Why Can't I Memorize Easily? (Explained!) | Iris Reading
Why Can't I Memorize Easily

Why Can’t I Memorize Easily? (Explained!)

Why Can't I Memorize Easily

Many people struggle with memory problems. You might have noticed that your ability to retain information has decreased over the years.

Many lifestyle factors can affect your memory. Some of them are:

  • Age 
  • Motivation
  • Lifestyle
  • Lack of sleep
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Vitamin deficiencies.

This article will explain the different problems that can affect memory. We will also give you a few techniques that you can use to improve your memory.

Is faulty memory a common occurrence?

Faulty memory is a relatively common phenomenon. It is also known as memory errors or memory distortions. These errors occur because of disruption in the brain processes. This affects working memory and decreases our ability to recall information.

Several types of memory errors can occur, including:

  1. Transience: This occurs when a person can’t retain information over time due to the passage of time or lack of rehearsal.
  2. Absent-mindedness occurs when a person forgets information due to distractions or interruptions.
  3. Blocking occurs when a person cannot retrieve information from memory. The information is stored in their long-term memory, but they have trouble accessing it.
  4. Misattribution occurs when a person attributes a memory to the wrong source or time.
  5. Suggestibility: This occurs when a person’s memory is influenced by post-event information or leading questions.
  6. Bias occurs when prior knowledge, beliefs, or expectations influence a person’s memory.

It is important to note that memory is not perfect, and errors can occur in everyone. However, some people may be more susceptible to memory errors.

Despite these problems, if you want a better working memory, you can follow some basic principles. We will describe them later in the article. And they will help you with memorizing things faster.

Factors that affect your ability to memorize things?

Certain factors can affect our memory or cause us to forget things. Most people might experience them without even knowing them. So, let’s look at some things that can influence your memory.

Age

One of the most common phenotypes of aging is a decrease in cognitive prowess. That influences many different things related to the brain. This includes our ability to remember things.

You might already notice that older people tend to forget things more than younger people. That makes sense because our brain cells undergo cognitive decline with age.

Because our brain cells are decreasing with age, older people may be unable to recall things easily. It also affects the ability to acquire new knowledge quickly. This makes it harder to memorize things fast.

If you want to memorize valuable information at an older age, it’s best to use memory techniques. They will help you learn things faster. And it also makes it easy to recall them later.

Lifestyle

Lifestyle greatly influences our memory and overall health. A healthy lifestyle keeps our brain healthy and promotes a strong cognitive memory. Conversely, an unhealthy lifestyle can lead to poor memory. It will also decrease our ability to memorize faster.

An unhealthy lifestyle includes many different aspects. It includes eating, sleeping, physical exercise, and mental/emotional stress patterns.

To remember things fast, you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Here are a few things you should do to live a healthy life:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain a balanced diet
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Build a strong support network
  • Keep learning new things

An unhealthy lifestyle promotes inflammatory stress. Many different things can induce this. 

For instance, an unhealthy diet promotes inflammation in our bodies. Similarly, not exercising regularly also creates a pro-inflammatory state in our bodies. This allows inflammatory stress to develop more easily. 

Inflammatory stress can damage our brain. In turn, a damaged brain doesn’t have a great short-term memory. This makes it harder to remember things. 

Un unhealthy lifestyle also affects certain molecules in our body called Sirtuins. Sirtuins (SIRT) are enzymes that are involved in aging. Unhealthy lifestyles inhibit their function, which promotes aging-related problems.

Memory loss is related to aging. Hence, an unhealthy lifestyle can cause memory loss due to inhibited SIRT activity. 

Therefore, if you want to learn a new skill fast, you should maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

Motivation

If we are not interested in something, it’s harder for us to memorize it. This is especially true for things like coursework. You may be forced to use a rote learning style. But since you are interested in the material, you will find it challenging to recall later. 

It should be no surprise that if we are not interested, we would have to work extra hard to recall things. 

If you want to learn something you aren’t interested in, try using some memory techniques. They can help you memorize faster. 

You can also try the visual learning style. Some people are not auditory learners. They can’t learn things fast enough if they listen to them, for instance, during a lecture. 

Visual learners tend to remember pictures more easily. Therefore, try associating the information you are learning with an image. Recalling that image will trigger the information automatically. 

This can help you learn things faster if you are among the visual learners.

