10 Ways to Improve Your Memory for Your Spanish Studies
Most people underestimate the impact their diet can have on their memory and overall brain function. When in fact, your ability to remember increases when you nurture your brain with a good diet. A healthy body is also better at fighting and managing stress, allowing you to think more clearly, so you could try snacking on some berries or nuts to help promote a healthy diet. Additionally, you could try including oily fish in your diet, or foods which contain slow-burning carbohydrates such as oatmeal, as they have both been found to play a key role in memory and concentration. It is also important to ensure an adequate water intake, so make sure you have a glass to hand when listening to your online course…
2. Reduce stress
Stressing out releases the stress hormone ‘cortisol’ which interferes with neurotransmitters, reducing our brains ability to function at its best, and therefore badly affecting our memory. Ever been in a stressful situation and can’t ‘think straight?” Exactly. This brings us nicely onto our next point which is one way of overcoming stress.
Studies have shown that regular meditation thickens the parts of the brain involved in attention and memory, and improves overall cognitive functioning. To meditate, try focusing on your own breathing and silence your mind in order to access your inner calm.
Exercise not only exercises the body, but the brain as well. The physical activity gets more oxygen to your brain, allowing you to improve your memory and mental performance. Check out this article from the New York Times which provides evidence for the idea that exercise jogs the memory.
5. Don’t stop learning
In addition to physical exercise, mental exercise can also aid your memory. That’s why learning to speak Spanish or learning to play an instrument, are excellent examples for challenging your brain and keeping your memory sharp. So when learning to speak Spanish, it is crucial you keep practicing and building on your new language. The brain needs constant rehearsal of new material to transfer it to long term memory. As we all know, ‘use it or lose it.’
6. Say words aloud
An easy way to improve your memory of the new words you’ve been learning: when you learn something new, simply say it aloud. Psychologists claim that this makes the word distinctive in your brain, allowing you to recall it easier. So if you’re struggling with remembering a few words of a Spanish sentence, say that part aloud.
When you are presented with a tough new Spanish word, it helps to use imagery and association with that new word. Basically, you can create a mental picture of the word, and your mind will remember the image, aiding your recall of the word. For example, when learning the Spanish word ‘Quiero’ meaning ‘I want,’ try imagining key + aero, and that these are things which you desire.
One book we particularly like, is Michael Gruneberg’s book ‘Spanish by Association‘ available from Amazon. It aids your Spanish learning by offering a unique ‘linkword’ approach, making it easier for you to learn hundreds of spanish words in just a few hours. The book description says: “Thoroughly researched and tested, this highly effective method teaches you vocabulary and grammar through association and memory. Hundreds of words are introduced with easy-to-remember word pictures in English that help you instantly memorize and recall the new Spanish words.”
8. Teach what you’ve learned
Another way to improve your memory is by teaching someone else what you’ve learned. By taking part in an online Spanish course, you can take each lesson in your own time, and when you’ve completed a lesson why not share your knowledge with a friend or family member. Alternatively, you can participate in the Spanish language forums available with Rocket Spanish, and create group discussions about what you have learned most recently.
9. Test yourself
Research has shown that regular testing of new material is effective in remembering what you have learned, especially in the long term. So ask someone to test you on your Spanish vocabulary and phrases, or test yourself through Rocket Spanish’s interactive online quizzes.
10. Look up the answers
When you stumble across a word that you just can’t remember, look it up. Researchers have found that struggling to remember a word or answer, also adversely affects the future recall of that word. This is because attempting to remember the word results in our brain remembering the ‘error state’ rather than the correct word. So don’t stress if you don’t remember something, just find out the answer.
We don’t expect you to be this good though…