an everlasting new connection in the brain? Consolidation of information is a procedure by which the new connection which is created in the brain is strengthened by repeatedly rehearsing and recalling the same. These informations are now stored in the long-term memory, ready to be recalled whenever needed. The consolidation happens when we are sleeping and the brain recreates this pattern of brain activity to strengthen the connection.
The information absorbed by the sense organs which do not get consolidated is forgotten and can never be recalled.
Recall of formed memory
Whenever we want to recall a memory we have formed is easier when it has been consolidated over time and has been passed on to the long-term memory after practicing and rehearsal which is mostly done during sleep.
Memory loss with age happens as a result of the natural process of degeneration of brain cells. But are there ways in which we can hold it back for as long as possible?
Here are a few scientific ways in which we can boost and improve our memory:
1. Regular de-stressing
On a regular basis, we are constantly exposing ourselves to highly stressful situations. Be it academic stress, workload, unfinished household chores, financial complexity or stressors coming from other sources like interpersonal relationships and unpredictable situational events.
We need to remember the who’s, what’s, where’s, when’s and how’s. Stress in his highly modernized and over-occupied world is now a part and parcel of everyone’s life. People who fail to retrieve information on a particular situation, say during an exam, an interview is because they are either stressed or are preoccupied with stress in that situation. Hence, it is easily understandable why a student might forget to write an important yet easy line in the exam when one is stressing over.
Studies have found that chronic stress over a long period of time is bound to hamper the declarative memory of a person (Mc Gauch and Chill) Cortisol, which is also known as stress hormone inhibits the laying down of memories. Profound and chronic stress was also found to damage the site of memory, the hippocampus.
In another study in 2001 involving children, Lindberg, Jones, McComas, Collard, and Stuart found that people undergoing stress may lose small details within their memories and remember less details of events even though they are not stressful.