Memory is an important tool of our body. It helps us retain information, recall past events, learn from past experiences, and make informed decisions. It shapes our understanding and allows us to perceive the world. Memory has various roles in our lives roles including
- Problem-solving and decision-making processes
- Academic and professional success
- Adapting to new situations
- Navigate our daily lives
- Forms the basis of our personal identity and allows us to recognize ourselves and others
- Supports creativity
However, many people struggle at remembering important events or tasks, which impact their life. Here we will discuss various memory improvement techniques that can help you enhance your memory skills.
Memory Improvement Technique
Memory formation takes place in 3 different steps.
- Encoding: We get or access the information which is interpreted by our brain.
- Storage: The interpreted information is stored in the format that can be stored in our memory. This memory can either be long-term memory or short-term memory.
- Retrieval: Retrieval is when we make our brain search for the memory that is already stored
Start to organize all the tasks. You can use any system whether it’s your diary or laptop, and write down all the tasks in your calendar that are needed to be performed. This will not only help you remember but also prioritize the important work.
A lot of people also break down the complex task into chunks. This helps them remember important information related to anyone or anything. E.g if you want to start a business, then make a list of following
- How much budget do you have
- From where you will buy economical ingredients
- Organizing a separate space for your business startup
- Time duration needed to make your product or service
- How to sell the final products to the customers
Developing a Story
Many times, complex information is retained when it is linked with the story. You can create images in your mind and associate them with smells or sounds. This helps you to retain the information for a longer period of time.
The most interesting example can be learning a new vocabulary and linking its words with your native language that sounds the same. E.g if you are learning the Spanish word “casa” (house), imagine a big house made with cheese (“queso” in Spanish).
Many times students cram information that is never retained for a longer period of time. If the information that should be learned is difficult, then creating funny and interesting mnemonics can help you to achieve your goal. In mnemonic, you take each first character of every word and make a sentence. You can also create acronyms, acrostics, and rhymes to make your content easier to memorize
Here are interesting examples:
- Earth’s layers are Mantle, Earth’s Crust, Mantle, Inner Core, Outer Core, Nucleus
Menomonic: My Educated Mother Just Served Us Nachos
- The electromagnetic Spectrum also known as the order of waves are
Radio, Microwave, Infrared, Visible, Ultraviolet, X-ray, Gamma
Menomonic: Raging Martians Invaded Venus Using X-ray Guns
As you can see, in both examples, it is easy to retain the information and these memorable phrases or sentences can be part of our long-term memory.
Talk to Yourself in Mirror to Increase Memory
If you need to give a presentation or want to participate in the debate. Jot down all important points on a piece of paper or flash cards and start rehearsing. Talking to yourself in the mirror can be beneficial because it helps you to build confidence and enables you to observe your body language. The dual action of talking and hearing yourself can help you store the information in your memory that will be easy to recall in future.
A lot of people use visual cues that can trigger memory recall. It is done by linking the visual image with the information that you want to save in your memory. E.g if you want to learn the navigation of a place on your map, link that area or place with the near food restaurant, gym, school or some important figure.
Psychological Damage of Memory
Many cells in our brain die if a person is stressed, anxious or depressed for a longer period of time. Brain cell death can be linked to loss of memory. If not controlled, can lead to irreversible damage. Children should be given help as soon as they show signs of psychological stress.
A poor diet can not only affect you physically but also mentally. Processed food e.g. fast food and consuming a lot of sugar for a longer time duration can affect the neuronal pathway. This leads to disruption of memory function and its retrieval.
A diet lack of essential nutrients and minerals can also impair brain function e.g. lack of vitamin B12, and vitamin D can impair memory function.
Our bodies were not designed for a sedentary lifestyle that’s why it is important for us to exercise. It increases the blood flow in the body and delivers the nutrients where it is needed including our brain. Exercise increases neuron formation in the hippocampus ( a region of the brain that is involved in memory function). Regular exercise has been linked to improved cognitive function, including memory, attention, and information processing speed.
