How to Improve Working Memory: Brain Training Exercises and Other Strategies
There’s no denying it: Your memory plays a crucial role in your daily life.
More specifically, your working memory is a type of cognitive function that allows you to hold and manipulate important information in your mind while completing a task—from remembering a phone number to finishing a complex project at work. Pretty crucial to your day-to-day functioning, right?
If you’re interested to learn how your memory works and how you can improve your working memory, read on to learn a few strategies that’ll help keep your brain sharp.
The Science of Working Memory: Definition and Function
Chances are, you’ve heard of short-term memory (which you can learn more about here). Working memory and short-term memory are often used interchangeably, but there are a few distinct factors that make them each a little different. So let’s dive into the science behind working memory specifically.
Working memory is a fundamental executive function that enables you to temporarily hold and manipulate important information in your mind while performing various tasks. This ability is essential for everyday life, allowing you to remember someone’s address, follow directions, or successfully collaborate with others.
And one of the most effective strategies for improving your working memory is brain training exercises, which are designed to improve your working memory capacity and your overall memory retention, focus, and concentration. We’ll get into the benefits next.
The Benefits of Brain Training Games for Working Memory: Improving Cognitive Function
Research has shown that brain training can have a positive impact on working memory and executive function. For example, a study found that people who play brain training games have enhanced cognitive function compared to those in a control group.
Brain training exercises have gained popularity as a means of improving cognitive function and working memory. And these exercises can take various forms, such as the dual n-back task, memory matrix games, and brain training games.
4 Other Ways to Improving Working Memory
In addition to brain training exercises, there are other strategies that can also contribute to better cognitive function and improve working memory, too.
1. Healthy Habits
Eating a balanced diet that includes brain-healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids can also support healthy brain function. Not to mention, getting enough sleep is crucial for memory consolidation and overall brain health. (These are things we're constantly teaching kids, but we don't always take the same advice for ourselves.)
2. Mental Math Exercises
Practicing mental math and solving math problems can also help improve short-term memory and working memory, as well as develop problem-solving skills. Similarly, card games that require players to remember the order of cards can help improve memory retention and executive function.
3. Simplifying Tasks
In addition to lifestyle factors, breaking down projects into smaller, more manageable steps can help you complete one small task at a time, which can reduce overwhelm and improve focus on individual parts of the overall project.
4. Repetition, Visualization, and Association
Repeating information multiple times can help consolidate it in working memory, while visualizing concepts or creating mental images can enhance retention and recall once information transitions into one of your long-term memories. Additionally, associating new information with existing knowledge or creating meaningful connections between concepts can also improve working memory capacity.
These strategies can lead to significant improvements in cognitive function and working memory capacity, and all it takes is a little consistency and persistence. Which one will you try first?
Improved Working Memory in Daily Life
Improved working memory can have numerous practical applications in daily life, including academic, professional, and even everyday settings.
Improvements in Professional Settings
With improved working memory skills, you’re better able to keep track of multiple tasks and deadlines. You’re also able to learn new skills more quickly and effectively, leading to greater personal and professional growth and development over time.
Improvements in Academic Settings
With improved working memory skills, you can better study for exams, learn new skills, and complete complex projects.
Improvements in Everyday Settings
With improved working memory skills, you can better retain important information and complete tasks with greater efficiency. This can lead to increased confidence and self-esteem as you begin to feel more capable of handling challenging situations.
By incorporating the other strategies we mentioned above, you can leverage your improved working memory skills to achieve your goals more efficiently and effectively.
Start Improving Your Working Memory Today
Now that you know more about working memory, as well as the role it plays in your daily life, you can take the first steps toward improving it. Whether it’s through a brain training mobile app, mental math activities, card games, regular exercise, adequate sleep, or all of the above, you’ll be on your way to enhancing your cognitive function in no time.
So if you’re ready to start improving your working memory, download the Elevate app on iOS or Android and discover 40+ brain training games (including several specifically dedicated to improving memory skills), personalized training programs, and expert guidance to help you optimize your cognitive function and improve your overall performance in daily life.
- Learn the differences between working memory and short-term memory and tips for improving them.
- Do you ever struggle to remember a name or date you should know? That’s called a memory block. Read on to learn how to overcome them.
- Mnemonics can boost memory and enrich vocabulary. Learn how to apply them in your everyday life.