How to train memory and attention in adults: methods, programs and exercises for the brain

Most people do not pay attention to the gradual deterioration of memory. Usually, the manifestation of forgetfulness is attributed to fatigue, absent-mindedness or lack of rest. But the problem is that over time it will become increasingly difficult to remember basic things. Therefore, it is worth thinking about how to improve a person’s memory without allowing the situation to worsen.

The development of the ability to remember begins in infancy, when the child just begins to distinguish individual objects. But if you don’t continue to exercise at a more mature age, it becomes weaker and gradually begins to disappear.

Do you notice that you cannot remember the events of yesterday? Or maybe you just can’t keep the names of new acquaintances in your head? These are the first signs of memory deterioration. This means you need to start exercising without delay, using all possible methods of improving the functioning of the subconscious.

Memory development

Let's start with the fact that in any business it is important to set the right goal. Here we can highlight the following:

  • memory training to remember a couple of faces at an interview or 10-20 faces at a conference;
  • training to remember digital, visual and other information simultaneously;
  • training for the sake of general mental tone or preventing age-related changes;
  • training for participation in the world memory championship (and any cognitive competitions);
  • training for the sake of general development of consciousness.

“Chain” technique

This technique for memory training involves memorizing the necessary images in pairs. The visual dimensions of these images should be approximately the same in each pair. When a connection is formed between the first and second object, the first must be displaced from consciousness, transferring attention to the second. Then a relationship should be formed between the second and third image, and so on. When this sequence is remembered, three to five visual images appear in the mind simultaneously.

What is memory and memorization

Memorization is the process of storing new information in memory. Memory includes the process of memorization, reproduction, and repetition system. We remember absolutely everything without exception, but we can’t always reproduce this “everything”.

Background memorization involves remembering in a natural way. It requires neither strength nor conscious effort and is well stored to the extent to which we have trained this mechanism. Background memorization is trained by attempts to reconstruct what is happening in detail and in detail. To do this, recall the information you worked with as often as possible.

Try to remember what exactly was written in the emails. If you remember that the letter was structured, try to remember how many points there are and what they are about.

This way you will configure the brain’s perception filters to the fact that any information may be required for reproduction. And, accordingly, storage and access to this information will be organized at a higher level.

To train this type of memorization, we recommend keeping a diary and practicing the “Recapitulation” exercise. To do this, before going to bed, spend time not scrolling through your feed on social networks, but restoring your day in the smallest detail (for example, breakfast, making coffee, calling your parents, looking for your car keys). Don't skip elements of the day, even if you spend a lot of time at first. As soon as the process goes faster, complicate the task: remember the day in reverse.

Cramming is another method of memorization in which we develop neural connections through repeated repetition of material. Cramming is more effective than relying on background memorization. But cramming is a very boring activity and breeds negative emotions, so we do not recommend training this method in any form. Luckily, there are more interesting ways to practice memory.

Associative memorization is the conscious formation of associations or mnemonics. We recommend and practice this method with our students. Memorizing through associations is useful for memory development, trains the imagination and allows you to train quickly and interestingly. We will talk about this further.


The importance of motivation. The benefits of a good memory

Many people wonder how to train their memory. After all, every now and then this brain function fails, and, as a rule, at the wrong time. Either the birthday of a relative or friend is forgotten, or at the very last moment the fact that an important bill needs to be paid is forgotten.

To develop good memory abilities, it is important to motivate yourself regularly. After all, a person often starts doing some exercises to improve his memory, but after a while he abandons this process. This is not surprising, because adults have too many worries that draw the focus of his attention. There are people with phenomenal memory - and it is their example that can serve as good motivation for regular exercise.

They can remember a lot of information and reproduce it at high speed. As an innate gift, this is rare; much more often it is the result of hard training. For those who do not yet have such abilities, it is important not only to think about how to train their memory, but also about what it gives.

What advantages do those who have good memorization abilities have?

