Want better memory? Walk through less doors, watch more sitcoms

Sitcoms and Memory

I personally think I have a decent memory, even though I definitely smoked a shit ton of weed at the end of high school. (Sue me, I’m human.) But I also think having a better memory is pretty clutch in the grand scheme of things — if you can remember ideas about people and their lives, that underscores real connectivity. In turn, that helps you with everything related to the building of relationships and networking. (There is nothing people love more than thinking their life resonated with someone else. Not to get too deep, but isn’t that why we’re on the planet?) There about a million and 19 games and ideas and concepts and OMG HERE’S A SEMINAR OR A YOUTUBE to help you increase your memory, and most of it can get pretty deep in the weeds. Here’s a new article on Fast Company culling together a bunch of studies, and it makes two interesting points.

1. Walk through less doors: Based on this study from Notre Dame. Broadly makes sense if you think about it: the general idea on memories, scientifically, is that they have a short shelf-life and can be easily “purged” from your brain. A doorway is a literal representation of “one area/idea segueing to the next,” and your brain kind of flips a switch on the environment. Interesting thing to think about off of that: ever leave something in a room, go to another room, then return to the original room and you can remember where the thing was? That’s basically what this experiment is proving. The context of where you are and how you experienced something means a lot.

2. Watch more sitcoms: This is from Loma Linda University and was initially a designed to help memory in elder care. Basically, watch a funny show. Laughing increases endorphins (good for memory), whereas stress (from your everyday life or watching a dramatic show) increases cortisol, which is bad. (Although might be helpful for mental illness ideas.)

There are other things mentioned in that main Fast Company article, but they’re a bit more basic: stuff like closing your eyes, writing stuff down instead of typing it (the introduction of the laptop in college lecture halls basically gutted the education process at some level, although no one ever talks about that), and chewing gum (OK, maybe the last one is a bit more unorthodox).

You can combine the above ideas with ideas on how to be more influential and how to get people to listen to you — and then you’ll really be a well-rounded individual, right?

Ted Bauer

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