Sep 022009
 
how to make your memory better

Improving your memory and concentration isn’t just about brain games and mental calisthenics – it’s about what you eat.

Improving your memory and concentration means never having to hut for lost car keys again. These brainy tips range from memory vitamins to cognitive games.

This is a guest post from Alex Colket, the creator of PlayWithYourMind.com. His site features over a hundred brain fitness games, all designed to improve memory, concentration, clarity of thought, and brain plasticity.

Before his tips, a quip:

“Every man can, if he so desires, become the sculptor of his own brain,” says Santiago Ramon y Cajal.

You have the power to improve your memory, concentration, clarity of thought, and problem solving skills. Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything. Here’s what one reviewer says:

“When I started reading this book, I anticipated that it would be a boring read because I couldn’t imagine how a non-fiction book about the history and biology of human memory could be interesting. I was delighted and surprised to find out that this book is loads of fun to read. It features a cast of interesting characters, some useful tips about how to improve your own memory, and a premise that is compelling: turning someone with an average memory into a world-class competitive memory champion in less than a year. Although the book is well-researched, the subject matter never seems dry. The author presents it with lots of humor and anecdotes that had me chuckling out loud.”

Here are Colket’s ten ways to improve your memory and concentration…

10 Ways to Improve Your Memory and Concentration

Guest post – Alex Colket

Long-believed to be static, science has now conclusively demonstrated that our brains are plastic and ever-changing. Our brains are constantly being shaped by our thoughts and experiences, and by choosing these wisely, we can become smarter and healthier.  These tips for improving memory power will increase your memory and concentration.

If your memory is particularly poor, read 10 Brain Fitness Tips to Reduce Memory Loss.

1. Set and achieve your goals — it will improve cognitive health. Every time you set a goal and achieve it, you mentally reinforce the notion that you have the power over your life. It makes you feel strong, capable and better prepared for the next challenge. Accomplishments — both performance and self-improvement goals – remind you of the great potential of your mind and your life, and increase your desire to create a better memory.

2. Meditate to increase problem solving skills. Talk to anyone who practices this regularly, and they will extol the benefits of meditation on improving memory power! Talk to a neuroscientist about meditation, who will explain that it has a profound effect on the mind and the power to transform the physical structure of the brain.

3. Eat and exercise to boost memory power. Exercise is great for physical health, and it’s also an important way to improve your memory and concentration. Don’t underestimate the value of blood flowing to your brain. Get that heart pumping by jumping rope, taking a swim, or dancing around your apartment!  Avoid sugars and processed foods; instead eat whole foods such as grains, fruit, veggies and nuts. And, don’t forget the benefits of eating Omega-3 fatty acids.

4. Listen to music or make art to sharpen brain connections. If you aren’t used to playing music, take a seat at the piano or the drumset. If you don’t usually create art, grab that paintbrush or clay. Just do it – doing new creative, artistic things will give you more and better memory power.

5. Learn a new language to improve concentration. Yes, the “best” period for learning a new language is well past you. You will most likely never be able to make or hear all the sounds necessary for fluency. But don’t worry about that — learning a new language is great mental exercise and can be very useful for work, travel and making friends.

6. Find new hobbies to make your brain stronger. Picking up a new hobby or learning a new craft has many benefits.  Almost any new activity you pick up will provide you with meaningful challenge and stimulation, which are brain or memory “vitamins” that improve memory power.

7. Play brain games to improve memory and problem solving skills. Games have great potential to sharpen your mind, as they can be fine-tailored to a specific task and engaging enough to keep you working at it. With the advent of online brain fitness programs, you can now exercise your memory, verbal skill, attention, problem-solving, visuospatial ability and more all in one convenient place.

8. Challenge your balance and motor skills to boost brain power. Play with balls, whether it be juggling, ping pong or a game of catch. Learn to tie knots. Practice standing on one leg or walking along balance-beam like objects (better yet, do yoga or dance). These are fun activities that will help you develop a better memory.

9. Write to improve your cognitive health. If writing isn’t a regular part of your life, it should be (and I am not talking about business emails). Do something creative or expressive. Start a blog, keep a diary, compose a poem or find a pen pal. Or, write about something in your life – such as how illness has affected your brain and memory.

10. Feed your brain with sleep — it improves cognitive function. Insufficient sleep affects mood and performance considerably. Having a well-rested and well-fed brain is the foundation for all these other steps; without that, you may not have the energy for much else.

“Exercising our brains systematically is as important as exercising our bodies,” says Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg, Clinical Professor of Neurology at New York University School of Medicine. “In my experience, ‘Use it or lose it’ should really be ‘Use it and get more of it.’”

For more memory and concentration tips, read How to Find the Right Brain Games and Brain Exercises.

If you have any thoughts improving your memory and concentration, please comment below…

Alex Colket is an amateur neuroscientist, professional game developer, and brain fitness junkie. Visit Play With Your Mind to check out his 100+ brain fitness games and tips on neuroplasticity, sustainability and cognitive health.

  20 Responses to “Want to Improve Your Memory and Concentration? 10 Easy Tips”

  1. Good tips,i am an engineering student i am not able to concentrate on my studies but i have interest to study my subjects,when exams come near i fully looses my concentrtion please tell me some solutions

  2. If your energy levels are affecting your memory and concentration, schedule a visit with your doctor. It’s possible that you’re deficient in something, which a blood or other test can help determine.

