Today there seems to be a heavy emphasis on memory and how it can help you in life not only in education but with your own personal memories. Nowadays it can also be seen as a sign of intelligence if you can manage to remember details most would not or at times could not. Memory exercises are also seen as a way of improving your chances of avoiding devastating illnesses such as Alzheimers and forms of Dementia. If you want to improve your brain power just out of curiosity or struggling to get the best of school work Discover have some tips to help you out, here are their top 5:
5- The Name Game:
When you meet a new person, it’s important to pay attention to the name and the face. As soon as you learn the name, repeat it back to the person by saying, “Nice to meet you, so-and-so.” It’s not a cheap trick; researchers have found that people have a 30 percent better chance of remembering a name when they repeat it as soon as they learn it.
Then it’s time to put those visualisation and association skills to work. Let’s say you’re meeting a person named Katie Lambert, who just happens to be this humble writer’s editor. First, you want to repeat the name, but you also want to start looking for identifying features that will help you with the visualisation and association. Check out the person’s hair, nose, mouth, cheeks and eyes. Katie has chin-length blond hair, so you might take that feature and combine it with her last name, Lambert. Suddenly you’re picturing little lambs with blond hair frolicking about. You name one of those lambs Katie to help you with your image, but you also take the “kat” from her first name and imagine little cats running around as well.
Maybe you have no problems remembering your grocery list or names and faces but you repeatedly stumble over your PIN number, Social Security Number or license plate number. Chunking may be just the memory method for you. You’ve used chunking if you’ve ever read off a phone number as three sets of numbers as opposed to one long 10-digit number. Chunking puts a large amount of information into more manageable chunks so that you have less to remember.
Let’s tease out the phone number example even further. Say you use this phone number every day but can never remember it: 404-760-4729 . First, the area code — do you love golf? Picture hitting a golf ball twice; you might yell, “Fore! Oh! Fore!” Then let’s say you have seven children and you were born in 1960. By great coincidence, your soccer jersey number was 47, and you’ll never be able to forget that the Great Depression started in 1929. To remember how to call this number, you just need to think, “golf, kids, year born, soccer jersey, Great Depression.”
3- Method of Loci:
The earliest recorded mnemonic device comes from Ancient Greece. One night, a poet named Simonides was called upon to recite a poem at a banquet. By some stroke of luck, Simonides briefly left the banquet hall, right when the entire building collapsed. Because the bodies of those that remained inside were so badly mangled, Simonides identified the dead for their families by recalling where people were sitting at the time of the accident. This memory device of associating things with a place or location became known as the method of loci, and it was all the rage for teaching in Ancient Greece. If you’ve ever said, “in the first place” or “in the second place” when rattling off a list, then you’re using a modern derivative of the method of loci.
In using the method of loci, you’re essentially piggybacking the information you need to remember on top of information that would be near impossible for you to forget. For example, it would be hard for you to forget a bus or subway route you use every day, or the setup of your own house. If you select between five to seven locations on these routes or in these places, you can use the landmarks to remember a list of errands by using the visualisation methods we discussed earlier.
For example, let’s say that you’ve selected places you pass daily on your commute to the office. You drive by a large yellow house, a fast food chicken restaurant and a tire shop. You need to remember to stop by the store to get detergent, bread and orange juice. For each familiar place, visualise an association with an item on the list. You could envision the detergent dripping down the sides of the yellow house, making the yellow even brighter. You picture the chickens eating pieces of bread thrown to them in their chicken coops, and you could imagine tires trying to move through a rising river of orange juice. You can expand the list with more landmarks as needed, and then when you arrive at the store, you just pull up this route information and think of your visualisations.
2- Use Your Environment:
Tying a string around your finger to remember something has become a bit of punchline, but the reasoning for it makes sense. By putting something in your environment slightly askew, you create a visual reminder for yourself. The key, as with other methods, is to take the time to create a strong visualisation for why there’s a string around your finger before you mindlessly tie it on.
You can use other things in your environment as well. If you don’t want to invest in string just yet, you could switch a ring, bracelet or watch from one hand to the other as needed to remember things. For example, if you needed to remember a doctor’s appointment, you could visualize a large wristwatch wrapped around your doctor. If it bothers you too much to switch hands, try just turning the watch upside down or switching a ring so the stone points downward.
1- Practise Makes Perfect:
Maybe you’re thinking that some of the tips in this article sound a bit too easy. And that’s the beauty of them – but to get the full benefit, you’re going to have to practice. Not everyone immediately begins creating helpful visualisations or using the method of loci to remember things, but when your brain becomes trained to think that way, it will become easier.
You can look at almost anything as a chance to practice these memory tips. If you’re out to eat at a restaurant, randomly assign the people around you a name. Introduce yourself to them in your head and give them identifying features. Enjoy your appetizer, then look back around to see how many names you remember. It can also make the time fly by when you’re standing in line at the bank or waiting in a doctor’s office. You can do the same things with people in newspapers or magazines.
Let us know if you try any of these tips and if you have any other tips or trick you use.