An unknown author said “Memories were a welcome reprieve from the worries of my day” and in so many cases they are just that. If memories are a reprieve, how can we improve our memory and save the things we want to remember?
Those are the questions we’re going to answer and provide solutions for today.
If you’re ready to kick your memory making into high gear we’ve got:
I love that I ended up with seven ways to improve your memory and remember things.
Wanna know why?
In 1956 a Harvard researcher determined that 7 pieces of information is the exact amount we’re able to retain in our short-term memory. Seven is also a significant number in Scripture as we see God rest on the 7th day – love how God knew ahead of time.
Love love coincidences like this.
Now let’s get your memory ready to remember all the awesome things God does from this day forward.
7 Easy Ways to Improve your Memory Muscles
1. Make time for friends.
Spending time in relationship with others is one of the best ways to stimulate your brain and improve your memory making abilities.
A Harvard study found that people with active social lives have slower rates of memory loss.
If you’re struggling to establish friendships, start by volunteering or joining a club where you can interact with others. Already got established relationships? Make a point of scheduling regular weekly friend time.
2. Laugh through your day.
Turns out laughter really is the best medicine. It not only helps you feel better but also engages multiple areas of your brain vital for creativity and learning.
Questions is, how are you supposed to laugh when nothing funny ever happens?
Here’s some ideas:
- purposefully laugh at your mistakes,
- listen for laughter and move towards it (people like to reshare funny stuff),
- spend time with friends who make you laugh,
- surround yourself with funny things (jokes, comic strips, screensavers, etc.).
Here’s a link to Christian jokes and one so you can start laughing and improving your memory.
3. Feed your brain.
This might be one of the most important memory improving steps you can take. It’s so important many recent best selling books have been written on the subject. Flip through this slide deck for the 6 Ways to Feed Your Brain.
4. Practice mindfulness.
Christian mindfulness involves slowing down and paying attention to the what’s and why’s. It’s about being purposeful with what you choose to do, and not do, and mindfully focusing your attention on things God says improve your life and health.
Take time to meditate on God. Working memory is where we hold things temporarily. If we decide they’re useful we’ll later commit them to long-term memory (hello sleep).
Problem is, your working memory typically has a max capacity of 7 items. If you’re not using it very well, it won’t be able to hold those 7 items.
Meditation strengthens your working memory allowing you to later move things into long-term memory.
Reduce stress. Modern day stress is your enemy. Period.
It negatively impacts all aspects of your health and robs you of your memory making abilities. Over time, stress destroys brain cells and damages the part of your brain that forms and retrieves memories.
Looking for a good way to reduce stress?
Meditate on God.
5. Make activity your friend.
Exercise your brain. Once you’re an adult your brain has millions of neural pathways but doing the same ‘ol same ‘ol, doesn’t help your brain grow new pathways.
Memory is like your muscles – you either use it or lose it. No one wants a flabby memory bicep muscle, right?!
Just like your biceps require bicep curls to remain strong, your brain requires new mental exercises.
Memory improving brain exercises need to:
- be challenging,
- teach you something new,
- be a skill you can build on, and lastly,
- be rewarding.
Brain exercises to improve your memory include:
- learning to play a musical instrument,
- taking dance classes,
- learning a mentally stimulating game like chess, or
- learning a foreign language.
Move your body. Physical exercise increases the oxygen sent to your brain. This oxygen then helps you retain the memories you’ve already made.
Moving your body also reduces your risk for developing diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, that contribute to memory loss.
Your ability to form new neural learning connections is also enhanced by exercise. To get the most memory improvement you want to do aerobic exercise that gets your blood pumping and heart beating.
6. Enjoy the sun.
Vitamin D, our sun vitamin, is critical for all aspects of health, including memory.
Low vitamin D levels leads to loss of memory and cognitive abilities. If you live in an area that gets dark early, consider supplementing with vitamin D during the winter months.
Anytime the sun is out try to spend 10-15 minutes outside, with your arms and face exposed to the sun.
7. Get enough sleep.
Memory, creativity, problem solving, and critical thinking are all compromised if you’re not getting 7.5-9 hours of quality sleep each night.
The deepest stage of sleep is where memories are consolidated and enhanced.
