Memory is very interesting. The mechanisms that generate memories or that cause us to remember or learn things are unpredictable and sometimes unexplained. Forgetfulness can create problems and some of us take extreme measures to outsmart the human tendency to forget.
Have you ever set your alarm clock to remind yourself to do something or posted notes so you don’t forget? We use many mechanisms to remember and remember things, even if they seem to have nothing to do with what we really want to remember.
Strangely enough , small gestures can be incredibly helpful in stimulating and improving memory.
Take a short nap
Research shows that taking a quick nap can be incredibly effective for boosting memory. A study in which participants took a nap of 45-60 minutes just before a memory test showed that the nap significantly improved their performance.
Many studies show that sleep plays an important role for memory. During sleep, memories are consolidated and the brain ‘cleansed’. Researchers also found that taking a nap right after learning something affects memory.
Moving your eyes back and forth
Moving your eyes back and forth when you want to remember something will help to stimulate your memory. While the reasons for this are not entirely clear, researchers state that horizontal eye movements help activate and connect the two hemispheres of the brain.
In one study, researchers found that the participants who moved their eyes back and forth for 30 seconds each morning performed their tasks better by an average of 10%. They also found that these bilateral eye movements resulted in a 15% decrease in incorrect memories during memory tasks.
Ball your fists
Balling your fists can help you gain more control over your memory. One study showed that people who clenched the fist on their dominant side before learning and then clenched the other fist while trying to recall what they had learned were able to remember things more effectively.
Although the explanation for this is not entirely clear, the researchers argue that the act of clenching the fist activates areas of the brain related to remembering and recalling.
Chewing gum is a trick that can give your memory an important boost. One study found that participants who chewed gum during a memory and attention test scored nearly 25% higher than those who didn’t.
While the reason for this is unclear, some researchers speculate that chewing gum may increase oxygen levels in the hippocampus. This is a brain region associated with memory and attention.
In addition, yet another study found that the participants who chewed gum right before a test remembered 25 to 50% more than those who did not.
While researchers can’t explain this exactly, they state that chewing gum increases blood flow to the brain, which improves mental performance.
Listen to music
Research shows that certain types of music are extremely helpful in recalling memories. The information you learn while listening to a song can often be remembered just by thinking about the song itself or by “playing” it in your head.
Professor and researcher Antonio Matas Terron of the University of Malaga states that listening to music improves school performance, although this depends on the rhythm, style and volume of the music. According to Matas Terron, musical rhythm changes our sense of time.
It is important, however, that we do not use music with text for this, which can have the opposite effect on the ability to pay attention. Also, the music should only be played for periods of twenty minutes, because if the music goes on for too long, the attention wanes again.