5 Activities to Strengthen Your Memory and Help You Do Better on Your Firefighter Promotional Exam

Your brain is an organ that is capable of changing, so if you feel like you have a bad memory and are struggling with your firefighter promotional exam prep you can change that. You can train your brian and improve your memory over time. Here’s how. 

  1. Play Board Games

Playing board games is a great, fun, way to improve your brain health and even reduce stress. This is because, “Playing board games stimulate the areas of the brain that are responsible for memory formation…” So when you play board games you are exercising areas of your brain and building on cognitive skills such as “strategic thinking and problem solving.” So playing board games gets your brain working and thinking in ways it likely wouldn’t otherwise, improving your brain's cognitive health. Board games, including cards, and jigsaw puzzles, are an excellent study break and opportunity to spend time with friends and family. 

  1. Learn an Instrument

If you have ever wanted to learn to play an instrument, now just might be the time to start. Learning a new instrument has the potential to improve your short term memory. “Music training imposes a high working-memory load.” Which is equivalent to lifting heavy weights at the gym or doing high intensity workouts for your body. This heavy-load, “expands your working memory capacity and improves your ability to think.” Just playing an instrument will not do though, you have to actually learn it, learn the music, learn the notes and so on to get the correct mental activation to assist in your brain health. 

  1. Mix Up Your Routine

Mixing up your routine is a great, super easy way to improve your brain health. It can be as simple as driving a different way to work, walk a different route next time you exercise, or study in a new spot. Doing a normal task differently actually stimulates your brain’s hippocampus, which is responsible for the storage of long-term memories. So these little activations of the hippocampus during these simple routine changes are actually strengthening it. This activation can lead to your brain being able to retain more information, which is exactly what you need as you consume all of your firefighter promotional exam study material. 

  1. Viewing Art

Viewing art has a surprisingly positive impact on the health of your brain. The same way that going out into nature can help clear your mind, art can do the same thing. This is because, going to an art museum for example, reduces cortisol levels in your brain, and increases dopamine. Cortisol is a stress hormone while dopamine is a feel good chemical. Reducing stress has huge benefits on the health of your brian. Chronic stress actually shrinks the part of your brain that is responsible for learning and memory, the prefrontal cortex. So the more art you view the less stressed you are. Generally the results are pretty instant. For example if you go to a museum or art gallery, you will likely leave feeling less stress and more energized. 

  1. Playing Sports

Playing sports is a great way to exercise and improve brain health at the same time. People who play sports have been shown to have improved focus, and cognitive functioning. The increased focus comes from the athletes abilities to drown out all sorts of noises and commotion and focus on the game and that can directly translate outside of the sport as well into everyday life resulting in an increased ability to focus. The exercise portion of the sport is where the memory support comes into play. This is because people who exercise actually have larger portions of the brain that are responsible for memory and thinking. So, as stated above, just like the muscles in the body, exercise grows and improves the brain as well. Just be sure to avoid sports such as tackle football where concussions are way too common and a huge detriment to brain health. 

The Takeaway

Increasing your brain health can be incredibly beneficial as you study for your firefighter promotional exam but will also be beneficial to your overall health and well-being. So when you are planning study breaks and family activities, give some of these brain health boosters a try. You may not only increase your memory, but also your brain’s longevity.