3 Simple Ways To Improve Your Memory

August 29, 2015

Do you easily forget things like names or information you’ve read?

There are some simple ways to improve your memory. If you just understand the way your memory works, you’ll be on your way to remembering more and forgetting less.

Let me show you.

1. Repetition helps you remember

Let me repeat that: Repetition helps you remember!

When you need to remember … remember to repeat. It sounds obvious, but we don’t always apply this to things we really need to remember.

This is how songs get stuck in your head; you heard them over and over. And of course the beat and melody of a song also repeat, along with the chorus. All of this repetition makes songs very memorable.

But how do we go about remembering names or things we’veread?

If you’re trying to remember a name, be sure to repeat the nameduring the conversation. Get into the habit of replying, “Nice to meet you, (name).” Then occasionally repeat the name during the conversation. Just make sure you don’t do this too often—or the conversation will seem awkward.

How do you remember more of what you read? Most people read everything from beginning to end. But there are some simple way to get extra repetitions in, so you can remember the material more effectively.

The next time you read something, get familiar with the text first. For example, you might read the introduction and conclusion, or the headings and sub-headings, or try reading the first sentence of each paragraph.

Doing any or all of these provides you with extra repetitions and will help you remember the material better. It will also help you read the material faster.

Another way to remember what you read is to make sure you take notes. Note-taking serves as additional repetition during the learning process.

2. Visualization helps you remember

We all forget people’s names. But notice how it’s much easier to remember their faces. This is because a face provides you with visual information, while the name is abstract.

Abstract information is always harder to remember than visual information. So to improve your memory, you need to find ways of turning abstract information into visual information.

One way to do this is to use the Similar Sound Technique.

Let’s say you have to remember the definition of “belonephobia,” which is the fear of needles. You could associate the sound “belone” to a balloon (similar in sound), which is easy to visualize. Now imagine the balloon afraid of a needle coming toward it. See more examples of the Similar Sound Technique in my Study Skills course.

Another memory technique that uses visualization is the Numeric Peg System. This helps you remember things in a precise order by associating numbers with pictures.

For example, the number 1 becomes visually associated with a pencil because it has a similar shape. The number 2 is associated with a swan, again, because of its similar shape. Each number gets an association, and then you associate those numbers with things that need to be memorized. So whatever you have to memorize first (number 1) has to be associated visually, in your mind, with a pencil.

You can learn more about the numeric peg system and other visual memory techniques by checking out the Study Skills course.

3. Exaggeration helps you remember

Have you ever watched commercials during the Super Bowl? Why is it that advertisers go through so much effort to make a commercial funny or outrageous? It’s because they know that you’re more likely to remember the commercial if it’s exaggerated to some extent.

Anything that’s out of the ordinary is always more memorable. Keep this in mind when you’re trying to visualize information you need to remember. The crazier the image, the easier it will be to remember.

Earlier in this article, we discussed how you could use a visual of a balloon to remember the definition of belonephobia (the fear of needles). You can strengthen your memory of this by exaggerating the the detail of the image. Picture a large red balloon the size of a tree, nervously sweating as a needle is coming toward it in slow motion. Adding this level of exaggeration will help you easily remember that belonephobia is the fear of needles.

Understanding how your memory works is the first step to improving it. Once you start implementing these three memory principles (repetition, visualization, and exaggeration), you’ll find that your memory isn’t as bad as you thought it was.

Learn more with my lynda.com courses Improving Your Memory and Study Skills Fundamentals.