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Want to remember new information? You’ve come to the right place. Here, we’ll highlight ways in which to improve your memory recall and keep your mind sharp even as you age.
What is a recall?
Before we get into the details, we first have to state what recall is. It refers to the mental process where one retrieves information from one’s mind of the past. A recall is one of the three core processes with regards to memory, the other two being encoding and storage.
One can also get assistance for faster memory retrieval when they are given cues to help them access the information quicker. There are three kinds of recall; free recall, serial recall, and cued recall.
Free recall: this kind of recall happens when a person gets asked to recall a list of items in any order. It also looks at aspects of primacy and recency. That is when you’re either better at recalling things at the beginning of a list or remembering those that are last on the list and then making your way to the beginning and the middle.
Serial recall: People generally recall events or items as per the sequence in which they occurred. Even in serial recall, a person would remember more recent events easier than those in the distant past. Overall, a person can use past memories to cue the next item in a series of what they are remembering.
Cued recall: In this kind of recall, it involves the recovery of “lost” memories. How this is different is that, when you’re given a list of things to remember, you get cues during the testing phase to help you remember items on the list. A person will have an easier time recalling words of the prompts given are linked strongly to the terms.
How does memory get created?
The creation of a memory requires different brain activities to take place. Depending on the experience we’ve had, the brain will send signals in a specific pattern and create connections between our neurons. They are known as synapses.
However, that happening is not enough. If someone tells you their name and you forget it a few seconds after, then it means that memory has left your mind. For you to remember, the process of consolidation needs to take place. That is of committing the information into long-term memory for us to be able to recall it later.
Long-term memory mainly gets formed when we are sleeping. It is during that time the brain is able to recreate the same pattern of brain activity as the name, event, experience, etc. When that happens, the synapses that were created earlier get strengthened.
Sleep is often underestimated. If you’ve managed to miss a few tasks from your to-do list because you didn’t get enough rest, then you might need to reconsider your sleeping habits.
When we recall, we are strengthening the brain pattern formed during the initial event or list. However, losing memory is normal because we all age. It doesn’t mean that there is nothing you can slow down the progression of the same.
Things you can do to improve memory recall
We’ve briefly mentioned the role of sleep in memory recall, and it indeed is essential. It is proven that rest is the most crucial element when it comes to having a good memory. That’s because when we sleep, memory consolidation takes place.
Without enough sleep, we tend to forget the things we’ve learned. When you’re learning new things, consider taking a short nap for about 40 minutes. It would exponentially increase your ability to recall as compared to taking a break. Before continuing.
If you’re a coffee drinker reading this, then it might perhaps strengthen your resolve to continue to take coffee for as long as you can. However, it is not as simple as taking a cup of coffee and going about your day. There is little-to-no evidence that drinking coffee does help with memory when you take it in the morning.
However, the evidence available shows that drinking coffee after undertaking tasks; for example, when studying, there is better memory recall. Therefore, consider taking coffee after reading things that you need to commit to your long-term memory.
Not everyone is keen about exercising, but the effects go beyond being fit. Studies, even in humans, show that regular activities do help in improving your memory recall. If you’re older, it is even more critical that you continue to exercise.
That’s because it will help in reducing the decline of your memory. Also, when you do work out, it improves your spatial memory, which is responsible for recording information about the environment you’re in and spatial orientation.
Meditation is not something everyone is quick to embrace, but it does aid in memory recall. When we learn new information, it goes into our working memory, in which the average person holds on to about seven items at any given time.
If it is information worth remembering, it goes into long-term memory. The rest slips out of your mind, and you forget it entirely. What meditation does is it increases the capacity of your working memory. In between two to eight weeks, the difference in your ability to recall will be much improved.
If you want a super quick and easy way to help in memory recall, chew gum as you’re learning new things. There is a need for more studies to ascertain this claim, but there are some small-scale experiments that show the benefits of chewing gum.
What they found was that those how chewed gum while learning new tasks were more accurate in recalling and also had higher reaction times. The link between these two is based on the fact that chewing gum does increase activity in the hippocampus, which plays a role in memory.
The other theory is that when we chew gum, we increase oxygen in our body, and by extension, the brain. It helps with attention and focuses too and, as a result creating stronger connections with new memory.
Stimulate your mind
You have to exercise your mind too if you want to improve your memory recall. You can give it a work out from a variety of ways so that you can continually build and develop new brain pathways. Consider learning something new every that is challenging so that it stimulates your mind.
It also best of you take up things that you can start at a basic skill level and work your way up to master. Choose activities that you’re interested in as they keep you engaged and are satisfying; our brains work even better when there is a reward system in place.
A life with friendships and fun times, time, and time again has shown to have significant cognitive benefits. Humans require interactions with people also to improve their brain activity.
With meaningful friendships and even an excellent support system, you’re able to become both emotionally and mentally healthy. Ensure that, while learning something new, you take the time to meet up with friends, join a club, or even volunteer. If you have a pet, equally take breaks and interact with them.
Mind your stress levels
Lastly, you need to curb out stress from your life. It is a proven enemy of our memories. The reason is it damages brain cells and the hippocampus as well. When it affects this region, you’re unable to retrieve old memories and make new ones.
Some studies show the link between memory loss and stress. You, therefore, ought to find healthy ways to deal with stress if you want to improve your memory
Our minds are something we hold dear, and it only makes sense to take good care of it.