Use our memory every minute of the day for everything we do. We use it every time we speak a word, drive a car, brush our teeth or shop for groceries.
Many of the everyday lapses we experience are more the fault of our poor memory techniques than of any physical problem with the brain. Here is how to set up your own memory training program.
The art of memory is the art of attention. When we can’t remember a piece of information, frequently it is because we never really paid enough attention to it in the first place. Habit diminishes the conscious with which our acts are performed. Try to remember in detail the above the first gas station that you pass on the way to the grocery store or work. People commonly turn off their minds when they are performing habitual actions. Consciously pay attention to details that make an object or circumstance unique. Start with a magazine photo of a person. Look at the photo, and then close the magazine. List the feature in the photo. What color were the eyes? What shape was the nose? What about hairstyle and clothing? Was there any thing in the background? Having made a first, go back to the photo and study it for two details you missed. Then start again?
With practice, observation can become second nature. The way you look at things change as you focus in on detail. And the attention you pay to detail makes each object unique enough that it will stand out in your mind and be easily encoded into your memory.
Make things meaningful
Memory and learning are not far apart when we learn; we take random information and arrange it in a manner that has meaning to us.
As we concentrate and note specific details, they become encoded in our memory. But many things we wish to remember, such as lists of items, phone numbers, dates and random facts, are difficult to organize into a cohesive whole because they have no order inherent meaning. Rather than remembering one thing that naturally flows into another, we try to remember many different pieces of information that have no connection.
If you are thinking that this is an awful lot of trouble just to remember a few things, note the other benefits that will accrue. Storing information in a rich, elaborate form is the secret of shape recall.
The process of making information rich and elaborate is also one of the finest ways to stimulate you intellectually. Your mind needs this stimulation to stay sharp just as your heart needs aerobic exercise to stay strong. And you may just find that tailoring information into sayings and images can be quite an entertaining way to stay in mental shape.
Finally, if you don’t exercise your memory, you will begin to lose it. There little doubt about that, experts agree. Most of the time, the process can be reversed, but why not start to recharge your memory now and enjoy it to the fullest?