Regular exercise has a positive impact on sleep, leading to a decrease in stress. When we sleep, we go through different stages of sleep, one is known as REM sleep. During this phase, the brain takes rest and strengthens the memory that was formed when you were awake. Your Hippocampal, also reactivates the neural pathway, allowing you to store more information for a long-term period.
How to Improve Memory According to Islam
We can follow all the above techniques to memorize any Islamic Topic including Quran, Hadith, and Quran’s translation. Islam emphasizes a good diet, healthy sleep, exercise and taking preventive measures to avoid depression. We will also discuss various hadith supporting a healthy lifestyle
Consuming Less Food to retain Memory
Miqdam bin Madikarib said:
“I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say: ‘A human being fills no worse vessel than his stomach. It is sufficient for a human being to eat a few mouthfuls to keep his spine straight. But if he must (fill it), then one third of food, one third for drink and one third for air.’”
[Sunan Ibn Majah 3349 ]
In one narration he (pbuh) said ‘’ The stomach is the tank of the body and the veins go down to it. When the stomach is healthy the veins come back in a healthy condition, but when it is in a bad condition they return diseased.’’
[Mishkat al-Masabih 4566]
Taking Care of Physical Health
Regarding health, Islam focuses on taking care of your physical health. Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) said to his companions to always ask for good health from Allah.
‘’O Allah, make me healthy in my body. O Allah, make me healthy in my hearing. O Allah, make me healthy in my sight.’’
[Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 701]
Sleep and Naps
In Islam, we are told to work during the day (except for a few hours) and sleep at night. Our Prophet (pbuh) and his companions used to take nap in the afternoon as well.
Hazrat Ayesha (peace be upon her) said ‘’ In my house he (Prophet (p.b.u.h) ) never passed the last hours of the night but sleeping.’’
Anas bin Malik narrated ‘’We used to offer the Jumua prayer early and then have an afternoon nap.’’
[Sahih al-Bukhari 905]
Taking a short duration of nap makes your mind fresh and ready to learn or perform various tasks.
Asking for Allah’s Help
We are dependent on Allah’s blessings and favour. All Prophets that came into this world to spread Allah’s message mentioned Allah’s name before starting any work. It creates barakah. This is the world of spirituality. Following Allah’s company can give spiritual health. Moreover, your spiritual health is connected with mental, physical, emotional and physiological health.
Learning to retain memory is a journey that needs patience, practice and self-discipline. By implementing these techniques into your daily life and also taking care of your emotional, mental and physical health, an individual can improve his memory recalling and memory retaining ability. Islam is the religion of knowledge and focuses on mentioning Allah’s name before starting or recalling any work or experience respectively.
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What is Sunnah food for memory?
Prophet (PBUH) used to consume various food e.g. limited meat, dates, honey, olives, figs, black seeds and etc. The research also shows that these food products affect your brain function.
What is Dua is good for memory?
اللهم إني أعوذ بك من العجز والكسل، والبخل والهرم، وعذاب القبر، اللهم آت نفسي تقواها، وزكها أنت خير من زكاها، أنت وليها ومولاها، اللهم إني أعوذ بك من علم لا ينفع ومن قلب لا يخشع، ومن نفس لا تشبع، ومن دعوة لا يستجاب لها
O Allah! I seek refuge in You from the inability (to do good), indolence, cowardice, miserliness, decrepitude and torment of the grave. O Allah! Grant me the sense of piety and purify my soul as You are the Best to purify it. You are its Guardian and its Protecting Friend. O Allah! I seek refuge in You from the knowledge which is not beneficial, and from a heart which does not fear (You), and from desire which is not satisfied, and from prayer which is not answered]
[Riyad as-Salihin 1479]
Which Surah helps to increase memory?
There is no authentic hadith that mentions any specific surah that can increase memory. However, there are certain duas in authentic hadiths that ask for beneficial knowledge.
How to increase brain power and memory in Islam?
Any person, who saves himself or herself from fitan of the world, takes a moral decision and asks for Allah’s help can get many barkah in his/ her life including psychological strength.