  • They study harder than others. By learning something unknown, they increase and deepen their already acquired knowledge.
  • They work more efficiently and operate with huge volumes of information; generate fresh ideas much faster than others.
  • They assimilate the acquired knowledge in full and have the opportunity to use it when needed.
  • They store information about meetings, events, and important events in their heads and can use it whenever they want.
  • They better remember the names and faces of the people they collaborate with (and such a skill will not be superfluous in any profession).
  • Don't panic during public speaking.

Features of human memory

  1. A person remembers better information that aroused emotions in him and painted a picture in his head.
    Why are works of fiction and funny stories easily remembered, but professional literature or text with many numbers is problematic? The pictures we present form reference neural connections. Once you read “Quiet Don”, you will perfectly remember what Aksinya looks like, because Sholokhov described the heroine in detail on more than one page! Has it ever happened that you accidentally stumbled upon a film, but you realize that you already watched it several years ago? Some moment is so memorable to you that the neural connections are still alive.
  2. The general property of our body was formulated by the Russian biologist P.F. Lesgaft: “What is not exercised disintegrates.” A skill that is not used or information that is not repeated is removed as unnecessary. To retain the necessary data, it needs to be repeated and the skill needs to be trained.
  3. To keep your memory sharp, you need to study all the time.
    The maximum decline in our intellectual abilities occurs in the period from 22 to 25 years (after graduation from university). At this time, we stop learning, and if we use the brain for 20 years only for familiar tasks and limited functionality (as often happens at work), then the previously developed neural connections are abolished. All this leads to sad statistics: according to a study by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the education of most people in Russia after 25 years of age almost disappears. We need to move away from this practice and learn something new. It is also useful to do familiar things with your left hand (if you are right-handed).


There is another secret that allows you to remember any information well. After memorizing, you need to repeat it without looking at the source - regardless of where the information was taken. In this case, the memorized material must be spoken out loud and then compared with the original source. If the image does not work, it is necessary to reconsider it and, if possible, correct it. For example, in one of the portraits of F. M. Dostoevsky, the great Russian writer is depicted with a pen in his hands. The author of this portrait is V. Perov. What to do if two words are connected, but the “hook” doesn’t help? With the next repetition, you can imagine the image of a feather of enormous size.

Types of memory

There are many classifications of memory. According to the method of memorization, they are distinguished: figurative (visual, auditory, olfactory), motor, emotional and logical. However, memory is most often divided into short-term, medium-term and long-term.

  • short-term is memory from a few seconds to three minutes;
  • medium-term - can be from several minutes until a person’s first sleep;
  • Long-term memory in psychology is considered to be memories that have survived a person’s sleep.

Long-term or long-term memory can also be different. We can remember some things the next day, and quote others all our lives, like “My uncle had the most honest rules.” Memorization algorithms for different periods may differ, so it is better to immediately understand how long it will take to obtain information.

If we choose more complex and effective ways of remembering, then the repetition system will be part of the retention mechanism. Repetition is not the mother of learning, but a vital part of retaining information in your head.


If intellectual puzzles and logical problems do not help, then a specialist should deal with it.


If there are serious problems with memory and the doctor has diagnosed this, he may suggest solving them with pills. There are a number of drugs that improve cerebral circulation and promote the development of thinking and memory. The most famous: Noopept, Nootropil, Glycine, Phenibut, Piracetam, Tenoten and other nootropics, adaptogens, antioxidants, antidepressants.

Sometimes they can prescribe individual vitamins that help improve and develop memory: C, D, E, almost the entire group B. They are also collected in multivitamin complexes designed specifically for the brain.

Adults can take a course of dietary supplements, but no one can guarantee their effectiveness. Although good drugs for the development of cognitive processes are produced by Doppelherz (Germany), Evalar (Russia), Solgar (USA).

Folk remedies

The same goes for folk remedies. They don't develop memory. But by activating cerebral circulation, normalizing blood pressure and improving overall well-being, they help adults begin to remember and reproduce much larger volumes of information faster and better (without errors ) . Infusions and decoctions of meadow clover flowers, motherwort leaves, wormwood, elecampane roots, red rowan bark, and rose hips have such properties.

