Remember These! 5 More Tips from the Science of Memory

by Scott Crabtree

Why did I walk into this room?” If you find yourself asking that question, you’re not alone! And it doesn’t necessarily mean your memory is starting to decline. The science of memory can help us teach, learn, and remember better. Which is good, because the world is changing fast right now — and rapid change requires rapid learning.

I previously shared 5 Tips from the Science of Learning. I hope you’ll use those tips — and these new ones — to help you remember even better.

1. Eat Right


The world of neuroscience has discovered something truly remarkable: your brain is in your body! But bad dad jokes aside, how you treat your body is how you treat your brain. Science has found that foods that are high in antioxidants and fruit flavonoids — such as apples and berries — are especially good for your brain and memory. So eat plenty of fruits, and you may boost your memory and your mood at the same time!

2. CTFO! I Mean, Relax…

Sample card from our Choose Happiness @ Work card game & facilitation tool

It’s hard to learn when you’re under a lot of stress. So if you’re very stressed out, try to relax before starting to learn something new. Exercise, meditate, talk with a friend — whatever is going to help you relax so you’re ready to learn. Just keep in mind that you need to care in order to learn. So while you don’t want to be excessively stressed, you also don’t want to be so relaxed that you’re apathetic.

3. Look Left & Right

Believe it or not, moving your eyes back and forth, left and right, can help you remember something. Why? Because sometimes your brain is searching for information in the left hemisphere, for example, but the memory you’re looking for is in your brain’s right hemisphere (or vice-versa). Looking left tends to activate the right hemisphere of your brain, and gazing right activates the left hemisphere. Moving your eyes back and forth activates both hemispheres, and seems to better connect the two. So search in your whole brain, not just half of it, by looking left and right for that missing memory.

4. Beware Doorways

“Why did I walk into this room? I can’t remember!” There’s a literal answer to this dilemma: Science has shown that there’s a real “doorway effect.”

Essentially, memories are attached to locations. For most of human history, our knowledge was very location-specific. You needed to remember where the dangerous bear was when you were near his den, but not when you were elsewhere. A doorway signals to your brain that you’re switching locations, and what you needed to know in the first location probably won’t be needed in the second location. Studies have found this effect even in virtual environments such as video games.

So if you want to remember something as you go through a doorway, actively work on it. Think to yourself something like, “Going to the supply closet to get more staples” as you walk toward the doorway and into the supply closet.

5. Repeat to Learn. Repeat to Learn.

If you want to remember something, learn it repeatedly. Science is clear that repetition aids learning.

If you want to remember something, learn it repeatedly. Science is clear that repetition aids learning.

Yes, I intentionally repeated that final tip!

Practice makes progress

Human memory is far from perfect. But practicing these tips can help you keep up with a rapidly changing world…and remember why you walked into that room!

You might even try creating a “memory palace” to store all of these facts about memory. That’s exactly what I do when I present my session: Remember This! The Science of Learning and Memory. It’s been Happy Brain Science’s highest rated session throughout the years.

If you’d like to learn more about bringing our workshop/keynote on the science of memory (or one of our other engaging topics) to your company or conference, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you!

What other strategies have you found helpful for remembering what you’ve learned? Feel free to share your favorite tools & hacks in the comments!

Scott Crabtree

As the Founder and Chief Happiness Officer at Happy Brain Science, Scott Crabtree empowers individuals and organizations to apply findings from cutting-edge neuroscience and psychology to boost productivity and happiness at work.

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