Remember Things Better

One of the best ways to remember things better is to improve your concentration. When you’re more focused on the things you want to remember, you’ll remember things better quite easily. This is because your brain more easily forms connections for new information when you’re deeply engaged while trying to commit that information to memory.

It’s really easier than you think to lose concentration when you’re trying to remember things, as your brain can easily become distracted. Even when you think you’re paying close attention, you could simply be letting new information wash over you, rather than really engaging with it. Learning to boost your attention can help you remember things better, and it’s not hard to increase your attention. Here are just a few ways I’ve found to boost my attention span when I need to remember things better:

Chew peppermint gum: Studies have shown that chewing gum actually increases blood flow to the brain, but chewing peppermint gum, I think, is even more helpful. That’s because peppermint can help calm you down, and when you’re calm, you’re less likely to be distracted by worries, emotions, or outside thoughts. If I’m studying for a test, I’ll often chew peppermint gum, and I can actually remember things better when the actual test comes if I chew gum or suck on peppermint candy, which keeps my brain calmer and more engaged with the test material.

Breathe deeply: One thing that’s important for good blood flow to the brain is taking deep breaths. Deep breaths give your body a better oxygen supply, which means you’re getting more oxygen-rich blood to your brain. Breathing deeply into your abdomen, instead of shallowly into your chest like most people do, also helps you increase your brain’s theta waves, which are linked with attention, creativity, and memory building. Learning to breathe more deeply on a regular basis can help you remember things better.

Do small exercises: If you find that your attention is flagging during a lecture or study session, try moving around. Even during a lecture, you can fidget with your legs or hands quietly. Even small movements can increase your heart rate and blood flow a little, which can get your brain focused on the lecture again. If you’re in for a long studying session, one of the best things you can do to remember things better and increase your brain function is to take a break every hour or so to stretch and walk around for about ten minutes.

One thing I like to do is to save my household chores for times like these. Then, I’ll take one break to quickly clean the bathroom, fold a load of laundry, make the bed, or sweep the floor. That way, I’m killing two birds with one stone: I’m helping myself remember things better by increasing concentration and I’m getting my house clean!

Stay hydrated: Your attention span is one of the first things to go when you’re dehydrated, so if you want to remember things better, one of the primary things to do is to simply stay hydrated. It’s not hard to do. I like to keep a water bottle by my side most of the day and to take sips from it throughout the day. Taking small sips is actually more effective than gulping down an entire glass of water because when you gulp, much of the water will flush straight through your system without being absorbed into the body.

However, if you find during the day that your attention is really starting to flag, grab a bottle of water. Gulp down about half of it, and then work on sipping the rest periodically.