However, you should be extremely careful with folk remedies, since in the presence of chronic diseases they can cause their exacerbation or side effects.

How to develop memory for an adult

It’s better to start with developing not memory, but imagination (they are closely related). I advise you to use simple exercises.

Exercise “Podium”: choose an object, look at it carefully and close your eyes. Mentally place this object on the podium and rotate it in different directions so that you can see it from different angles.

You can try to remember the object in all its details and detail, or even better, draw it. It is very important to see and transfer onto paper the lines that form the shape and outline. You don’t need to be able to draw; even if the drawings are unsightly, it will be an excellent workout for the brain.

Playing events at the end of the day

Let's look at how to train your memory using evening recall of events. To do this you need:

  • Recall as many people and objects that you encountered during the day as possible.
  • Remember all the words that were said by those around you from morning to evening. Of course, it is unlikely that you will be able to remember the entire volume of words spoken by other people. But it’s worth trying to remember as many of these dialogues as possible.
  • Recall a past meeting or training lecture in your memory. Remember how the speaker spoke, what gestures he used.

How to develop memory in a child

When working with a child, you need to take into account his age. Until the age of 12, all exercises should be done in a playful way. For example, you can play association selection: arrange a competition to see who can select the most different images and associations for one word. You can also play complex chains (for example, 20 words) at speed.

It is advisable that one of the parents demonstrate memorization techniques by his own example, explaining exactly how he remembered it (through what associations). Especially useful if objects are difficult to remember (for example, numbers). You need to create a figurative alphabet for the numbers (understand what you think each number from 0 to 9 looks like). For example:

  • 0 resembles a donut;
  • 1 - crane;
  • 2 - swan;
  • 3 - bow with a stretched string;
  • 4 - inverted chair;
  • 5 - seahorse;
  • 6 - lock;
  • 7 - braid;
  • 8 - snowman;
  • 9 - balloon.

By creating your own figurative alphabet, you can learn dates by making a chain and making up a story. For example, the date of the Battle of the Ice (1242) can be remembered like this: imagine a large crane with a swan sitting in the cabin. He hooks chairs and throws them down, where another swan catches them.

To differentiate between the two swans, you can wear different sweaters or caps on them. As you practice, you can lower the unit, because most dates start the same. The chain can be reduced to three elements. As a result, the child himself will begin to come up with associations and remember much faster.


Learn several foreign languages

It's nice to come to Italy and imposingly say “Buongiorno!” to a passing waiter. And then catch the admiring glances of those with whom you arrived. Is not it? But it has long been known that learning foreign languages ​​contributes to the development of good memory . And it's also very interesting! So why not take advantage of this?

These are effective memory training techniques. But there is something else interesting. Memory is inextricably linked with the correct and good functioning of the brain. This means that stimulating its work can improve memory:

  1. Regular exercise to increase brain activity and improve memory;
  2. No to gray everyday life! What is remembered well is what does not fit into the framework of everyday life. Try changing your surroundings, adding some bright colors, going to the store along a new route... You don’t have to radically change your life. Just add something new to your daily routine, and your brain will work with renewed vigor;
  3. Add new habits . For example, tidying up your desk in the morning is a great start to a productive day!
  4. Meditation and relaxation force the brain to switch and relax. This means that he will perform new tasks with double energy;
  5. Music has a magical effect on our brain. It has been proven that people who play music have better memory and analytical abilities;
  6. Teamwork. Brainstorms have proven their effectiveness more than once. And now scientists have proven that decisions made as a team were more accurate and faster. They attribute this to the fact that during communication, information is more easily perceived and assimilated. So solve problems together!
  7. The brain absorbs and sorts information while we sleep . So don't ignore this process.

Exercises for memory development

After you've worked on your imagination, it's time to move directly to memory. I suggest two effective exercises.


