Four Strategies to Improve Memory

Danielle Angelini

Reduce Anxiety


When a person is anxious or nervous about something, the muscles of their body tend to tense up and contract, causing them to need more oxygen for cellular respiration. As a result, less oxygen is flowing to the brain, and the brain is unable to function at its fullest potential. With that being said, it is necessary to reduce anxiety for a maximum number of action potentials to be fired. Reducing stress also simply improves focus when worries are not preoccupying a person's life. Some ways to minimize anxiety and maximize oxygen intake include taking deep breaths, getting enough sleep, and meditating. These techniques also increase focus, but sleep specifically allows for consolidation to occur, an important stage to processing memories.



Repetition and the rehearsal of information enhances consolidation in which memories are moved for more permanent storage in the cortex. However, it is important to note that this strategy has little value when that person fails to focus on the material or activity that they are repeating. Some examples of repetition include written, oral, or physical repetition; written repetition can be used when studying for a spelling test by rewriting the words on a piece of paper; oral repetition can be used for auditory learners in which they can read aloud a word and a definition when studying for a test; physical repetition can be used when practicing a sport or a song on an instrument to enhance muscle memory.

Keep the Mind Active


Through keeping the mind active, connections between neurons are strengthened to allow for better brain function. In addition, this activity activates processes in the brain, maintains individual brain cells, and stimulates communication among these cells. For example, read, play chess, or do crossword puzzles daily to help develop the brain. To further enhance brain activity, incorporate as many senses as possible since more of the brain will be involved in retaining that memory. One example would be to read, write, and read aloud information for a test as this also ties into the repetition strategy.

Be Physically Active


Through physical activity, the rate of cellular respiration is increased, allowing for more blood to flow to the brain to aid in brain activity. In addition, exercise stimulates the release of growth factors, which are chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells, the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even the abundance and survival of new brain cells. Physical activity also connects to other strategies that improve memory such as reducing stress and improving the quality of sleep. Some activities to do include running, swimming, and dancing.