Memory is the term given to the structures and processes involved in the storage and subsequent retrieval of information.
Memory is essential to all our lives. Without a memory of the past, we cannot operate in the present or think about the future. We would not be able to remember what we did yesterday, what we have done today or what we plan to do tomorrow. Without memory, we could not learn anything.
Memory is involved in processing vast amounts of information. This information takes many different forms, e.g. images, sounds or meaning.We have two different principle coding system,which are short term memory(STM) and long term memory(LTM)
Memory covers three important aspects of information processing:
1. Memory Encoding
When information comes into our memory system (from sensory input), it needs to be changed into a form that the system can cope with, so that it can be stored. Think of this as similar to changing your money into a different currency when you travel from one country to another.
This concerns the nature of memory stores, i.e, where the information is stored, how long the memory lasts for (duration), how much can be stored at any time (capacity) and what kind of information is held. The way we store information affects the way we retrieve it
Most adults can store between 5 and 9 items in their short-term memory. putting this idea forward and we called it the magic number 7. We though that short-term memory capacity was 7 (plus or minus 2) items because it only had a certain number of “slots” in which items could be stored.
This refers to getting information out storage. If we can’t remember something, it may be because we are unable to retrieve it. When we are asked to retrieve something from memory, the differences between STM and LTM become very clear.
STM is stored and retrieved sequentially. For example, if a group of participants are given a list of words to remember, and then asked to recall the fourth word on the list, participants go through the list in the order they heard it in order to retrieve the information.
LTM is stored and retrieved by association. This is why you can remember what you went upstairs for if you go back to the room where you first thought about it.
Simple ways to improve your memory
1.Give your brain a workout
By the time you’ve reached adulthood, your brain has developed millions of neural pathways that help you process and recall information quickly, solve familiar problems, and execute familiar tasks with a minimum of mental effort. But if you always stick to these well-worn paths, you aren’t giving your brain the stimulation it needs to keep growing and developing. You have to shake things up from time to time!
Memory, like muscular strength, requires you to “use it or lose it.” The more you work out your brain, the better you’ll be able to process and remember information. But not all activities are equal. The best brain exercises break your routine and challenge you to use and develop new brain pathways
Think of something new you’ve always wanted to try, like learning how to play the guitar, make pottery, juggle, play chess, speak French, dance the tango, or master your golf swing. Any of these activities can help you improve your memory, so long as they keep you challenged and engaged.
2.Start Your Day With fruit
Starting your day with fruit might just ensure that your memories stay sharp as you age. fruit is a good source of pigment rich in vitamin A and c with other essential nutrients(click here to read more on the benefits of fruit you probably have not heard of) ,research published in the European Journal of Pharmacology has found effective in preventing memory loss among animal test subjects. And on those days when grapefruit just won’t cut it, add these 3 Perfect Breakfast Meals for Blasting Belly Fat to your menu!
3.Make time for friends
When you think of ways to improve memory, do you think of “serious” activities such as wrestling with the New York Times crossword puzzle or mastering chess strategy, or do more lighthearted pastimes—hanging out with friends or enjoying a funny movie—come to mind? If you’re like most of us, it’s probably the former. But countless studies show that a life full of friends and fun comes with cognitive benefits.
Humans are highly social animals. We’re not meant to survive, let alone thrive, in isolation. Relationships stimulate our brains,in fact, interacting with others may be the best kind of brain exercise.
Research shows that having meaningful friendships and a strong support system are vital not only to emotional health, but also to brain health. In one recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health, for example, researchers found that people with the most active social lives had the slowest rate of memory decline.
A thirsty brain is a forgetful brain. Even minor dehydration has been linked to reductions in functional memory , so if you want to be sure you’ll remember your boss’s wife’s name, where you left your keys, or the combination on your locker at the gym, keep a water bottle handy.
5.Get Some Sun
Getting a little controlled sun exposure could be the best thing you do for your memory. A review of research suggests that low vitamin D status is associated with an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, so don’t be afraid to spend a few minutes outdoors sans sunblock each day.
6.Eat More Red Fruit
An apple a day does keep the doctor away,if it’s a Red Delicious, that is. Resveratrol, a pigment found in red fruit, like apples, strawberries, raspberries, and grapes , potentially leading to improvements in memory among those without dementia, as well.
7.Have a laugh
You’ve heard that laughter is the best medicine , and that holds true for the brain and the memory, as well as the body. Unlike emotional responses, which are limited to specific areas of the brain, laughter engages multiple regions across the whole brain.
Furthermore, listening to jokes and working out punch lines activates areas of the brain vital to learning and creativity. “laughter… seems to help people think more broadly and associate more freely.”
8.Identify and treat health problems
Do you feel that your memory has taken an unexplainable dip? If so, there may be a health or lifestyle problem to blame.
It’s not just dementia or disease that causes memory loss . There are many diseases, mental health disorders, and medications that can interfere with memory:
**Heart disease and its risk factors.
Cardiovascular disease and its risk factors, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure, have been linked to mild cognitive impairment.
Studies show that people with diabetes experience far greater cognitive decline than those who don’t suffer from the disease.
Women going through menopause often experience memory problems when their estrogen dips. In men, low testosterone can cause issues. Thyroid imbalances can also cause forgetfulness, sluggish thinking, or confusion.
**Medications. Many prescription and over-the-counter medications can get in the way of memory and clear thinking. Common culprits include cold and allergy medications, sleep aids, and antidepressants. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about possible side effects.
9.Take practical steps to support learning and memory
You can’t remember something if you never learned it, and you can’t learn something,that is, encode it into your brain,if you don’t pay enough attention to it. It takes about eight seconds of intense focus to process a piece of information into your memory. If you’re easily distracted, pick a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted.
10.Get Plenty of Sleep
Getting a good night’s rest is one of the best things you can do when it comes to improving your memory. Not only can most people attest to the brain fog that follows a night when you’ve barely slept at all, research suggests that inadequate sleep can have a negative effect on human memory in the long-term, as well. In fact, a study conducted reveals that memory consolidation,what happens in the brain between when something occurs and when it becomes a lasting memory,and related motor skills are notably improved by getting an adequate amount of sleep.
Now you have a choice. You can continue to neglect yourself, which will definitely cause you some form of memory loss. This is especially true if you have a disease or trauma to the brain. Or, you can take the 10 suggestions presented above and make changes to improve your life and memory….