Concentration and memory are the two vital factors that affect your day to day life. Increasing your concentration will also improve your memory power. The enhanced focus will help you observe the details that were left unnoticed or got overlooked before and thus, you will be able to remember them more clearly.
Our human body works on the motto “Use it or Lose it”
Which means our body optimizes itself in order to perform better at a specific task. It does it by losing the weight of those things that are left unused. So, if you want to preserve or improve your specific abilities as you age, whether physical or mental you can do it by just using that ability more often.
There is a word for this ability of brain which is:
Neuroplasticity – mind’s ability to alter the physical structure of the brain throughout an individual’s life. It means brain activity associated with a given function can be transferred to a different location. The proportion of grey matter can change and synapses may get strengthen or weaken over time.
Example: If one part of the brain ever gets damaged – let’s say the left hemisphere that controls speech, then the right hemisphere of the brain may “pick up” some of the language abilities that were lost.
There are enough methods to improve memory power concentration naturally, which are based upon fundamental facts and techniques and are explained below. But before that, a brief overview of their definitions will help you to understand them better.
What is Memory and Concentration in Psychology?
Memory is the ability to take in data or information (encoding), store it (storage), and recall (retrieval) it at a later time when needed. The problem can occur at any stage of the process.
Concentration is the ability to give something our undivided attention to the exclusion of other distractions. The problem occurs in concentration due to our priorities and health.
Ways To Improve Memory Retention And Concentration
The below methods also includes diet and exercises for both, body and mind. Because the mind and body are not separate, what affects one, affects the other. When you are not at your proper health, you would not be able to concentrate, remember and recall your memories.
Here are 6 ways to improve memory power and concentration:
- Proper Nutrition – As it is said that “The First Wealth is Health” you should intake proper nutrition so you don’t feel tired and sleepy. Even, its opposite hyperactivity causes a lack of concentration. So, you should eat an appropriate quantity and quality of food. Which in result, will help your mind and body to function, recover and develop, properly.
- Yoga & Exercises – Physical exercises and Yoga helps in maintaining the body and mind’s health by balancing the chemicals (hormones, neurotransmitters and etc.) in your body and thus prevents many small and big diseases.
- Games – Both physical and mental games improve your focus, reflexes and cognitive abilities but some do it better than others like chess, sudoku, and other brain games. Challenging your mind and body improves your abilities by making the desired neural pathways stronger than before.
- Sleep And Rest – Without getting required rest and sleep on time, nothing would get stored in your mind that you have learned. Your brain connects and organizes the learned information and stores it when you sleep. Also, without getting proper rest you cannot stay focused and therefore, you would not be able to understand and learn something properly.
- Social Interactions – Interacting with someone is a great exercise for the brain. It involves your speaking, listening, reasoning, creative and other cognitive abilities apart from your concentration on the topic with your short & long term memories. Have fun with your friends and family and every now and then when possible try to communicate your thoughts with strangers.
- Sense of Humour – Intelligence and sense of humor are interconnected, improve your sense of humor and it will help your cognitive abilities grow like connecting pieces of information to get or notice something new that was overlooked before. Plus a good sense of humor keeps you positive and happy in life and helps you avoid negative thinking and depression which affects your concentration and memory power.
Techniques To Improve Concentration And Memory Recall
Here are 4 techniques that help even professionals to improve memory power and concentration:
- Involve Your Senses – The more you involve your senses at a single work the more it connects that information with each other and thus it becomes easier to recall that information with a cue from any of the senses. For Example: While studying you can read the text along with writing it down. This involves your eye, ear, mouth, hand and thus helps you to stay focused on a task without being diverted by any other thing and also makes it easier to recall this information.
- Connect The Data – If you don’t find and connect the similarities and differences between the data that you are gaining, then it makes you confused and doubtful when you find these similarities and differences later in the information. For Example: Notice and find words or sentences that have similar pronunciation, spelling or meaning. If you overlooked these similarities and differences, it will trouble you later.
- Organize The Information – Messy information interferes with other pieces of information in your head and makes it harder to understand and recall. Even your mind organize the information that you had learned when you sleep and so you can make it more effective by organizing the information you learn. By revising it and taking notes etc.
- Mnemonics – Linking the information with image, sound, rhyme, sentences, and acronyms, etc. help just as you are involving more senses to a single task. It makes it easier to recall the information by connecting and organizing the pieces of information.
- Visual Image – Connect an image with the information (word or name) to make it easier to memorize and recall e.g.
- Acrostic (or Sentence) – Come up with the sentences in which the first letter of each word represents the initials of the information that you want to memorize e.g. the sentence “Friend Closed Broken Instrument” will help you to memorize the sequence of the elements “Florine, Chlorine, Bromine, Iodine” in the periodic table.
- Acronym – Make an abbreviation formed from the initial letters of the information and it will be pronounced as a word e.g. “VIBGYOR” to memorize the color and its sequences in the rainbow: Violet, Indigo, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, Red.
- Rhymes and Alliteration – A repeating pattern of sound or syllable and even jokes are a remarkable way to memorize dull and boring facts & figures e.g. you can easily remember the months of the year with only 30 days in them with the help of this rhyme “Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November”.
- Chunking – Break the lengthy information into small pieces to make it easily memorable e.g. breaking a 10-digit phone number into three sets of numbers: 156-843-9127 as opposed to 1568439127.
- Method of loci – Visualize or imagine placing or connecting each keyword from the information along a familiar route or building such as home, etc in a sequence.
Concentration And Memory Problems
What causes lack of concentration and forgetfulness? There are factors like health, priorities, interests, etc. that interferes with your desired goals. Plus, you cannot focus or stay focused if you are in discomfort or pain (disease whether physical or mental). Disease such as Alzheimer’s, ADHD, dementia, phobia affects your concentration and memory. So first, check your self for any kind of disease either small or big, physical or mental and cure it.
Manage your time by reconsidering your priorities and become clear about your goals and you will see how much easier it will become to concentrate at your desired task whether it is your studies or work.