For example, you need to remember the word pillow, which in English is pillow [pilou]. Now choose a phonetically similar Russian word, for example, saw. Link two images (saw and pillow).

Imagine a huge white soft down pillow being cut by a saw. Of course, all the fluff flies through the air and everything around turns white. Keep this picture in your head and repeat out loud three times: pillow, pillow, pillow.

If the word is long, divide it into two small ones, for example, the word constellation can be represented as a horse and cart. The main condition is to create the most vivid connection between the images, which will not need to be remembered (the picture itself will appear in your head). Next, it is advisable to switch to material that will be relevant for your work as quickly as possible.


The second exercise is called “Chains”. It involves memorizing words using a vivid, made-up story. This way you can remember your shopping list.

For example: bread, oranges, sausage, washing powder, light bulb. Imagine a fresh half of bread that you took from the counter. You are about to put it in the basket when you notice that there is an orange peel sticking out of the bread pulp. You pull on it and pull out a whole orange. Now you cut it, and inside is not an orange, but a sausage, but not everything is all right with it either. From the white veins in the meat, washing powder begins to pour directly onto the floor. You look at a mountain of powder on the floor, and a light bulb is on inside. The funnier and more unusual your story is, the faster you will remember the elements of the chain.


This option is usually recommended for those people who have well-developed visual memory, but poor auditory memory. For example, while walking in the park, a friend gives you a phone number, but there is no way to record it on paper. In such a case, while a friend is dictating, you need to mentally imagine a telephone receiver in your home and, under his dictation, “dial” the number. Then you should imagine that he was busy and repeat the technique again, saying out loud the phone number to your friend. To reinforce it, you should repeat the number again. Constant practice of this exercise to train your memory will have a good effect on your memory.

Development of memory and attention

To have a developed memory, you need to work on attention. Many people sin on their memory and do not even suspect that it is their attention that is lacking. The fact is that these are two interrelated mental processes, because you cannot remember something without paying attention or pay attention but not remember.

Attention can be involuntary (to any sharp sound or unexpectedly appearing object. This is a mechanism that is inherent in a person from birth).

Voluntary attention is a more complex mechanism. It allows us to focus exactly on what we ourselves want. A person's voluntary attention can only be developed through training. Therefore, set aside time for concentration exercises.

  • “Find the differences” and all kinds of mazes are exercises not only for children. There are complex options that will interest and require high concentration from adults.
  • Schulte tables. A great exercise that you can do anywhere by simply downloading the app. Your task is to find all the numbers from 1 to 25 in order on a 5x5 field as quickly as possible. Once you have made progress, make the task more difficult by changing the settings: increase the field to 6x6 or 7x7, enable the numbers to be shuffled after each move, or make the field and numbers in the table colored.
  • Stroop test. Here you will not see questions and answer options, just a list of words written in different colors (for example, the word “red” is written in blue ink, and the word “green” is written in orange). The training is to quickly name the actual color of the word, not the written one. It’s easier for our brain to do the opposite: read the word and ignore the color.
  • The game "Fly" is not only an effective exercise, but also a fun competition for the whole family. You will need a 5x5 field. Choose a leader who will control the flight of an imaginary fly with commands (forward, backward, left and right). The fly flies out of the middle cage onto the field. The task of the others is to track the flight with their eyes and correctly name the final landing point of the fly.

Causes of memory impairment

Impaired functioning of one or another type of perception can be caused by unexpected factors. We don’t even suspect some of them as the cause of absent-mindedness. However, it's worth knowing what to watch out for.

  1. The influence of stress, prolonged nervous tension. In this case, the brain concentrates on the stimulus and cannot get out of the state of excessive activity.
  2. Alcohol negatively affects the body as a whole. A distorted perception of reality causes different parts of the brain to suffer.
  3. Smoking nicotine-containing cigarettes weakens concentration. As a result, absent-mindedness develops faster.
  4. Lack of sleep, vitamins, microelements. This does not give the gray matter enough resources to function fully.
  5. Hurry and bustle prevent us from concentrating. As a result, a person becomes absent-minded and forgetful. There is no need to constantly live at an increased pace so as not to develop forgetfulness.
  6. Injuries and some diseases lead to deterioration of perception. Such diseases include cardiovascular disorders and problems with the endocrine system.

