“Memories are like stones, time and distance erode them like acid” – Ugo Betti
Remember when we were kids and recalling things was like super easy. Whether it was numerical values, long lists of groceries, encyclopedia or geography, important facts & figures, learning up new languages or just a scenario that we have read in a book, everything used to imprint in our minds so well as if it has always been there.
But as the years passed and we became adults, it suddenly dawned upon us that remembering things can get really tricky. Even though we are getting more wiser than we were before, our memory recall unit feels like it’s getting a bit rusty. At times, we fail to remember quite the simplest of things and have to rattle our brains a lot just to wait for it to click.
Is it because we are living in a world where changes are taking place quite rapidly than expected? Is it because all the technology around us is growing at an everlasting pace shortening our attention span to that of a goldfish? Or is it because we have involved our selves too much in the corporate world?
One way or the other, it is important to understand that if we want to best ourselves, we need to effectively organize, process and recall information with precision, accuracy, and speed.
Today, we will discuss how you can do that and much more to sharpen up your memory.
Do you know that you too can train your brain to be excellent at remembering and recalling things in time? Are you eager to learn all the necessary aspects involved in polishing up your mind? Let’s begin.
Ask These Important Questions First
The only way to begin your journey towards self-improvement of the mind is to understand how your outstanding memory works. To learn that, you will have to ask yourself a series of questions:
- What do I see and how do I see it?
- What insights does your process of thinking give you?
- What efforts do you make to keep them in your mind?
- How does the information process, organize and gets recalled?
Based on these four questions, every individual has a different mental strategy which allows them to effectively process and organize information. It’s these strategies which differs a normal human mind from those who are known as the great thinkers. Are you interested to learn about these strategies?
Invest in Your Focus & Concentration
We don’t usually realize but we often sabotage the memory process by not paying much of an attention to what’s happening around us. Unconsciously, we often result in creating unimportant tasks more important and leave behind other important details which were actually important to remember.
When was the last time you fully paid attention to someone talking? Or read an article with absolute concentration? Or listened to a podcast or a lecture without worrying that you will forget it all in the next few minutes? Forgetfulness, it can happen with any of us and can happen with many of us.
But, don’t worry! It’s something that can easily be fixed. All you have to do is pay attention to it.
Easier said than done right?
Okay, start out with focusing the big picture rather than focusing on the minute details. Stop with the micro-tinkering and go all out big, identify the purpose of the whole conversation and the knowledge it delivers. Taking a look at the big picture will allow you to create a mind map and improve observation.
Here’s a great trick to help you out.
Pick the world map and watch it for like 30 seconds. Make sure you pick the map which has each country color-coded. Now put away the map, close your eyes and try to recall each country. You will be amazed at how colors can help you remember which country is geographically located where.
Now, open your eyes and take a look at the map, see how many countries you imagined correctly.
You can repeat this process with anything, take for instance a room or a park or a museum.
Just pick out a place where you can exercise your mind, a place that you are not quite familiar with.
Custom Tailor Information to Fit Your Learning Style
The mind absorbs information using three different learning styles.
- The visual – It absorbs information based on your observation and seeing the visuals of things
- The auditory – It absorbs information based on what your ears listen and how they address it
- The kinesthetic – It absorbs information based on sensory information the body picks
Consciously or subconsciously, your mind may favor one style over the other. That’s just how our personality is built that if we fail to understand things from the visual point of view we may shift our learning curve to another point of view such as auditory or kinesthetic point of view.
One way or the other, shift your focus from fine-tuning the mind on a particular method of learning, diversify your approach and adapt the learning method in a way that it complements your memory.
Learn the Art of Elaborative Rehearsal
One of the best ways to polish up your memory is to master the art of recalling information. Most practical thinkers, especially academic professionals often leverage the power of elaborative rehearsal. This method is quite effective to create a trail of long-term memory and is a great and effective encoding technique.
Are you wondering how elaborative rehearsal works?
