10 Quick Memory Improvement Tips
1. Use pictures and imagination
An easy way to remember new information is to use visual pictures to link it to something that you already know.
For example, if you need to remember to buy bananas at the supermarket, picture giant bananas blocking the front door of the supermarket. When you arrive at the supermarket, you’ll be able to scan your memory to find the image of the giant bananas, and you’ll remember the shopping item.
The Number Shape System is an example of how you can remember numbers by linking them to something you already know.
There is significant evidence that exercise improves memory.
A single, moderate workout may immediately change how our brains function and how well we recognize common names and similar information, according to a promising new study of exercise, memory and aging. The study adds to growing evidence that exercise can have rapid effects on brain function and also that these effects could accumulate and lead to long-term improvements in how our brains operate and we remember.
Read more about Exercise and Memory.
3. Use acrostics
An acrostic mnemonic is a kind of poem that you can create out of the first letters of words.
A good example is a mnemonic for the order of planets, which is:
If you take the first letter of each planet, you can create a new sentence:
My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nachos.
That sentence is easier to remember than the planet names by themselves.
Read more about Acrostic Mnemonics.
4. Take breaks
There is evidence that brief, wakeful resting can help with memorization.
Read more about Rest and Memory.
5. Get enough sleep
Lack of sleep can be detrimental to memory. Read more about Sleep and Memory.
6. Try peg lists
- one – sun
- two – shoe
- three – tree
- four – door
- five – hive
- six – sticks
- seven – heaven
- eight – gate
- nine – sign
- ten – pen
Now that you have a list of pegs, take a list of items that you want to remember, and imagine each item in your list interacting with one peg. If you’re remembering a shopping list and the first item on the list is milk, then imagine pouring milk on the sun (“sun” rhymes with “one”). If the second item on your list is lemons, imagine putting lemons in a shoe (“shoe” rhymes with “two”), and so on. To recall the list, recite the numbers from 1 to 10, convert each number to its rhyming image, and then recall what the image was doing.
7. Create a mind palace
8. Eat healthily
Some foods contain nutrients that can have an effect on cognitive performance: green leafy vegetables, fatty fish, berries, walnuts, and more.
Read more about Foods to Improve Memory.
9. Take a walk in nature
Read more about Nature and Memory.
10. Play memory training games
Try some memory training games, especially ones that teach memory techniques while you’re practicing. Photographic memory doesn’t exist, but these memory techniques are probably the closest you can get. You can find out how to learn the more advanced techniques on the getting started page.