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Ways to Boost Memory

Memory is the mother of all wisdom.
Samuel Johnson

Memory is the cabinet of the imagination, the treasury of reason, the registry of conscience, and, the council chamber of thought.
Basile

Things that were hard to bear are sweet to remember.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 BC-65), Roman philosopher and playwright.

A good memory is an asset to have. Recalling names and events within seconds indicates a sharp and alert memory. Modern lifestyles demand that people remain in the best of shape and form. Recalling the past in seconds can make the present full of successes and the future very rewarding.

The fast paced lifestyles people lead, both personally and professionally, require a memory that can contribute effectively. Children would like to excel in school, a professional would like to put in his or her best at work, and the aged would like to manage their own affairs independently. For this to be able to happen, the memory’s power should be at its zenith. A smart executive can deliver the required information within seconds, a child can do well in math, and the elderly can recall their past fondly. Everybody would like to have a strong memory power.

People go to many lengths to recall happy and memorable occasions and people. Photo albums display the fond memories of time spent in a holiday resort. The tourist, after visiting the destination of his or her choice, likes to narrate the events to family and friends. Memories help people share their inner most thoughts, feeling and past experiences. Even painful memories are recalled. Why so?

Sophia Loren, an Italian actress, says, “I’ve never tried to block out the memories of the past, even though some are painful. I don’t understand people who hide from their past. Everything you live through helps to make you the person you are now.”

Why not sharpen these memory skills? Many things can be done to improve memory. Like the physical body needs exercise to stay in shape, the mind needs exercise as well to stay fit.
Tips for Improving Memory

  1. Make use of the senses – The smell of beautiful roses may bring back memories of a garden visited on vacation. The fragrance can remain in the memory bank. Collect information through senses which help one remember people, places and persons; touch, look at, smell, and when acceptable, taste the surroundings.  “And even if you were in some prison, the walls of which let none of the sounds of the world come to your senses – would you not then still have your childhood, that precious, kingly possession, that treasure-house of memories?” ~Rainer Maria Rilke
  2. Create mental images– visualize a place or event or person
  3. Group or categorize data. Children learn to put green bears with green bears and blue bears with blue bears. Adults can put phone numbers in a group and email addresses in another.
  4. Repetition of information – This would be like trying to memorize a piece of poetry.   keep repeating the information over and over in small chunks if need be.
  5. Memory aids– Use calendars, sticky notes, memo recorders, or whatever can be found to help remember information.
  6. Motion – Whether it is the person or the object doing the moving, moving can be effective in remembering information. Just ask the child who has to be moving in class while the teacher speaks.
  7. Association of objects helps. The name of a place, a person, or an object can be remembered by association. Examples would be: “Sally is the girl with the curly red hair.” Or, “That park had the huge trees in it.”
  8. Imagination can help improve memory power. Imagine what a person will be doing at a particular time. Imagining activities might help in recalling a person’s profession.
  9. Try a little humor. Look for the absurd in situations, in people and events. The funny side of a given situation may make it appear more interesting and lively. -”By the time you’re eighty years old you’ve learned everything. You only have to remember it.” – George Burns
  10. Think in color. We can identify a particular person with color of clothing being worn, or a flower can be remembered by its color.
  11. 11.   Numbering provides order and sequence.  Recalling a residence number for instance. The fith house on the left.
  12. Exaggeration of a shape, size and sound will make it easier to recall. A large mouse on a high wall may be easier to remember than a small ant on an ordinary floor.
  13. Tell stories. Create strong mental images by telling about the happenings to family and friends.
  14. Sensory stimulation is a good form of brain exercises. Break the daily routine by doing a menial task differently.  Brush your teeth with the other hand or close your eyes while taking a bath. Try practicing being ambidextrous (using the opposite hand) on non-important documents.
  15. Use symbols. Some signs are common now and easily recognized (@=at). Businesses use catchy pictures to help bring in business (the Geico gecko).
  16. Review. This is what school children do all the time. Learn it and then review it. Why should adults be any different? Learn something new at work or at home and take time to review the information until it becomes common knowledge in the brain.
When recall is going to be needed, there are a few things to keep in mind. This is true in a school, in a business, or in a meeting.
  • Keep distractions to a minimum. Keep the music levels down, keep people from walking through, or take the phone off the hook.
  • Rehearse. Practice and practice until it is well known.
  • Link a tough to remember fact to a funny story or a ridiculous song or rhyme. The musical notes on the lines are E,G,B,D,F. That can be hard to remember. But when E,G,B,D,F becomes Every Good Boy Does Fine, it becomes much easier to place the notes on the line and know what they represent.
  • Know the reason why remembering something is important. Trying to remember a person’s name can be difficult. Place the person’s name in the brain along with the setting and some other information that is relevant. How will future interactions likely take place?
  • Pay attention to what is happening. Observe the minute details and record them in the mind. “The secret of a good memory is attention, and attention to subject depends upon our interest in it. We rarely forget that which has made a deep impression on our minds.” – Tryon Edwards
    Feel motivated about a given situation, place or person. Having a positive attitude or mind-set can make learning more fun and productive. Enjoy what is being learned. Develop the urge to learn things. This will help to learn faster the things that need to be learned.

From the physical point of view, a good memory can be helped by a healthy body. . A healthy body is a healthy mind. Why is this so?

  • Physical exercise is good to prevent age related memory diseases such as Dementia and Alzheimer.
  • Learning to handle stress in a constructive manner helps keep the mind sharp. Stress can blur the mind’s eye. Learn to relax with exercise or meditation or something that eases the mind.
  • Sleep is essential to keep the mind functioning at an optimum level.

A good memory is important in this day and age. Instant information is what many want and have come to expect. A person needs to be able to provide all that is necessary as quickly as possible. There is little time to think and ponder over things. The path of success can be reached by using past knowledge and experience. As it is said:

“The very first thing an executive must have is a fine memory. Of course it does not follow that a man with a fine memory is necessarily a fine executive. But if he has the memory he has the first qualification, and if he has not the memory nothing else matters.” Thomas Alva Edison

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