I know I came in here for something… (heard in basements around the world)
Memory 2. ideas and exercises to strengthen your memory.
The most important aspect of retaining a good memory is to PAY ATTENTION. Most of us are multitasking (a relatively new term in our fast paced culture) and paying less attention to any one thing – ergo we forget what our main purpose was. Research states that your brain can totally focus on one stimulus at a time. What appears to be multitasking is really is a rapid alteration of focus (we are talking nanoseconds). If one stimulus is routine, you can focus more on another – you can be driving and listening to a book on tape, but not singing and studying for a test. Do one primary task at a time for greatest concentration of brain energy and memory retention.
I’m providing a tried and true list of suggestions to strengthen your memory – I call them memory extenders. Try them to see which one(s) work best for you:
- Create lists – and use them (it is not cheating – it’s extending).
- Use “post it notes” arguably the greatest memory extender since sliced bread.
- Chunk Items – your brain can best remember items in chunks of 7 (+ or -2 ) – break items to be remembered into smaller chunks. (right now – say your Social Security number or phone number out loud and focus on how you break it up).
- Create a story using items you want to remember – it doesn’t have to make sense!
- Create a song or rhyme (30 days has September….).
- Create an anagram – where each letter stands for a word – (HOMES to remember the great lakes (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior).
- Use visualization – see the person, place or thing in your mind’s eye. You are engaging your visual cortex (occipital lobe). The more senses you incorporate in your attempt to remember something will provide more avenues for retrieval
- Say it out loud (you put your auditory sense to work too)
- Write or type it – you are engaging your motor cortex
- Create a “place” for everything – then put things in their place. (what a concept!).
- Practice, practice, practice (it helps to strengthen your memory as well as being the only way to get to Carnegie Hall). Create a list of words and memorize them. Test yourself daily. When you have mastered the first list, create a new list.
- Pay Attention!!!!
We all have “senior moments” (you don’t have to be a senior to have a senior moment) from time to time. A heartening piece of research to close this segment states that it if you can retrieve the information, (even a day or so later) you do not need to worry. We all forget where we put our keys from time to time in our busy lives. If, however, you put your keys in the refrigerator, it might be time to be concerned!
We remember what we understand; we understand what we pay attention to; we pay attention to what we want.