Health & Medical Alzheimer's Disease

Ways to Improve Memory Retention

    Stages

    • There are three different stages of memory, and if the proper procedures are followed during each stage you'll find memory retention much easier. The first stage is acquistion, where you actually learn the information or have an experience. In order to increase your memory in the acquisition phase, it helps to focus on the information immediately.

      The second stage is consolidation. It is during this stage that the information is stored in your long-term memory. The more you concentrate on the information, the easier it is to remember. Retention is also improved if the memory is associated with an emotional response, or another established memory in the brain.

      Retrieval is when your brain actually must recall the stored information. The more often the memory is thought of or used, the easier it is to retrieve. It also helps if the information is recalled in the same environment or format it was stored.

    General Guidelines

    • There are basic tips to follow in order to help you remember things better. First of all, pay attention. You must really learn something to store it in your brain. Also, identify your learning style, and then process the information accordingly. For example, use visual aids if you are more of a visual learner. It also helps to relate information with other information you already know, and to organize information well by writing dates in calendars or categorizing your notes later.

      If you are dealing with very complex material, try to learn the basic ideas or principles first and then relate the intricate details after. Always over learn information. And finally, repeat what you've learned frequently and review it often.

    Mnemonic Devices

    • Association device for vocabulary memorization

      Mnemonic devices (pronounced "nemonic") are clues that help us remember something through association. A common mnemonic device is the use of images to remember something. For example, you may associate a female with the name "Lily" with a mental image of the flower. The more vivid the images are in your mind, the easier they are to remember. You can also use an acronym as a mnemonic device. A common example is remembering the name, "Roy G. Biv" for the colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet." Some people make sentences out of the first letter of the words they need to remember. For instance, the notes of the trouble clef: E, G, B, D, F can be made into the sentence: Every Good Boy Does Fine. Other helpful mnemonic devices include jokes, rhymes, and information chunking.

    Nutrition

    • Proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle play a major role in memory retention. Exercising regularly, getting plenty of sleep, managing stress and avoiding cigarettes are extremely important ways to improve memory retention. Also, it is helpful to eat a diet that is full of B vitamins, antioxidants such as C and E vitamins and beta carotene, and Omega-3 fatty acids. All of these things contribute to better memory retention.

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