Training your memory is easier than you think

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We use our brains 24/7, even when we’re sleeping, but we don’t always put enough effort into training up our mental fitness. Just because we’re thinking all the time, it doesn’t mean that we’re actively improving our capacity to remember certain things. Think of it like physical exercise. Although walking everywhere may keep your body moving, it’s not as effective for losing weight and staying fit as running is. If you want to know how you can give your brain the training it deserves, keep on reading.

What is working memory

Working memory is important, because it helps us remember what to do when we’re doing it. Through it, we’re able to recall information that we’ve just learned, and keep it in our heads long enough for it to serve its purpose. For instance, if you’re playing a game of football and your coach tells you what tactics to play during a timeout, working memory will help you remember what they said. It’s a short-term process that is vital to completing a task, and there are many ways that you can keep it in excellent shape. Of course, some methods are far more effective than others.

The 30-minute strategy

A research study performed in Finland aimed to test the success of certain mental strategies on a range of participants. Those who volunteered for the study were split into three groups, with two of them both being given the same 30-minute working memory task. The difference between these two sets was that the first lot were told to use various strategies when performing the task, including image visualization and semantic devices. Mnemonics are a great example for this, with little things like short rhymes or sentences that use important initials effective for remembering things. These strategies helped the participants to break down the assignment into something more manageable, because they used them to create visual and auditory associations in their minds.

The second set of people weren’t given any such instruction and were just told to complete the task. However, some of them were already of these strategies and used them to complete their job. The third group were just a control and weren’t given any task to complete.

What were the results?

The researchers carried out evaluations before and after the experiment to test the working memory skills of their participants. When the data was compiled, they discovered that those in the first set displayed an improved performance in their working memory compared to the others, because of the strategies they’d used. However, there were several participants in the second group who also showed a notable development in the state of their working memory. These people were the ones who had still used strategies to aid them in their task, despite not being instructed to do so.

Although you might think that training your working memory requires lengthy exercises, or the need to expand your brain’s ability to store information, this study suggests otherwise. In half an hour, these participants were able to show mental improvement just by using some simple tricks that anyone can do.

It’s very easy to forget to work on memory training. Mental deterioration isn’t as simple to spot as physical weight gain, but thankfully it’s a lot easier to fix than losing a few pounds.

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