We all have episodes where we go food shopping and forget to buy the one thing we came to buy. Or walk into a room and forget what we came to get. These memory issues can be worse when we are stressed, or distracted with other thoughts or worries.
In this blog, we have discussed the importance of lifestyle, diet, exercise, and good sleep as ways to help improve our memory in the long-term. Now, here are some simple techniques to try that might work for you as quick, short-term memory boosts. These all may might sound strange, but each has research to support that they can work.
Some of these techniques are theorized to work because they provide an unusual brain stimulation, which may give your brain a slight “reset”. They may temporarily increase blood flow to the brain, and/or lead to increased stimulation of vital areas of the brain, such as the hippocampus.
Chewing gum and memory
This is worth trying especially when you have a test to take. There have been multiple studies on this subject, showing a short-term memory boost after chewing gum, and lasting about 20 minutes. The best technique seems to be to start chewing gum at the beginning of the test, and then again near the end of the test. This seems to be better than chewing during the entire test. One large study showed a 25 to 50% short-term memory improvement. Another benefit of chewing (sugarless) gum is that it stimulates saliva production, which helps keep your teeth and gums healthier.
Move your eyes from side to side
This may sound even more unusual, but the theory is that this helps jolt your memory by helping activate the linkage between the left and right side of your brain. Some research has shown a 10% boost in memory tests in people who simply moved their eyes —looking from the extreme right to the extreme left, back and forth for 30 seconds.
Clench your fists
When you clench your right fist you stimulate the left side of your brain, and when you clench the left hand, you stimulate your right brain. The data suggests that if you want to improve remembering some fact, clench your right fist hard for 90 seconds before you try to memorize it. If you want to retrieve something from your memory, clench your left fist for 90 seconds. Note if you are left-handed, you should reverse the hands.
Study participants who watched a funny video that caused laughter had improved short-term memory scores. The researchers believed this was due to a drop in blood cortisol hormone levels with laughing. Cortisol increases when we are stressed, and stress works against your ability to remember. So laughing is one quick way to lower your stress, which might give your memory a little room to relax and perform better.
Try out some of these techniques next time you want to put something into your memory or retrieve something from your brain. They don’t cost anything, there are no side effects, and they might work for you. They all stimulate your brain, and that is all good!
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