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TheTop10MemoryImprovement

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TipstoRememberAnything

Improvingyourmemorydoesnthavetobeadifficultprocess.Itisaboutlearninghowyourbrain
worksbestandusingthisknowledgetoyouradvantage.Youdonthavetochangeyourbrains
memorysystems.

Togetyoustarted,hereare10(+2)powerfulmemoryimprovementtips.Unlikesuggestionslike
eatmorecholine,mostofthememorytechniquesbelowtakejustafewminutesofpracticeto
haveaneffect,yetwillhelpyoutorememberalmostanythingwhenyouwantto.

1.Payattentiontowhatyouwanttoremember

Foranythingyousee,hear,smell,feel,ortouchtoactuallybecomeamemory,youhavetopay
attentiontoit.Themostimportantreasonwhypeoplecannotrememberotherpeoplesnamesis
thattheydontpayenoughattentiontothenameduringanintroduction.
Thesameappliestoforgettingwhetheryouhavelockedthedoor.Youwerelikelydoingiton
autopilotandyourbrainwasoccupiedwithsomethoughtsaboutthefutureorpast.So,whether
youwanttorememberaname,anaction,oranyotherinformation,makeaconsciouseffortto
payattention,andyouwillbeamazedhowreliableyourmemoryactuallyis.

2.Avoidmultitaskingwheneverpossible

Multitaskingmaybeahallmarkofmoderntimes,andyoumayfinditnecessarytotalkonthe
phonewhileswitchingoffthatstove,ordrivingtowork.Studieshoweverhaveshownthat98%
ofthepeoplecannotmultitask,thatis,theycanreallyonlypayattentiontooneactivityata
time.Bymultitasking,youareessentiallyswitchingyourattentionbetweendifferentactivities
andareboundtolosesomeinformation.Themoreyouswitch,themoreyoulose.

3.Getyourbloodflowingandgetoxygentoyourbrain
Formostofhumanhistory,wemadeourmostimportantdecisionswhilebeinguprightandin
motion.Whetherpeoplewerehuntingforfoodortryingtoavoidbecomingfood,theylikelydidit
whilemovingorstanding.Unfortunately,evolutionisnotthatfast,andourbrainandbodyhave
notyetbecomeaccustomedtooursedentarylifestyle.

Yourbrainneedsgoodbloodflowandoxygentofunctionwell,andthebestwaytogetthisisby
moving.Aimforatleasttwentyminutesofmoderateaerobicexerciseperday.

Usetimeboxing:Ifyouarepreparingforanexam,orsittingatyourdesktoreadand
remember,alternatebetween20to30minutestudyperiodsand5to10minuteburstsoflight
exercise.

4.Visualizewhatyouwanttorememberandconnectitto
somethingyoualreadyknow

Tomemorizenewinformation,wehavetoconnectittosomethingwealreadyknow,orinother
words,wehavetomakeassociations.Visualizationisapowerfultooltocreategood
associationsandimproveyourmemoryforanykindofinformation.

Hereisanexample:Yourwife/husbandasksyoutogetabookongardeningfromyourfriend
Jimwhenyounextmeethim.

Torememberthis,createanassociationbetweenyourfriend(cue)andthebook,remindingyou
toaskhimwhenyouseehim.

VisualizeJimopeningthedoor,havingabigbookandsomecarrotsinhismouth.Yousayhello,
buthe,havinghismouthfull,onlymumblessomething.ThenexttimeyouseeJim,hisfacewill
mostlikelyremindyouofthecarrotsandthebookinhismouth.AhIneededtoaskforthis
bookongardening.
TrytheNumberRhymestopracticevisualizationandatthesametimelearnaveryeffectiveand
practicalmemorytechnique.

5.Combatthedoorwayeffect:Beforegoingtoanotherroomto
pickupanitemordosomething,mentallyrehearsewhatyouare
goingtodo

Mostofushavegonetoanotherroomtofetchanitem,anduponarrival,wehaveforgottenwhat
wewantedtodo.Whyisthat?Sciencehascomeupwithtwoprimaryexplanationsforthiskind
offorgetting:

First,wecommittedourintentiontomemoryinoneenvironment,andnowwearestandingin
anotherroomthatlikelyhasverydifferentfeatures.Severalstudieshaveshownthatwetendto
rememberinformationbestintheenvironmentinwhichwehavelearnedit.Thisphenomenonis
commonlyknownascontextdependentmemory.

Second,bywalkingthroughthedoorway,youaresignalingyourbrainthataneventhaspassed.
Thisencouragesthebraintopurgetheeventdetailsfromtheforefrontofyourmemory.This
purgingateventboundarieshasbecomeknownasthedoorwayeffect.Ifthishappenstoooften
foryourtaste,youarenotalone.