  3. i am getting tired more easily than my friends by playing cricket thats why i am not able concentrate on my studies please give me some tips

  4. hey,
    you know what i think,its all in the head.Nothing can stop you if really want to do something.If you really want to concetrate and focus on something you can do it.But if you dont wish to do it not even a doctor can help you.By the way nice article Laurie.And your tips are really good. :)

  5. One of my favourite blogs for studying and learning is Study Hacks, and it’s all about studying smarter. It’s the best way to improve your memory and concentration if you’re in school!

    And, I recently read a research report that said that sugar can help your concentration. Don’t eat loads of chocolate or gummy bears – it’s more like orange juice or fruit. Natural sources of sugar can help you focus, and aspartame is bad for memory and concentration.

  6. Am learning faster than my friends but am not getting so much expected marks.pls give me some tips for better memory

  7. hello i am suba ,sometimes when i am doing my work or studying my subject i got distrubed by some thoughts, pls give any tips to have a better memory and concentration.

  8. Ma’m i have gud memory and gud IQ but i find it difficult to concentrate on my studies. I don’t like to study, and always remain engaged in chatting etc. When I study, different kind of thoughts come to my mind. I start studying only two or three days before my exams. So please give me some suggestions to take interest and concentrate on my studies.

  9. hi , when i start reading my books or something or of my profession course …my mind suddenly goes to different directions..i mean i m totally fickle minded ..and when i realize ..i wud hav lost much time of mine ..and resulting no concentration and memory grasping ..so mam pl help me by giving any suggestion or technique in order to avoid such thing in future…..

    thanks
    pritam

  10. Another really important tip for improving your memory is being PRESENT when people are talking to you, when you’re listening to the radio or the news, or when you’re in a meeting. Really think about what’s being said and who is saying it – that’ll help you remember the content.

  11. Thanks for taking the time to comment. My husband and I take DHA omega fatty oil supplements every night. I haven’t noticed better memory power, but you never know where we’d be without those supplements!

  12. What a great article! So many people discount the benefit exercise can be to memory and concentration, but all parts of the body work together to be more efficient.

    Jamie

  13. Thanks for these brain and memory tips, they’re great!

    Susan

  14. Hi Deepak,

    Thanks for your question; I’m sorry to hear that your memory and concentration aren’t as strong as you’d like!

    It’s normal for people to forget stuff, or get distracted while trying to complete a task. But, some people are definitely more distractable than others — and they can improve their memory and concentration!

    I suggest seeing your doctor if you’re really struggling. There could be something else going on with your health.

    Through my research (I’m a health writer), I’ve discovered that oxygenating your brain is the best way to improve memory and concentration — and keep your brain healthy. Sam Wang, a neuroscientist who wrote Welcome to Your Brain, says that exercising for 20 or more minutes a day improves brain health. This is aerobic exercise — getting your blood pumping and your circulation going!

    And, getting enough fatty acids and omega-3 essential oils — especially DHA — is also really important. Your brain needs fat, fuel, and nutrition to function properly.

    Here’s a link to an article I wrote about omega-3 and essential fatty acids:

    The Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Fish Oils

    Lastly, you might try doing brain exercises a few times a week. I especially like neurobics, which involves doing things you don’t normally. Neurobics stimulate your brain because they’re unexpected. Some examples of neurobics: wearing your watch on your opposite wrist, getting dressed or showering in the dark, taking a different route to work, cooking food you don’t normally eat.

    I hope this helps a little — try these tips for improving your memory and concentration, and let me know how ti goes! (but give it at least a couple of months to take effect)

    All best,
    Laurie

  15. sir,i always feel tired.And realize that my concentration is also low.i forget any thing in few time.
    so please give me suggestion what should we do.

  16. You’re right Laurie. Thanks too Sarah. Will check on more braingames soon..:)

  17. Thanks for this info, Sarah!

    I was curious about the Stroop effect and improving brain health, so I had to look it up. Here’s the Wikipedia definition:

    “In psychology, the Stroop effect is a demonstration of the reaction time of a task. When a word such as blue, green, red, etc. is printed in a color differing from the color expressed by the word’s semantic value (e.g. the word “red” printed in blue ink), naming the color of the word takes longer and is more prone to errors than when the meaning of the word is congruent with its ink color.”

    I’ve actually played a brain game like this, and I can see how it would make you sharper, improve memory, etc. You’re exercising your brain, not just relying on rote memory.

  18. have you heard of 60secondbraingame.com? It’s based on the stroop effect. and the company that makes it also makes some pretty awesome brain-fitness programs. not necessarily games like Nintendo etc for making you quicker at math… it’s more about improving memory, vision, etc, even at an older age!

  19. I’m glad you liked it — if you do the brain fitness tips or play the brain games, your beachbody will be topped with a brilliant brain! :-)

    I’m hoping Alex writes an article about how to play brain games (do you have to do something special, or do you just play?). If he does, I’ll ask him to post the link here.

    Laurie

  20. Interesting post. I have also read “brain fitness” article and this really interests me.

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