Motivation can also get diminished by a lack of productivity. You won’t feel motivated to learn new things or rehearse old information if you are not productive. 

If you are struggling with feeling productive, check out this great course on personal productivity

Lack of sleep

Sleepiness has a significant negative impact on cognitive function. This includes thought processes, concentration, memory, and learning.

Research has shown that the nerve connections that make our memories are strengthened during sleep. Scientists believe that sleeping helps to embed things into short-term memory. 

Different sleep phases help in consolidating new information into memories. If your sleep is disrupted, it affects these cycles. 

When you’re sleepy, you forget and misplace things more often than usual. Scientists have found that sleep deprivation leads to reduced alertness and concentration. The inability to focus and concentrate because of sleepiness further weakens memory. Because if you can’t focus on the thing you want to memorize, you won’t be able to recall it later. 

Focusing and paying attention are more difficult, so you need clarification. This interferes with your ability to perform tasks that require logical reasoning or complex thought. 

Sleepiness also impairs judgment. Making decisions is more difficult because you need to assess situations better and pick the right behavior.

In children, sleepiness can lead to hyperactivity, which also hampers learning. Teens may need more focus, diligence, and memory capacity to perform well in school. They may also need help paying attention and absorbing information during lectures and classroom discussions.

Overall, sleepiness can cause a range of cognitive and behavioral problems. They can negatively impact our ability to memorize things. They can also affect productivity, memory, and learning. 

Stress and anxiety

Stress and anxiety have a significant impact on memory function. Stress activates the body’s “fight or flight” response. This releases hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. They can affect the brain’s ability to process and store information. This affects our ability to learn and memorize things. 

Stress and anxiety can impair the ability to hold onto new information and process it. When we are under stress, our brain focuses on survival and problem-solving. 

This reduces the capacity of the brain’s working memory. This can make it difficult to focus. As a result, we need to pay attention, and retaining new information becomes difficult.

Stress can disrupt the process of consolidation. This is the process by which memories are transferred from short-term to long-term storage. 

It can also affect the hippocampus, which is responsible for long-term memory formation. This results in difficulty in forming and recalling memories.

Stress and anxiety can also affect the ability to retrieve memories. Stress can interfere with the process of recall. This makes it more difficult to access stored memories. 

It can also cause a phenomenon called state-dependent memory. This means that memories are more likely to be retrieved when an individual is in a similar emotional state as when the memory was formed.

Stress and anxiety can also affect the ability to recall traumatic or emotionally charged memories. Studies have found that people who have experienced traumatic events have a higher risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Intrusive memories, nightmares, and flashbacks characterize PTSD. 

High levels of stress and anxiety can also lead to emotional avoidance. People may suppress or avoid thinking about traumatic or emotionally charged events. This can further affect the ability to recall these memories.

Overall, stress and anxiety can have a significant impact on memory. It affects our ability to form, store and retrieve memories. 

It can affect both short-term and long-term memory, and specifically, affect the ability to recall traumatic or emotionally charged memories. 

Managing stress and anxiety to maintain cognitive functioning and overall well-being is important. If you are struggling with stress management, you should try mindfulness techniques. 

Meditation can help us feel more grounded. This relaxes our brains and allows us to dampen our anxieties. It’s easy to practice and doesn’t require expensive equipment. 

You can learn to manage your stress with a little mindfulness daily. 

Thyroid problems/Hormonal imbalances

Thyroid problems can affect memory due to the role of thyroid hormones in brain function. Hormonal imbalances, such as those caused by menopause or aging, can also affect memory. 

The thyroid gland is a tiny, butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck. It produces certain hormones that are involved in the regulation of metabolism and energy levels. This regulation is vital for the normal functioning of many organs in the body, including the brain. 

Thyroid hormones play an important role in brain development and function. When the thyroid gland is not producing enough hormones, it can lead to hypothyroidism.

When hypothyroidism occurs, the body’s metabolism slows down. This can cause a wide range of symptoms. These symptoms include impairment of cognitive function and memory. Concentrating on the tasks at hand becomes difficult, which, in turn, causes confusion. As a result, most people suffering from hypothyroidism become forgetful. 

Another hormone that can affect memory is estrogen. It is present in both men and women. And it plays a role in maintaining healthy brain function and cognitive abilities. 