Trycounteringthedoorwayeffectbyvisualizingortellingyourselfwhatyouaregoingtodoin
advance,beforeyousetoutforyourdestinationroom:Whileyouarestillinyourlivingroom,
visualizeyourselfwalkingtothekitchen,openingthefridgedoor,andtakingoutthatwinebottle.
Thengoanddoit.

6.Thinkaboutthemeaningofnamesyouwanttoremember,and
addinformationtomakethemmeaningful
Again,toimproveyourmemoryfornewinformation,youwanttocreateeffectiveassociations
betweenthisnewinformationandwhatisalreadystoredinyourmemory.

Hereisanexampleonhowtoaddmeaningtoinformation:Youareintroducedtoapersoncalled
Bronislaw.(BronislawisapopularPolishfirstname).

Askyourself,whatdoesthenamemeantome?Tome,Bronislawlooks(andsoundsabit)
likebrownislaw.IhappentoknowthatinThailandpolicemenuniformstendtobebrown
brownislawBronislaw.

7.Getenoughsleep

Amultitudeofresearchhasshownthatsleepimprovesmemoryandinsight.Tohelpformingnew
memories,weneedtosleepenoughbeforelearning,andtoconsolidatethesememories,we
needtosleepenoughafterlearning.Howlongshouldyousleep?Aimforatleast7hoursper
night.

Areyouinneedforamemoryboostduringtheday?Takealongernapintheearlyafternoon.
Sixtytoninetyminutenapsstrengthennewlyacquiredmemoriesandrestoreourcapacityto
learn.

8.Relax

Itisnaturaltobeabitconcernedaboutanupcomingexam,interviewordate.Afterallitmatters
tous,sowewanttobeatourbest.Thegoodnewsisthatshortterm,moderatestressactually
boostsmemory.However,whenstressbecomesintensiveorgoesonfortoolong,itinhibitsthe
formationofnewmemoriesandrecallofinformationwealreadyknow.Constantstress,worries,
andpressurearememorykillers:

Chronicstresshasbeenshowntoliterallykillneuronsinthehippocampus,abrainarea
importantformemory,sowhenyoufeelstressedout,donttrytodomoreofthesame.Gofora
walkandrelax.
9.Learnmnemonictechniquesifyouneedtomemorizealarge
numberoffacts,names,orotherinformationfast

Mnemonicsrangefromsimplememoryaidstomemorizenames,dates,ordefinitionsto
completementalfilingsystems.TheMethodofLoci,alsoknownastheMemoryPalace
Technique,allowsyoutomemorizehundredsofthingsinorder.Besidesbeinghighlyeffective,
mnemonictechniquesarefuntolearn.Agreattooltolearnforeignlanguagevocabularyisthe
Keywordmethod.

TheNumberShapeSystemisonesystemtogetyoustarted

1.Writedownthenumbersfrom0to9,eachonaseparateline,onasheetofpaper.
2.Nowlookateachnumber.
3.Whatdoestheshapeofthenumberremindyouof?Whichobjectcomestomind?Write
downthisobjectnexttothenumber.
4.Rehearseyourassociationsafewtimes:Mentallygothroughthelistandimagineeach
objectasvividlyasyoucan.Theseobjectsbecomeyourpegs.Younowhaveasocalled
mnemonicpegsystemreadytobeofservice.

Hereismylist:

HowtousetheNumberShapeSystem
Whenyouwanttorememberanitem,justimagineit,orevenbettervisualizeitinteractingwitha
peg.Startwiththefirstpeginyournumbershapelist.Forexample,supposeyouwantto
rememberashoppinglist:

1.Quartofmilk
2.Letterenvelopes
3.Tomatoes
4.

Thefirstitemyouwanttobuyisaquartofmilk.Imaginethrowingafootballatthedairyshelf
withthemilkbottles.Uponimpact,thebottlesarebouncingaround,somepopopen,andmilkis
splashingallovertheplace.

Thenextitemisapackofletterenvelopes.Imaginetheyareletterswrittenbyapoliticianyou
utterlydislike.Setthemonfirewithyourburningcandle.Continueinthisfashionforeachofthe
itemsonyourlist.

Whenyouwanttorecalltheshoppinglist,juststartwiththenumber0andrecalltheassociated
numbershape(hereanAmericanfootball).Thiswillbringbackthememoryofthefootball
smashingthemilkbottleshelfandremindyouthatyouwantedtobuymilk.Continueinthe
samefashionforeachnumber.

10.Practicerecallbyselftesting

Thisismypersonaltopmemoryimprovementtip.Tokeepinformationyouhavememorized,you
havetotellyourbrainthatitisimportanttoyou.Thisstrengthenstheconnectionsbetweenall
thedifferentbraincellsinvolvedinaparticularmemory.

