Memory is often mentioned as a general term. However “memory” as we know it is more complex. There’s no other way to think about it. For those who do not know about the different elements of memory yet, its our goal is to help begin educating you on the process of memory (which is complex).
EDL is providing the following information for educational purposes only. First we will cover the elements of memory and how memory works. Second EDL will provide some activities that can help memory. Finally we will wrap up the discussion on memory by prioritizing memory activities. Again any ideas mentioned are only our recommendations.
Generally, memory can be broken down into three categories. The first category is sensory memory. This category is made up of environmental stimuli. The stimuli around a person can impact their memory. Second is short term memory. This category consists of retrieving information presented to the individual. The third stage is long term memory. This category involves encoding and retrieving information. Most of the time this is done through repetition. To recap, the basic memory categories are sensory memory, short term memory, and long term memory.
However memory can be broken down into even more steps. For instance, attention can be added between sensory memory and short term memory. Attention links the two categories together so that a task can be encoded. If a person fails to devote their attention to a particular task proper encoding cannot occur and recalling the scenario for a later task fails. Furthermore once a memory fails to be encoded, the next step in the process cannot be started and your memory fails
Again, memory should always be addressed as a process and considered in stages. So if you want to improve memory, it is our suggestion that you work on each step in the memory process. Do not focus on one aspect alone like repetition.
Memory involves multiple steps. As we age some of these step fail and we forget things. Yet the memory process can get better if the right steps are taken.
EDL recommends the following to improve memory:
Work out (helps with overall memory – circulation, blood flow, and triggers)
Work on puzzles (attention)
Go to new areas (new stimuli)
Write or talk through thoughts or ideas (helps with short term memory)
Do word searches (attention)
*The previously mentioned list is not exclusive (there are other ways to improve memory too)
In our opinion the best thing to do to improve memory is workout. Many studies have been conducted that demonstrate how effective working out is for memory (Bherer, Erickson, and Liu-Ambrose, 2013). We think working out positively impacts memory because more blood flow occurs in the brain. Blood flow enables more neurons to be activated or triggered. In turn this increases the chances of remembering and completing the memory process. The next thing we would recommend is working on attention so tasks can be properly encoded properly. After that we would recommend writing or talking through ideas. Again these are not the only items. Other activities can be done to improve memory. With time and practice memory can improve.
*These ideas are only recommendations and are mentioned to help start the process of improving memory.
* Bherer, L., Erickson, K. I., & Lui-Ambrose, T. (2013). A review of the effects of physical activity and exercise on cognitive and brain functions in older adults. Journal of Aging Research, 2013, 1-9.