Development of memory and thinking

Thinking is also one of the facets of human consciousness. Since our consciousness is integral, pumping up any of its manifestations will have a positive effect on training the entire consciousness and its other elements, including thinking. If you train memory and attention, then your thinking experiences positive transformations.

It’s like in sports: even if a person bench presses a barbell, his form will still be better than that of someone who does not play sports at all.

To develop thinking, you need to perform information visualization exercises, because these two aspects are inextricably linked. A person cannot understand information that he cannot visually represent. For example, if in the simplest arithmetic problem you replace objects with abstractions, then an adult will not always be able to understand what is being said.

Brain hygiene rules

Anyone who decides to take on the development of memory and attention certainly wants to achieve the best results. To train effectively, an athlete needs suitable conditions (ground, equipment). The same applies to the development of thinking - the brain needs certain conditions for fruitful work. Compliance with the following rules will ensure the maximum level of memorization.

  • Provide your brain with oxygen.

Every day, blood circulates in full through the brain 400 times and carries vital oxygen to its cells. In order for it to be enough for the intensive activity of our supercomputer, at least 24 hours a week should be spent in the fresh air. If it is not possible to go for walks, the room must be regularly ventilated.

  • Provide yourself with adequate sleep.

Perhaps Napoleon could sleep three hours a day, but today it is advisable for the average adult to allocate 7-8 hours every day to stay in the kingdom of Morpheus.

  • Do not smoke.

Tobacco does have a short-term effect on concentration. But the memory of smokers deteriorates over time, and this is a fact.

  • Avoid alcohol.

Ethyl alcohol first dilates blood vessels and then causes them to narrow, so the brain begins to suffer from a lack of oxygen. Everyone knows that in a state of intoxication, so-called memory lapses occur. But we’re not just talking about parties where beer or wine flows—a glass of wine with dinner significantly reduces memorization.

  • Beware of certain medications.

Temporary memory problems can be caused by sedatives based on diazepam, lorazepam, chlorazepam and others, as well as some painkillers, anti-inflammatory and allergy medications.


One of the techniques used to develop attention, memory and thinking is mnemonics (or mnemonics). Memorization in this technique occurs due to the orderly arrangement and linking of information to each other using associations.

For example, each letter of the alphabet is assigned a specific number. These numbers can then be used to make words, sentences, and even entire stories.

Numbers can also be associated with any other objects or phenomena. Memorizing information using mnemonics involves the use of consonant words, rhymes, and vivid associations.

Among the mnemonic techniques used to develop memory is the so-called “Roman room effect.” Objects that need to be remembered are mentally placed in a well-known room in certain places.

Speed ​​reading

The next technique used to improve memory is called speed reading. Having mastered this skill, you can assimilate information at least 3–4 times faster without deteriorating your understanding of the material. At the same time, all thought processes are significantly accelerated.

You can develop your speed reading abilities without leaving home. When developing the skills of this technique, it is important:

  • Avoid “regressions” —re-reading the text.
  • Train mindfulness . This will help you highlight the main thing among what is written, without fixing your gaze on text with little significance. At the same time, “Viewing” develops without careful focusing.
  • Get rid of the habit of pronouncing text to yourself , perceiving the words in it according to a visual typographic image. If you train your brain to perceive words and phrases with pictures, you can significantly increase your reading speed, while stimulating mental activity.
  • It is necessary to master techniques that increase the field of vision . For example, the Schulte table is an exercise in memory and attentiveness. Its meaning is to find symbols (numbers, letters) located in a grid as quickly as possible. It is better to use peripheral vision, without moving your gaze and without speaking information to yourself.
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