How to improve memory?
1. Exercise your brain. Regularly "exercising" the brain keeps it growing and spurs the development of new nerve connections that can help improve memory. By developing new mental skills -- especially complex ones such as learning a new language or learning to play a new musical instrument -- and challenging your brain with puzzles and games, you can keep your brain active and improve its physiological functioning. Try some fun puzzle exercises everyday such as crosswords, Sudoku, and other games which are easy enough to for anyone.
2. Exercise daily. Regular aerobic exercise improves circulation and efficiency throughout the body -- including the brain -- and can help ward off the memory loss that comes with ageing. Exercise also makes you more alert and relaxed, and can thereby improve your memory uptake, allowing you to take better mental "pictures".
3. Reduce stress. Chronic stress does in fact physically damage the brain, it can make remembering much more difficult. After prolonged stress, the brain will start to become affected and deteriorate.
* Stressful situations are recognized by the hypothalamus, which in turn signals the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland then secretes adrenocorticotropic hormones (ACTH) which influences the adrenal glands to secrete adrenaline and later, cortisol (corticosteroids). The corticosteroids can weaken the blood-brain barrier and damage the hippocampus (the memory center). Ironically, the hippocampus controls the secretion of the hormone released by the hypothalamus through a process of negative feedback. After chronic stress, it will begin to deteriorate and will not be as efficient in regulating the degenerative corticosteroids, impairing memory. Neurogenesis (formation of new neurons) indeed exists in the hippocampus, but stress inhibits it.
* Realistically speaking, stress may never be completely eliminated from one's life, but it definitely can be controlled. Even temporary stresses can make it more difficult to effectively focus on concepts and observe things. Try to relax, regularly practice yoga or other stretching exercises, and see a doctor if you have severe chronic stress as soon as possible.
4. Eat well and eat right. There are a lot of herbal supplements on the market that claim to improve memory, but none have yet been shown to be effective in clinical tests (although small studies have shown some promising results for ginkgo biloba and phosphatidylserine). A healthy diet, however, contributes to a healthy brain, and foods containing antioxidants -- broccoli, blueberries, spinach, and berries, for example -- and Omega-3 fatty acids appear to promote healthy brain functioning.
* Feed your brain with such supplements as Thiamine, Niacin and Vitamin B-6.
* Grazing, or eating 5 or 6 small meals throughout the day instead of 3 large meals, also seems to improve mental functioning (including memory) by limiting dips in blood sugar, which may negatively affect the brain. Make sure it's healthy stuff.
5. Take better pictures. Often we forget things not because our memory is bad, but rather because our observational skills need work. One common situation where this occurs (and which almost everyone can relate to) is meeting new people. Often we don’t really learn people’s names at first because we aren’t really concentrating on remembering them. You’ll find that if you make a conscious effort to remember such things, you’ll do much better.
* One way to train yourself to be more observant is to look at an unfamiliar photograph for a few seconds and then turn the photograph over and describe or write down as many details as you can about the photograph. Try closing your eyes and picturing the photo in your mind. Use a new photograph each time you try this exercise, and with regular practice you will find you’re able to remember more details with even shorter glimpses of the photos.
6. Give yourself time to form a memory. Memories are very fragile in the short-term, and distractions can make you quickly forget something as simple as a phone number. The key to avoid losing memories before you can even form them is to be able to focus on the thing to be remembered for a while without thinking about other things, so when you’re trying to remember something, avoid distractions and complicated tasks for a few minutes.
7. Sleep well. The amount of sleep we get affects the brain's ability to recall recently learned information. Getting a good night's sleep -- a minimum of seven hours a night -- may improve your short-term memory and long-term relational memory, according to recent studies conducted at the Harvard Medical School.
8. Build your memorization arsenal. Memory pegs, memory palaces, and the Dominic System are just some techniques which form the foundation for mnemonic techniques, and which can visibly improve your memory. Memory pegs involve visualization methods in which you make use of various familiar landmarks, associating the to be learnt information to these various popular landmarks. This helps to trigger and enhance the memory process.
9. Venture out and learn from your mistakes. Go ahead and take a stab at memorizing the first one hundred digits of pi, or, if you've done that already, the first one thousand.