10 TIPS TO HELP IMPROVE YOUR MEMORY
Do you have a memory like an elephant? Although maybe an exaggeration, science has proven that elephants have great memories. Try these tips to help improve your memory and recall.
This may seem obvious, but try it. Often, when you try and memorize, you are on autopilot and not focusing your attention. You can’t forget something you never remembered to begin with. Make certain to understand or gain an appreciation of the value of what you are seeking to learn.
Actively seek to forge new associations with what you are learning to knowledge that you already have. This will greatly reinforce your learning and improve the odds of moving the information from your short term memory to your long term memory.
Form Visual Associations
Any information that is concrete and tangible is more memorable than abstract information. Seek to visualize in some fashion what you are learning. Doing so will force you to pay attention.
Use it or lose it. It has been said that repetition is the mother of learning and for good reason. Modern research has proven this centuries old maxim. Review information at regularly spaced intervals for long term retention.
Read Information Out Loud and Write It Down
The more physical senses you use in remembering, the better. The ancients always read out loud for a reason as it helped memory retention when memory was essential prior to the printing press. Modern research confirms this practice.
Use Memory Prompts or Cues
Don’t be afraid to write out sticky notes or other reminders for yourself. The use of a string around your finger is a simple method to prompt you memory. Use other creative ways to prompt your memory by using visual cues to remind you.
The first mnemonic device (any learning technique that aids information retention or retrieval in the human memory) was used by recalling location. Have you been to a library and know where a certain section of books are but don’t know the call numbers? Location helps you remember. Try to recall where you learned information to help your recall.
Get Necessary Sleep
Research has shown that information is consolidated in the memory during sleep. Try not to skip out on adequate sleep. Research shows that more than six hours is best.
You likely learned the alphabet based on this principle. Anything rhymed or sung is more easily remembered.
This relates to the first tip. If you are anxious, you won’t be able to focus. If you are trying to remember something, force yourself to think of something different. Often it will come to you when you are not actively trying to recall a temporarily lost thought or memory.
By using these 10 tips, you will hopefully be able to improve your memory and ability for recollection. For more advanced methods of memory improvement, try learning mnemonics. The link system, also known as a chain method, only takes minutes to dramatically improve your memory. It is a method of remembering lists that are based on creating an association between the elements of that list. For example, when memorizing this list (dog, envelope, thirteen, yarn, window), one could create a story like this: The dog licked an envelope with thirteen strings of yarn in it and then jumped through a window. It is argued that the story would be easier to remember than the list itself.
I don’t recall ever needing to learn to spell arithmetic as I wasn’t having difficulty but an aunt of mine offered this tidbit to me when I was a child and I have remembered it my whole life. Use each letter of the word to create a word and make a sentence: A rabbit in Tommy’s house might eat Tommy’s ice cream.
We’ve all heard these growing up, maybe. Learning to spell Chicago – (Chicken in a car and the car won’t go, that’s how you spell Chi-ca-go)! That one doesn’t make much sense, does it? Or learning to spell Mississippi – (M – i – crooked letter – crooked letter – i – crooked letter – crooked letter – i – humpback – humpback – i)!
How about using your knuckles to know which months have 30 and 31 days? My elementary school principal taught my class this trick. You make a fist with your non-dominate hand so that your knuckles are on top. Take your dominant hand and start touching your knuckles and the spaces between your knuckles as you count out the months either out loud or silently to yourself. Knuckles represent months with 31 days – January, March, May, July, August, October, and December. Begin with the knuckle on the index finger, then go to the space between the index finger and the middle finger. Continue on thru the knuckles and spaces between each. So here’s how it goes:
• index finger is January
• space between index finger and middle finger is February
• middle finger is March
• space between the middle finger and ring finger is April
• ring finger is May
• space between ring finger and pinkie is June
• pinkie finger is July
• ok, you have to remember this part – July and August are both on the pinkie finger knuckle, so count it twice then you reverse and come back in the opposite direction
• pinkie finger is August
• space between pinkie finger and ring finger is September
• ring finger is October
• space between ring finger and middle finger is November
• middle finger is December
Do any of these work for you? Or do you have other methods for memory and recall?