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Wellbeing Life Hacks

Life Hack #85: Magic Number for Memory

Have you ever wondered why it’s easier to remember a phone number with seven digits rather than ten? Have you experienced the struggle of trying to juggle multiple pieces of information in your mind at once? As it turns out, the average adult can remember seven bits of information at a time, give or take two. This is called the Magic Number of Memory. Knowing this number can be helpful for our wellbeing if our forgetfulness has ever frustrated us! When we understand how our brain works, we can use strategies to better serve us. For example, different kinds of memory tips and tricks, called mnemonics, can be really useful! You might create a silly mental picture of items you want to remember or use a catchy acronym or song. You could also use a strategy called chunking, where you group information into smaller, meaningful chunks and then memorize the chunks. Our phone numbers work this way with the dashes in between groups of numbers to create chunks. It also helps a lot if you can tie new information to what you already know, context matters.  Give these strategies a try when you are working to learn new information and remember to honor the magic number – your brain will thank you for it!

Additional Resources

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