When you feel stressed, stuck, or “mind bogged down” it is important to do a little reset. It is necessary to organize the thoughts settled in the working memory, eliminating those that are no longer needed, so as to have a fresher and more efficient brain. To return to having good performance in terms of concentration, attention, clarity and memory, it is useful to follow these strategies. Now, lets discover more about strategies to improve your memory.
Memory: How to Improve It
The brain, in a sense, can be compared to a computer. When many files are stored on the PC in no particular order, without ever cataloguing them, one ends up finding nothing and getting into confusion. And if you never delete what you no longer need, the memory eventually runs out. The same happens in the brain: by continuing to deposit information upon information in the mind, we arrive at a saturation point. It is therefore necessary to clean up and restart the machine. This is a bit like what happens on the work desk. If it is full of snippets of projects, memos and important documents, finding specific information becomes difficult.
The best solution is to settle down. Even when unnecessary or worrying thoughts accumulate in the brain, it falls into chaos, unable to find the really important information, hidden among unwanted mental data. In order not to feel foggy and overwhelmed and to strengthen the memory, one can resort to ad hoc strategies.
Memory also worsens with age but there are ways to preserve it and sometimes momentary memory lapses occur as well.
Training to become more aware through mindfulness practices can have many benefits. For one thing, it can help you stay present and focused on what’s happening around you. Being present means being able to pay full attention to the really important things and not risk being distracted by insignificant details. Learning to consciously direct one’s attention on one activity at a time as mindfulness teaches, in fact, allows you to overshadow the less urgent thoughts. This helps optimize memory and make experiences more enjoyable and less rushed. Meditation, in particular, can help strengthen awareness and relieve stress by teaching you to sit with distracting thoughts, acknowledge them, and eventually let them go. But there are also other simple useful exercises, such as:
Focus on the sensations
Using the five senses to completely tune in to the experiences of everyday life, however trivial they may seem, such as feeling the hot water of the shower on the body or the hot sun on the skin;
Focus on your breathing
If you start to feel overwhelmed, intentionally slowing down your breathing can help you ground yourself and return to the present. Inhale slowly, hold your breath for a few seconds, then exhale again. The more you repeat better it will become (Repeat at least for 10 times).
Opening your mind completely to what you can learn from a given situation can help you stay focused; Learn to bring your thoughts back to what you want to focus on. It may take some time to acquire this skill, but eventually the mind will get used to staying present.
If you read until here, you learnt some fundamental strategies to improve your memory. Now let’s see what are the other seven strategies to improve your memory.
When the mind is overflowing with stressful thoughts, it’s not always easy to resolve them and determine what’s causing the most distress. To clean up and “clear” the memory it is useful to keep a diary. According to the studies, putting one’s thoughts in writing helps to reduce intrusive thoughts and improves mental “disorder”. As a result, working memory and other cognitive functions can function more smoothly and potentially relieve stress. After a free writing session, you may even find that you are not fully aware of some of the concerns that have been noted. For writing to be effective, it is important to dedicate at least 15 minutes to it every day.
Tip: Try writing in the evening as part of your bedtime ritual. Free-wheeling and occasionally rereading.
Listening to music
Many people love to listen to music, but music offers more than just a pleasant hearing experience. It can help relieve stress and improve mood, concentration and memory, motivate learning and promote neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to adapt. Anyone who listens to music regularly may have already noticed that this practice facilitates attention and productivity at work.
A good night’s sleep can regenerate when you feel physically tired. What not everyone knows, however, is that getting enough sleep can also help protect you from mental fatigue and emotional distress . Insufficient or poor sleep can interfere with problem solving and decision making, memory, and emotion regulation. Feeling excessively tired can also lead to mental overwhelm, making it harder to break away from confused thoughts and focus on what needs to be done. To make things better, try to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night or enough hours to feel refreshed.
Changing your environment and going out for a walk offers a great opportunity to clear your head and refocus your thoughts. Research from Stanford University in 2014 suggests, better creativity is just one of the benefits of a good walk. Walking also helps promote ideas that flow more freely and strengthen memory. Exercising for 20 to 30 minutes can help improve decision making and reaction time just before a cognitive activity, but walking also offers long-term benefits. For better overall brain health and to reduce stress, try adding a brisk walk or any other exercise to your regular routine.
An intense cleaning session offers the perfect escape from a difficult or unpleasant task. However, this activity may have other benefits. The surrounding environment, in fact, can have a great impact on one’s mental environment. When your brain feels as cluttered as your desk, you may have a hard time concentrating or grasping the ideas you’re looking for. As a result, you end up finding ways to distract yourself from your lack of productivity. Tidying up your workspace can help freshen up your thinking process, but it can also be time-consuming. Better to try to make a regular effort to constantly maintain the order of your workspace, so as to enhance cognitive functions, including memory, and to improve workflow.
Don’t stay focused
Sometimes, the best way to pause the brain is to simply stop focusing. Even the mind, in fact, needs downtime. Unfocusing can help promote creativity, refine thought processes, and improve memory and learning.
Some ways to “defocus“: take a nap, take a walk.
Expressing annoying feelings out loud often helps relieve the tensions they have generated. When thoughts weigh less heavily on the mind they may naturally vanish from one’s immediate consciousness. Discussing your problems can allow you to present them more logically. This often allows you to gain a new perspective on the situation and come up with potential solutions that you may not have considered before. Talking with family and friends, therefore, is useful to start overcoming frustrations and clearing your mind. If you can’t get out of the mental fog even this way, remember that a professional can offer a little extra support.