There’s a Hole, there’s a Hole, there’s a hole in the bottom of the sea…. There’s a log in a hole in the bottom of the sea……..
So I have to wonder, why can we remember songs from our childhood as if we just heard them 5 seconds ago yet can’t remember what we were supposed to pick up from the grocery store on the way home?
I am not even going to pretend that I can explain why the brain works the way that it does. It amazes me that tissue, blood, oxygen and some electrical impulses produce what they do just for us to live and breathe, let alone think and remember things.
I was in a very short seminar once with a gentleman by the name of Tom Webber, his memory was amazing. He could rattle off a list 0f 50 things that were unrelated right after her had learned what they were and then repeated them all again at the end of the seminar. I would have loved to have taken his workshop but like all seminars of this type, they are a bit out of my reach financially.
So the question then became, how can I exercise my brain and improve my memory without spending tons on seminars and workshops, ( if you haven’t figured it out by now, I am cheap ) OH and It has to actually help. So I bought a book, and guess what, I forgot I bought it and it sat in a bag on the floor by the desk for months.
What you have to do is admit your memory isn’t as good as it used to be or as good as you would like it to be, and take the steps to correct it. Most people have an Ipad, or Iphone or Ipod touch, they have the Android equivalent or a net book or what have you. Load yourself up some games and book mark some websites. You have a few minutes here and there that you can use to improve your memory skills.
Here are 7 quick tips to help you improve your memory:
- Focus, Focus, Focus….. We get so busy and caught up in Multi-tasking that we don’t focus on the tasks at hand and what is important. If you really need to remember something….. STOP Focus on just that item or task. Give it your full attention, because that is really the only way that you will actually have a chance of remember it.
- 2. Use your common Senses….. Smell, touch, taste, hear and see it. The more senses you can involve when you are trying to commit something to memory the better. That’s why you can remember your mother’s homemade bread, because you committed it to memory when it was fresh out of the oven. You involved the smell and sight of the bread, the feel of the texture of the bread and the taste. Yummmmm Oh sorry, back to business, so if you need to remember someone’s name, try to involve as many senses as possible, Look them in the eye, use their name several times, shake hands upon meeting and leaving. If you are exchanging business cards look at both the card and the person to build that association. Try to find something you have in common or something interesting about them to help you remember them.
- 3. Be a broken record. Repeat It. If you are like me, when you need to remember something you repeat it over and over again. You have to be careful that you don’t overdo it. Repetition is good but spread it out over a longer period of time instead of trying to cram everything in, in a short amount of time. Memory experts recommends 15 minute intervals. 15 minutes committing to memory and 5 minutes doing another task. This gives your brain time to rest.
- 4. Chunk it. NO not Chuck it, Chunk it. The experts say our brains are only able to handle 7 pieces of information at a time. So once you have 7 in there, your done. Now take a phone number, it has 10 digits…. In order to commit it to memory, we chunk it into 3 smaller pieces of information 3 digit zip code, 3 digit prefix and the 4 numbers. So instead of working with 10 pieces of info, we are now working with just 3. Luckily for us, we are trained to “Chunk” from birth, it is when we think about committing things to memory we try to improve on the “tool” that we have always used to commit things to memory.
- 5. It’s all in the Organization. Our brains love organization, it is easier to commit something to memory if it is in a logical order. We literally have all of the words committed to memory for any book out there, However they are not in the order in which they appear in the book.
- 6. Johnny Mnemonic???? Use Mnemonic devices. This one is a little trickier, sometimes it is hard enough to commit something to memory without having to commit something to memory to remind us of what we are really trying to remember. What are mnemonic devices you ask???? Remember when we were kids trying to remember the Great Lakes….. HOMES Huron, Ontario,Michigan,Erie, Superior. HOMES. Or what about remembering the number of days in a month…… say it with me.. Thirty days hath September, April, June and November, all the rest have Thirty one except February my dear son It has 28 and that is fine on a Leap Year it has 29.
- Have it your way…….Learn it the way that works for you. You can learn all of the memory tricks out there but if you aren’t comfortable with them, they are not going to be effective for you. Some people write things down, some like to record, some like visuals, the bottom line is to use what works best for you.
What we know for sure is that we learn best naturally, there are tricks and tools out there that can help boost your memory, but if they feel foreign to you they aren’t going to work and will hinder your efforts more than help them.
Here are just a few of the websites you can go to for memory enhancing and brain building games.
Take time every day to play a “brain game” whether is it doing the crossword puzzle, a word search, Sudoku or any of the websites online. Have fun and improve your memory at the same time. I tried building a “MEMORY PALACE” but it turned out to be more like a shack in the woods.