Do you have a hard time recalling the name of a new person you just met or finding your car keys? If you have difficulty remembering important things that happened recently, you may be suffering from short-term memory loss.
Short-term memory affects your daily life. You need a good memory to complete tasks, socialize, solve problems, etc. The good news is that you can improve your memory. In this guide, you’ll find effective tips to help you do that exactly.
Read on to learn the simple methods you can use to combat short-term memory loss.
What is Short-Term Memory Loss?
To understand short-term memory loss, we first need to understand short-term memory. It’s the ability to store limited information in your memory and recall it for a short period. Short-term memory loss impairs this ability and makes it difficult to remember recent experiences or learned information.
Examples of short-term memory loss include:
- Having a hard time remembering the contents of a book you just read
- Forgetting the name of a building you just visited
- Difficulty remembering details of an event you recently attended
- Forgetting what the movie you just watched is about
- Having trouble remembering the tasks you wanted to do
- Forgetting the items on your shopping list after you have written them down
- Difficulty remembering a number you just memorized
Stress, substance abuse, medications, neurological disorders, brain injuries, and normal aging can cause short-term memory. According to the National Institute on Aging, up to 40% of adults age 65 or older suffer from memory loss.
Memory Loss: 7 Simple Strategies to Improve Your Memory and Prevent Memory Loss
- Use Smell-Based Memory Training
Smell-based memory training or olfactory training is based on the theory that the sense of smell is associated with the hippocampus. Smell improves memory loss by strengthening the connection between the hippocampus and the olfactory bulb, a brain region that processes smell.
This technique uses rosemary, lavender, and other strong scents to improve memory by linking them to the information you need to remember.
- Get Adequate Sleep
Adequate sleep is essential for optimal body function. A good night’s rest strengthens your memory and allows you to remember things. It can help improve short-term memory by allowing you to store, organize and process new information. This makes it easier to recall it.
It also improves mood, attention span, and concentration, affecting memory. This can be helpful for younger adults with developing brains.
You can improve your sleep for better memory by keeping a consistent sleep time, developing a relaxing bedtime routine, improving your sleep environment, limiting contact with screens during bedtime, exercising regularly, managing stress, and avoiding disruptors like alcohol and caffeine.
- Keep Your Brain and Body Active
The human brain is complex, and many parts must work together to function well. If it’s not stimulated enough, it can become difficult to recall things. That’s why keeping your brain active is essential to reduce short-term memory loss.
There are many ways to keep your brain active. These activities help strengthen neural connections in the brain and improve memory.
- Reading newspapers, magazines, and books.
- Learning new skills or languages
- Solving puzzles such as Sudoku and crossword puzzles.
- Keeping a journal
- Playing logical games like chess
- Traveling to new places
- Interacting with other people
Regular exercise is associated with improving your memory and brain function. It promotes blood flow to the brain and provides it with the right nutrients and oxygen. This improves its ability to store and process information.
One study found that adults who do yoga regularly have better short-term memory than those who don’t. But you need to balance physical activity with rest so you don’t overdo it.
- Use Mnemonics
Mnemonics such as using acronyms, visualizing information, and making mental associations make it easier to recall new information. They help make information easier to remember and more meaningful. Acronyms take the first letter of each word in a list, combine it, and form an easy-to-remember word. For example, you can combine the five Great Lakes of Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior into one word: HOMES.
Another popular mnemonic that can help short-term memory is the loci method. In this method, you turn objects into mental images and associate them with a specific place. For example, if you want to remember your shopping list, you imagine each item in a familiar place or street.
- Improve Your Diet
A healthy diet can help your memory. Good foods like leafy greens, turmeric, avocado, nuts and seeds, berries, olive oil, eggs, and fish are rich in antioxidants and fatty acids that reduce inflammation and improve brain function, making it easier to remember things.
You need the proper supply of vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, fat, carbohydrates, and water for better brain function, overall health, and well-being. At the same time, you should avoid processed foods, unhealthy fats, and sugars that are bad for your health. These foods can impair brain performance and make it difficult to recall things.
- Stay organized
Another way to improve short-term memory is to stay organized. This helps reduce mental clutter, stress, and anxiety so you can focus and retain new information.
You can stay organized by:
- Prioritizing tasks: Working on high-priority tasks first reduces the mental clutter that affects memory function.
- Tracking events: Keeping track of important events, such as meetings and appointments, using a calendar can help you avoid forgetting commitments and keep you on schedule.
- Keeping a to-do list: Making a to-do list will keep you motivated and focused and help you remember your goals.
- Labeling items: Labeling items like bins, files, and folders is a great way to keep things organized and find things quickly.
- Keeping a journal: writing down your experiences, thoughts, and ideas will help you remember the information more easily.
- Taking regular breaks: It is healthy because it keeps your brain clear and prevents burnout and overwork, which is suitable for optimal brain function.
- Reduce Stress
High-stress levels affect your short-term memory because you have difficulty retaining and remembering new information. You can manage stress with various techniques such as exercise, meditation, yoga, healthy eating, self-organization, and getting enough sleep.
Stress increases the production of the stress hormone cortisol (glucocorticoid hormone), which affects the hippocampus, a brain region involved in memory function. Reducing stress through exercise, relaxation and mindfulness helps lower cortisol levels and improve memory.
Short-term memory can make your life miserable. Fortunately, you can improve your memory with adequate sleep, physical activity, an active brain, mnemonic techniques, improving diet, staying organized, and stress management. However, short-term memory loss can also signify an underlying condition. It is advisable to consult a doctor if nothing seems to work. With these valuable techniques for improving your memory in your hands, try them now and watch your memory improve.