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Natural Ways to Keep Your Brain Active for Memory

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Natural Ways to Keep Your Brain Active for Memory

You've had an idea. That's a fantastic idea. That is a brilliant idea. A potentially game-changing business or life idea. But by the time you get a chance to write it down, you've forgotten all about it.

Even if something you can't remember for more than a few hours is unlikely to be that important, we've all had things we wanted to remember but couldn't.

And this is a problem because, when it comes to success, what you know and what you do with that knowledge can make all the difference.

So, what should you do if you need to remember something critical? Most memory-improvement techniques, such as mnemonics, chunking, and creating memory palaces, require some effort.

I know it sounds strange. However, according to a 2011 study published in the Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, simply asking yourself whether you will remember something improves your chances of remembering by up to 50%.

This is especially true when it comes to remembering things you want to do, such as prospective memories. Prospective memories entail recalling a planned action or recalling a planned intention at some point in the future.


For example, remembering to commend an employee, sending an email to a customer, or implementing a schedule change.

It's not entirely clear why this works. Perhaps predicting is similar to testing yourself; studies show that quizzing yourself is an extremely effective way to speed up the learning process. What is clear is that the act aids your hippocampus in the formation and indexing of episodic memories for later access.

So, if you want to remember something in the future, take a second to predict whether you will remember it.

According to science, simply acting makes it more likely that you will.

We've all seen people who repeat what they're learning aloud. Or simply mouth the words. They appear strange: smart people simply file knowledge away. They are not required to converse with themselves.

Smart people, in fact, talk to themselves.

According to a 2010 study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, saying words out loud—or simply mouthing them—makes them more distinct. It separates them from the rest of the words you're thinking. It distinguishes them.

All of this adds to their recollection.

Go ahead and do it. Say it out loud when you need to remember something. Or just say it to yourself.

Your cerebral cortex will be grateful.

Memory consolidation is the process of converting fleeting memories into more stable, long-term memories. Even though the process of memory consolidation can be accelerated, it still takes time to store a memory in a permanent manner.

Rehearsing whatever you want to remember for 40 seconds is one way to improve your odds. A 2015 study published in the Journal of Neuroscience discovered that a brief period of rehearsal—such as mentally replaying an event, going over what someone said in a meeting, or mentally mapping out a series of steps—increases the likelihood that you will remember what you rehearsed significantly.

According to the researchers, a brief period of rehearsal has a huge effect on our ability to remember complex, lifelike events over one to two weeks. This rehearsal effect has also been linked to processing in a specific part of the brain—the posterior cingulate.


Which should be enough time for you to do something with whatever you're hoping to remember.

Because ideas aren't really ideas unless they're put into action.

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