Memory and the brains ability to process information

Memory is a hot topic these days and everyone is looking for
the next best essential oil or supplement to boost its power.
Health food stores make a killing each year off of everyday
people, just like you, who want to improve their memory but are
not sure exactly how to make that happen. They spend
needless amounts of money on a product that is, in most
cases, providing little more than a placebo effect. If you would
like to truly enhance the memory power of your mind, you have
all of the tools you need without adding any fake miracle pill to
your already busy regimen and budget. Three simple tools
include breaks, sleeping, and journaling… no, seriously. It really
is that easy.

Think about it. When a college students are pulling out another
one of their late-night study sessions, there is a lot of action
going on behind the scenes and hidden deep within the
unconscious mind. Those students will crank out hour after
hour of uninterrupted study time hoping to retain as much as
possible. Sadly, what would help that student out significantly
better than a marathon of study? It is actually, taking a break.
Believe it or not, psychologists agree that taking a true break
from the assignment can actually help the memories lock into
place. Here’s the catch: it has to be a real break from the task.
In order for those new memories to form, the brain has to
almost “rest” itself. Sadly, the brain is unable to hit that reset
button while still focusing on the task at hand.

In order to lock in
the memories, it is best to go do something you enjoy and
allows you to happily focus on something else.
This is where the fun part comes in. If you enjoy video games,
turn one on and play a round. If you enjoy exercise, get out the
yoga mat or lace up your running shoes. Better yet, call your
mom or a long long lost friend and tell them how much you
care. Anything to keep yourself from thinking about what you
want to remember. It seems counter-intuitive, but it gives your
brain the chance to save and reset before carrying on about the
day.

Another popular tool to help increase your memory power – is
sleep. Just like taking a break, going to sleep at just the right
time and getting a good night’s rest is the perfect boost to your
brain’s memory creating power. Sleep gives your brain the
optimum opportunity to create and store those memories you
have made. According to research, it is best to study in the
afternoon, practice or review what you learned a little later in
the evening, and then go to bed for the night. When you wake
up in the morning, your chances of recalling what it is you are
consciously trying to remember will be significantly improved.
(Vahdat, 2017)

What is actually happening to your memories during that sleep
cycle? Sparing the science lesson, you can say the memory is
stored, traced, and even evolved while you are catching that
beauty rest. During the first 2-3 hours of sleep, the memory
actually stays in the cortex and recycles or replays. The cortex
is the same place in the brain that the memory was actually
formed. Once you enter rapid eye movement or REM sleep, the
memory moves more deeply into the brain, in a region called
the putamen where it is locked and loaded for the rest of your
life.

Without getting the proper amount of sleep, your precious,
baby short-term memories never get the chance to grow and
develop into long-term adult nostalgic bliss. This is especially
important if you are trying to develop a new skill, up your game,
or study for an exam. Imagine staying up all night studying,
cramming as much knowledge into your brain as possible, but
remembering hardly any of it because you never went to
sleep… and feeling exhausted on top of it!

The last tip to hack your unconscious and boost your memory
power, is something you have no doubt heard to do before…
write it down. The college student cramming all night for the
next day’s exam might have done better by just writing solid,
well thought out notes. Why does writing notes or even
journaling about your day help increase your unconscious
ability to recall information? There are a few key factors at work
while you write, especially if you are writing by hand.
Experts agree that taking notes, especially handwriting notes is
one of the most significant ways to hack your unconscious into
increasing your memory. Not only does recalling the
information and summarizing it in your own words help give
your unconscious the boost, but the actual cognitive functions
that are required to do it.

You are coordinating your verbal skills
with your fine movement skills and forcing your brain to
sloooowww down while you transcribe from thoughts to paper.
(Bui, D. C., Myerson, J., & Hale, S. 2013) Your unconscious
mind has to step aside, while your conscious mind handles the
task.

Whether you are working to improve your memory for work,
school, or just for the experience of reminiscing in your old age
rewarding yourself with breaks, getting enough sleep, and
documenting your experience by hand are all easy ways to
completely hack your unconscious mind to improve your
memory. Instead of your unconscious mind deciding what is
important enough to keep, you can override the process and
force it to know what you want to be important