It is an encoding method which allows users to deeply learn information. This method allows you to connect dots between the new information you’ve just learned with the previous information you’ve already learned before. When a person learns a key term or definition which is relative to his previous observation or studies, that piece of information is stored in his mind temporarily. To make it permanent, he repeats the process a number of times fully understanding what the term means. And then, he simply adds that piece of information to the long chain of his knowledge so he doesn’t forget.
In this way, recalling becomes significantly easier and sharpens up your memory as a whole.
Good thinkers often utilize elaborative rehearsal by organizing the information, coming up with examples, creating a mental image and finding a way to sum it up and remember the information.
Some make use of the mnemonic devices to lock that information in mind. This memory technique is great in remembering stuff. Remember the flashcards we once made to memorize vocabulary back in the days? It’s pretty much the same thing depending on the device you find worthy to remember info.
Exercise on a Regular Basis to Upgrade Mental Capacity
Do you work out? How often do you workout? Where do you work out? All of these questions are important to be addressed if you want to enhance your mental capacity. Greater the mental capacity, greater will be your mind’s capability to store information and recall information whenever you want.
A recent study among middle-aged women in the United States showing early signs of memory loss saw a significant improvement in memory when they regularly performed aerobic exercises. It was found that aerobic exercises increase the size of the hippocampus, a part of the brain which involves memory storage. By improving hippocampus, a user can also observe improvement in verbal memory and learning scores. Moreover, this study had some amazing impact on the minds of these women.
According to a 2018 guideline from the American Academy of Neurology, exercising on a regular basis helps with improving memory problems mildly. It has proven effective for individuals suffering from disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and all the other types of mental disorders including dementia.
Take 30-minutes off from your daily lives and dedicate it to exercising. You can go for a jog, do some squats, do splits, push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, and do whatever you feel is necessary to get the blood running.
Let Your Imaginations and Senses Take Charge
Do you know that imaginations play an important role in creating the foundation of strong memory and recall? Whether you are listening to a speaker in a symposium, watching a movie at the theatre or reading a new piece of information on the Internet, it creates some form of images in the back of your mind. These images and visual element, though it may sound funny, create the bulk of imaginations.
In simple terms, imagination is a projector which is running a reel of video at the back of your mind and helps you visualize deeply in a unique way. It feeds chunks of information based on previous observations and assists your mind to create closely related images of the tasks you wish to perform.
So here’s the thing, let your imaginations take a delve so you it can help you memorize accurately.
With the right imaginations, recalling stuff at any point in future wouldn’t take much of your time.
Practice Listening to Others With a Strong Intent
What happens when you fail to listen to instructions correctly? You start making mistakes and blunders which eventually lead to massive failures in your career. If you’re at the office and you fail to listen to your boss instructions correctly, you can result in losing your job. If you’re at school and you fail to listen to your teacher, you can fail in your class. And if you’re at home, and you fail to listen to your spouse, you’re more likely sleeping on the couch so if you want to be safe, listen carefully.
When individuals aren’t attentive in listening to what others have to say to them, it is quite normal that they find that piece of information being shared as unimportant. And things which are not so important, it’s a common human attitude that he or she readily forgets what’s communicated to them.
When you don’t pick up on information, then how can you expect to recall that information in the future. Effective listening builds the foundation of auditory memory and helps you deeply concentrate.
Good listening not only saves your butt in difficult times, but it also sharpens up your memory to avoid embarrassment and failures. Good memory ultimately allows you to recall information right away
Keep Your Mind Free of All Worries
If your mind is fresh, it will immensely contribute to increasing your memory and recall functions.
When was the last time you tried giving real thought to something when you were subjected to stress? Let me guess, that sort of never happened because a mind subjected to stress can’t think straight. If you want to think straight, you need to have a peaceful and sound mind; and the only way of creating a sound mind is to take significant rest at regular intervals. A mind that makes less noise creates an optimum performance and if you want to achieve that state, the best way is to meditate.
Do you have a game that you like to play on your smartphone/laptop? Take small breaks and play.