We probably all remember where we were when the Twin Towers fell in New York, no matter where we were in the world.
So many of our memories are defined by, or at least associated with, major life events. We can recall these things, and yet since becoming a dad, there are days I can’t quite remember what I had for breakfast!
There’s a reason for that.
Basically, when we’re excited or exposed to something new, our brains release a chemical called dopamine and transport it to the area of our brain responsible for memory formation. That little rush of dopamine helps us form a memory in that moment.
So, surprise! The key to improving your memory is… well, it’s surprise.
So how can you use this little tidbit to improve your own memory?
Try these tips for improving your recall when you want to remember important information:
Distract yourself. You might feel like you’re being super productive and focused by sticking to your work, but you’re less likely to recall it later.You’re not a bad person for taking a two-minute YouTube break, and for crying out loud, stop buying into the myth that multitasking = greater productivity.
Celebrate quick wins. Dopamine is released when you finish something, so have a list of mall tasks you can tackle to get some quick wins in throughout the day.
Take regular body breaks. Get a jump rope. Run up a flight of office stairs.Even if all you have time to do in get up and do 10 jumping jacks beside the desk, you’re giving yourself a little boost of endorphins and dopamine.(Bonus: it’ll make you more creative, too.)
Take the opportunity to try something new. It doesn’t have to mean learning a whole new skill. Maybe it’s a sensory surprise — run your hands over different materials, or go outside when it’s cold and come back in.Maybe (outside of a scent-free workplace) it means a warmer with different scented oils. The point is to create change in your workspace so it’s not always the same old, same old.
There you go — improving your memory doesn’t have to be boring and tedious. Surprise!