How to Improve Memory Power: 8 Tips for Fending Off Forgetfulness

If you find yourself forgetting things on a regular basis, take action. Here's how to increase memory power.

how to improve memory

An obvious tip for keeping your memory sharp: Use reminder tools, from a desk calendar to a phone app that records important dates and times.

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Although Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are not yet entirely preventable, you can learn to boost your ability to organize information, cement it in your mind, and recall it more easily. The following tips on how to improve memory are among the most accessible steps you can take to strengthen your ability to remember.

The eight simple approaches below should help you learn how to increase memory power by making information easier to retain and recall.

1. Make an effort

To remember something, you have to put in some work. Get motivated to remember by considering how the information will be useful to you. For example, memorizing the names of your medications will enable you to discuss them more easily with your doctor at appointments.

2. Concentrate

Focus on one memory task at a time. You’ll have an easier time fixing the information in your mind.

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3. Get organized

When trying to boost memory power, a lot of people start by getting organized. Always keep your keys, purse, wallet, and other important, frequently used belongings in the same place—like a receptacle on the kitchen counter. Use a calendar, smartphone app, or other device to keep track of appointments and other important dates. Buy an automated medication dispenser to help you remember when to take your pills.

how to improve memory

Simple approaches to concentration, organization, and even money management can help you increase memory power.

4. Use mnemonic strategies and other memory techniques

Organize information into rhymes, acronyms, musical ditties, or other forms that are easier for your brain to encode and recall.

5. Manage your memory

Break the information you want to remember into small pieces so that you don’t overload your memory. And take breaks during the process of remembering to give your brain a rest.

6. Associate

Connect new bits of information with things you already know. For example, if you meet someone new who is named Sandra, associate her with the image of a sandy beach to help you remember her name the next time you meet.

7. Make sure you understand the information you’re trying to remember

If you’re trying to teach yourself Photoshop, learn the reason for each step in the photo manipulation process. You’ll be more likely to remember how to do something if you know the reason for it.

8. Use cues

Put your empty medicine bottle by the door to remind yourself to refill your prescription. Paste a “sticky note” on the refrigerator to help you remember to buy milk. Use clocks with timers to remind you to turn off the oven.

For further reading on memory issues and memory improvement, please see the following University Health News posts:

See also the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ page on Alzheimer’s disease.


Originally published in April 2016 and updated.

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