Probablythemostpowerfulandversatiletechniquetoachievethisispracticingrecallbyself
testing.Invariousstudies,selftestinghasbeenshowntobetheamongthemosttimeefficient
memoryimprovementmethods.

Letssayyouwanttoremembertheimportantpartsofanarticleorbookyouarecurrently
reading:Prepareashortlistofquestionsyouaregoingtotestyourselfon.Ifallelsefails,turn
paragraphheadingsintoquestions.

Afteryouhavecompletedyourreading,takeashortbreakandthenanswerthequestionsfrom
memory.Youcanfurtherimproveonthisbyansweringthequestionsagainthenextday,then
twodayslater

Recallpracticeisnotlimitedtowritteninformation.Youcanalsouseittorememberthegistofa
documentaryyouhavewatchedonTVorYouTube,ortorecollectthewaytoanunfamiliar
destination.
Adaptivespacedrepetitionsoftware,suchasAnki(myfavorite)orFlashcardsDeluxe,allows
youtotestyourself,whileautomaticallykeepingtrackofwhatyouknowandwhatyouhaveto
practicemore.TheseappsareavailableforPC/Macandyoursmartphone,andsynchronize
informationbetweendifferentdevices.

Notedowninformationinaquestionandanswerformat,andtestyourselfwheneveryouhavea
bitoftime.Doyouwanttolearnanewlanguageorprepareforaprofessionalexambuthaveno
time?Practicewhilecommuting,sitinginyourdoctorswaitingroom,orqueuingforyour
restauranttable,insteadoffeelingbored.

11.Makeuseofexternalcuesandreminderstoremindyourself
offutureeventsandtasks

Rememberingthingsyouneedtodointhefutureandappointmentsyouneedtokeepposestwo
challenges:Youneedtorememberwhatyouwantedtodo,andyouneedtorememberwhenyou
wantedtodoit.

Tokeepyourdentistappointment,Irecommendyousimplysetanalarmorusethecalendarin
yoursmartphone,ormakeanentryinapapercalendar.
Sometasksaretriggeredbyeventsratherthantime:Oneoptionforthesetasksistouse
visualization,asdescribedearlier,forconnectingeventsandthingsyouneedtodo.

However,ifataskinvolvesanobjectyoualreadyhave,theeasiestwayistovisiblyputthat
objectinaplaceyouaregoingtocomeacrossatthetimeoftheevent.

Forexample,toremindyourselftotakeyourmedicineafterdinner,putthemedicineonthe
dinnertable.Dothisrightwhenyouformtheintention.Toremembertotakeyourbooksbackto
thelibrary,putthemnexttoyourcarkeys.

12.Giveaspeechwithoutnotesandmakenoteswhileunderthe
showerusingasimplepegwordsystem

SmartphoneappslikeEvernoteorOneNotearegreatfortakingnotesandjottingdownideas
whileonthego,butnotreallypracticalwhiletakingashower.Oftenbrilliantideasoccurtousin
thestrangestofsituations,andifyoudontgrabholdofthemwhentheypopup,theyare
probablygoneforgood.

LearnaneasytousememorysystemsuchastheNumberShapeSystem(introducedabove)or
theNumberRhymesinfiveminutesandkeepyourflashesofinsight.

Youcanalsousethesepegwordsystemstogiveaninspiringspeechfrommemory

Writeyourspeechonasheetofpaper,andreaditoutloudtomakesureitflowswell.Afteryou
aredonewithpolishing,encirclethekeypointsandpegeachonetooneofthe10numbered
hooksintheNumberRhymeSystem.

Duringyourspeech,justmentallygothrougheachofthepeggedkeyideasandyouwillnever
getstuck.Youwillbewellpreparedandconfident,andthiswillcomeacrossinyourspeech.
Remembering10keypointsisusuallyenough,butifyouneedmore,theMethodofLociallows
youtomemorizeanynumberofideas.
Whichmemoryimprovementtipsshouldyoustartwith

Nowthatwehaveactuallycoveredatop12listofmemoryimprovementtips,Irecommendyou
startbytaking2or3ofthesetechniquesandpracticetheminyourdailylife.

Youlikelyalreadyknowwhereyourmemoryfailsyouthemost.Pickthestrategiesyoufeelare
closesttoyourneed,startapplyingthem,andyouwillsurpriseyourself,byhowmuchyour
memoryisgoingtoimprove.

Ifyouwanttoaddsomeadditionaltechniquestoyourmentaltoolchest,alsoreadmyposton
improvingfocusandconcentration.

Haveyoutriedanyofthesetipsbefore?Whichonedoyoulikebest?

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