The most important things you can do to ensure you’re getting memory improving sleep are:
- get on a regular sleep schedule and
- avoid all screens for a minimum of 1 hour before bed.
You can learn more about sleep here.
Consolidate Your Learning...
Now that you know how to improve your memory muscles, Sarah has a great memory boosting idea for you:
- call a friend or two (memory step #1),
- enjoy a healthy memory improving meal together (memory step #3),
- pray over your meal (memory step #4),
- make sure to laugh (memory step #2),
- go for a walk after your meal (memory steps #5-6), and
- finish the day with a good night’s sleep (memory step #7).
Once you’re done laughing with your friends, pick one of the 7 Fun Ways to Remember Things below to memorialize your memory making time together.
7 Fun Ways to Remember Things
1. Find a verse, sentence, doodle, or photo that encompasses what you want to remember about each day.
Your photo, sentence, or audio journal could include
- a verse God showed you,
- a promise He made to you,
- a way He provided, healed, restored…the sky’s the limit.
Just capture it in a way that fits who God created you to be and be sure to include your family. Capturing your entire families memories at the end of each day would be priceless.
Keeping audio journals is another way to remember the things Gods done.
- I’m going to start a journal using the notepad feature on my iphone and write a sentence every evening that conveys what I want to remember God doing.
You could also order a bunch of pocket sized mini notebooks, like this, to remember your day.
2. Record your memories using an app on your phone.
Day One is a journaling app Sarah recommends, that allows you to do everything in the above suggestion and more! It syncs with your calendar and other devices (including your Apple watch),
- sets reminders,
- can be shared with the whole family,
- works with Siri,
- reminds you of your memories, and wait for it…
- can be turned into a printable memory book.
This app includes my 1st and 5th “fun ways to remember things” in one little app. That’s a win in my book.
P.S. there is a version for all you diehard android users here.
3. Create a website to store your memories on. You could put the above daily reminder on the site or spend time each week memorializing what happened.
Best part about a website is you can invite the whole family to save memories on the site. Here’s a link so you can decide which free tool would work best for you.
4. Create memory jars. You pick the jar size and decide what you’re wanting to remember.
Let your creativity run wild with this idea. You could drop a little something in each week with a note attached to trigger the memory or turn the jars into collages, or art projects, that visually convey what you’re wanting to remember.
5. Bring photo books back to life. I’ll never forget going through photo albums as a kid and asking about everyone in the pictures.
Take your digitally stored photos and have them turned into photo albums at the end of each year. This would be a fun January 1st activity for the whole family to sit down, organize and label the photos, decide how you want them arranged, and the best part…recount all God did.
What a great way to teach your kids to remember, honor, and worship God.
6. Make a daily VLOG. You could do this in conjunction with the website idea or keep it on You Tube.
This would be a great fun family tradition and way to remember each day. After dinner, or before bed, the family could gather around and VLOG about what they were thankful for that day, what they want to remember, anything God did, or what they’re asking God to do.
The potential with this one gets me pretty excited.
7. Use social media to capture and display everything you want to remember.
The nice thing about social is you can share memories with others, making it a great discipleship tool. Post your memories plus the role God played, and friends and followers learn about you and God.
Be warned though…when you’re storing stuff on social media you’re at the sites mercy. If any of the social sites decide to change rules or shut down for good, your memories are gone (that’s why I prefer the above ideas).
God wants our memories working well throughout our entire life. He wants us recounting, and remembering, every single thing He brings us through, does and provides us.
These memories, when remembered and shared, become testimonies.
As Christians we’re instructed to “go and make disciples”.
How do we do this?
By being in relationship with others and sharing and remembering our testimonies.
- How can you use the 7 Easy Ways to Improve Your Memory and 7 Fun Ways to Remember Things to make disciples?
- Is there someone in your life – friends, family, coworkers, and strangers included – who’d be blessed or encouraged by something God’s done for you?
- Blessed by a memory you’ve made with God?
The benefits, value, and importance of improving your memory and remembering are priceless and life changing.
Until next time remember…
“The memory of the righteous will be a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot.” Proverbs 10:7
and remember to
“Give thanks to the One who remembered us in our low estate, His love endures forever.” Psalm 136:23