As estrogen levels decrease, it can lead to memory loss and difficulty concentrating. 

Additionally, imbalances in other hormones can also affect memory and cognitive function. This includes hormones like cortisol and testosterone.

Vitamin deficiencies

Vitamin deficiencies can lead to memory problems in several ways. Vitamin B1, B12, D, B9 and folate are essential for the growth, development, and good functioning of the brain. Deficiency in any of these vitamins can lead to memory problems. 

A deficiency in vitamin B1 (thiamine) can cause a condition called Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. It is characterized by memory loss and confusion. This is because vitamin B1 is essential for the proper functioning of the brain and nervous system.

A deficiency in vitamin B12 can also cause memory problems. Vitamin B12 is essential for the production of a substance called myelin. Myelin protects nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord. 

Therefore, lacking B12 means that enough myelin can’t be produced. Hence, the function of the brain and the entire nervous system is impaired. This results in memory problems. 

A deficiency in vitamin D can also contribute to memory problems and other cognitive issues. This includes depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia. Vitamin D is important for the growth and development of the brain. 

A deficiency in this vitamin can cause a loss of nerve cells in the hippocampus, a key area of the brain involved in memory.

A deficiency in folate or vitamin B9 can also lead to memory problems. Folate is important for the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin. These neurotransmitters are essential for regulating mood and cognitive function.

Overall, it is important to maintain a balanced diet. This diet should include a variety of fruits and vegetables to get enough of these essential vitamins. 

How to memorize something fast?

If you want to memorize knowledge faster, try first to solve the problems listed above. 

However, if you don’t have any of those problems, you can try some memory techniques. With the right strategies, you can memorize faster if you want to remember new things that you learn. 

Use proper reading techniques

If you need help recalling information after reading, you might not be a great reader. Therefore, if you often need to recall things you read somewhere, you need to practice speed reading. This will help you become a better reader. 

A great place to start is to learn the different reading techniques. For example, you can skim through. As the name suggests, you skim through the text to understand its context. After that, you read it carefully. 

This helps you associate the information with the context and understand it better. When you understand something better, you can retain information easily. 

You can also read in smaller chunks to help you understand the text better. The first step is to identify the start and the end of the paragraph you are reading. Reading just the first and the last sentence can help you get a brief idea of the contents of the paragraph. 

Now, carefully go through that paragraph and ensure you understood it correctly. Once you have done that, you move to the next paragraph. 

In the second paragraph, you must recall the things you learned from the first. While doing that, try to create a link between the two paragraphs to understand how they are connected. This will help you understand the text better and memorize it faster.

These methods are easy to practice and can help you improve your reading. But if you aren’t a fast reader, this will further slow you down. Hence, if you need to improve your reading speed, you can check out some great online resources on speed reading

Speed reading will help you compensate for the time you lose while trying to memorize the text. 

Write everything down

Writing something creates “images” of the written piece in our brains. This allows us to recall the image and not each thing. Therefore, when reviewing information, we only need to remember one unit of information, not multiple little ones.

Every person is different and has their learning style. Writing things down can help visual learners. Auditory learners can also benefit from it, but it might not be as effective. 

For instance, if you try to memorize a grocery list, it won’t be easy. However, if you write it down as you recall it, it becomes easier to memorize. 

In the example of the shopping list above, when you try to recall it, you will only recall the picture of the list. Not every item there is on it. 

Memory athletes often use writing as a great technique to help them memorize things. 

Use spaced repetition

Spaced repetition is a learning technique that involves reviewing information at increasingly longer intervals of time. 

The main idea is that if a lot of time goes by without rehearsing things that we have learned, we won’t be able to retain information. Therefore, we reinforce memory by rehearsing the information we have learned repeatedly. 

Flashcards are a great example of spaced repetition. They typically include a question or prompt and the answer on the other. You can use tools like Anki to create your flashcards. You can set custom intervals for when you want to review the flashcards. 

Takeaway: Memorize faster by optimizing your learning style

Overall, memory problems are common and affect many people. They have different reasons, including medical problems, aging, and lifestyle choices.

If you are looking to improve your memory, you should learn memory techniques. A great place to start is this course on maximizing memory.

It will help you recall information better and learn new things faster!

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Comments

  • Alona Sulman
    Reply

    Fantastic and most informative study