This chapter will provide some important tips and information on how to keep your memory in top condition and working correctly. After all, the human brain works like a computer or machine, and is the most complex example of this that is known. To maintain your brain and keep it running smoothly you need to know and practice the right actions.
Top tips for a strong memory:
Sleep: Getting the right level of sleep is essential to keeping your brain working. When you are tired you will struggle to concentrate, find it harder to understand concepts and not effectively form memories.
Chemical stimulants such as coffee and energy drinks may make you feel more awake, but they won't give your brain the rest it needs to function properly. Sleep is a key time when long term memories are formed.
Exercise: Physical exercise and mental exercise will keep your whole body healthy and working correctly. Physical exercise produces important chemicals such as endorphins and hormones that will keep your brain in balance and make you feel more alert and aware.
Mental exercise through giving your brain a good variety of tasks to complete will improve your attention span and encourage creative thought and idea generation.
Diet: What you eat and drink has a big effect on your body, as it is the only source of minerals and nutrients that are what form and maintain your cells.
Ensure to eat a healthy, balanced diet and avoid saturated fats and salt. Omega3 acid found in high concentration in fresh fruit and fish is known to be particularly good for memory. It is also very important to drink lots of water, the brain is around 70% water, and will physically shrink when you are dehydrated leading to headaches and lower performance, but avoid energy drinks and alcohol. Alcohol actually kills brain cells, which certainly won't help it work effectively.
- Have fun and avoid stress: Even when pressure from school or work is mounting it's important to still do activities that make you happy. High stress and overwork can lead to serious psychological harm, and this will even cause physical symptoms. Your brain can't work effectively if you are highly stressed, so take time to enjoy yourself and to keep in touch with friends and family. If you can't seem to get rid of the stress, then it's time to find help. Talk to your university or supervisor, and maybe also your doctor to solve this problem and get back on track.
- Use different learning styles: There are thought to be three different types of learners - Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic. Try using different styles of learning and revision to see which works for you. For example, reading notes out loud as if you were explaining them to someone may work very well for some people.
- Avoid distractions: With modern technology, in particular mobile phones, it is easy to be distracted by things such as a quick check of social media, or responding to a text. But, even if these only use a short time, they interrupt the learning and memory forming process and will have a large effect. Make sure you stay focused on the task you are doing and save social media use just for your regular breaks.
Following these tips will set you up to have a strong and effective memory, and improve your revision and learning.