How To Improve Your Memory
What kinds of things can you do to improve your memory? Why do they work?
Cognitive psychologists tell us that the quickest way to forget something is to try learning it by just repeating it over and over to yourself. Unfortunately, this is how most of us think we are supposed to learn, but it is a total waste of time.
Here are some suggestions for improving your memory:
1.. The first is to increase attention in order to focus on the information you want to remember. You've heard it said again and again, but you must pay attention if you want to remember better. When reading, focus on the material and don't let your mind wander. When listening to a lecture, concentrate on the information and don't daydream. Attention brings information into our short-term memory.
2.. Organization is important in memory improvement, and is usually considered essential for retrieval of information. Organization in putting information into the system saves time in trying to retrieve it later. In some ways, memory can be thought of as a filing cabinet, and an organized filing system saves the individual time and frustration in finding particular information. The key is to associate new information with information already in the system. The key organizational techniques include mediation, imagery, and mnemonics.
3.. Mediation helps you organize and remember material by making words, sentences, or other connections out of the information. For example, you could insert a word between two words you are trying to remember. If you needed to remember milk and bread you might insert the word white. Then you can associate both white milk and white bread.
4.. Imagery is the technique of making mental pictures of the material to be remembered. It is important to make the images as vivid or bizarre as possible. For example, with milk and bread, you might picture a huge water fountain made out of a loaf of bread, with milk flowing out of it.
5.. Another technique for organizing material in memory is mnemonics. Mnemonics sometimes combines mediation and imagery but uses an already-existing organization scheme. A mnemonic is like a peg on a pegboard in that it allows you to hang information on the peg. For example, you might already know "one is a bun," "two is a shoe." Then you imagine milk flowing out of a big bun and bread stuffed into a shoe. The key to all of these memory techniques is to personalize them and make them work for you.
Beyond these techniques, there are some physical things you can do. Get enough sleep; the brain uses slumber to restore itself. Improve your aerobic fitness; send more oxygen to your brain. Be nutritionally balanced; just as for any other part of your body.
Now, get a piece of paper and write all of this down so you don't forget it!