Before you start fretting about the sheer amount of academic content to memorise for school, know that your mind can be primed to tackle new information and to absorb information more easily than ever. Optimise your learning at school by integrating the following activities into your weekly routine!
1. Work out
Working out doesn’t just bring you visible physical benefits. It also helps you improve learning and memory. Not only are you bound to feel more energised and ready to combat life’s stresses after a weightlifting or cardio session, but you will also improve your spatial memory. And because humans have incredible memory for space, thinking spatially is a great method to retain and recall information.
If you ever feel muddled – and we all have those days – go out for a 15-minute brisk walk. Research has proven that “clearing your head” via a short period of exercise gives rise to immediate benefits such as improving your memory and cognitive processing (the ability to think clearly).
2. Engage in brain-boosting activity
By adulthood, your brain has developed reliable pathways to help you process information efficiently. But in order for your brain to keep growing, it needs to be challenged. In order to develop new brain pathways, challenge your mind by engaging in not only intellectually challenging but also new and unfamiliar activities. For example, learn a new language, pick up an instrument, or master a new skateboard trick.
3. Get enough sleep
Possibly the most welcomed suggestion on this list for the many sleep-deprived students out there: Sleep more. Sleep will help boost memory retention. Compromising on sleep will, in fact, affect your creativity, problem-solving, and memory retention abilities.
If you are reading this while lying in bed, here’s a tip: put aside all your electronics at least half an hour before bed. Studies have shown that the blue light emitted by tablets and phones causes you to be more wakeful, causing you to take a longer time to fall asleep and consequently eating into your sleeping hours.
For the busiest of us, time taken out of a hectic schedule to sit and do “nothing” may seem like an unwelcome idea. However, research has shown that just 10-20 minutes a day of mindfulness meditation can be valuable to overall cognitive functioning. It helps to increase attention span, sharpen focus, and improve memory.
5. Eat a brain-boosting diet
Fuel your brain well for it to function optimally. Eat omega-3-fatty acids, as they help control the brain’s learning and memory centres. Fish is rich in omega-3s, especially salmon, herring, and mackerel. Not a fan of fish? Have walnuts, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, spinach, and soybeans.
Here’s a reason to hop on the matcha green tea bandwagon: drinking green tea boosts retention skills and helps your brain age slower, slowing the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Fruits and vegetables are good for you, and here’s another reason why. They are packed with antioxidants, substances that prevent brain cells from damage.
You probably will no longer need to know what elements make up the periodic table or how to dissect a frog long after you leave school, but a good memorisation ability is a skill that will benefit you for years to come. You will need a good working memory to go about completing everyday tasks, from making a mental log of grocery items, to recalling what work your boss assigned you that week. Surely, your memory will serve you all the way to adulthood and more. So try these strategies and keep it sharp!