We think that each and every experience that we have in our lives, our most sacred and treasured memories which may be significant or not, are all stored somewhere in the dark recesses of our minds for future retrieval, similar to how a hard drive is able to store data.
Once an event in our life is registered in our brains, we think that this memory is cataloged accurately for safe-keeping. This so that it can be easily accessible anytime in the future with quick efficient recall, while every detail of that incident or event remains completely intact.
But scientists have discovered that every time we attempt to recall a past memory from our brains, what we do is reconstruct the entire event by reassembling the various remnants of it which are usually scattered throughout the brain, and not in one particular location.
These scientists have indicated that we’ll also suppress certain memories which were particularly damaging or painful to us or our self-esteem. So the result is that we could claim our memory is somewhat unreliable.
Our memory is also adaptive, as it reshapes itself to accommodate for new circumstances which we may be finding ourselves in. Regardless, what we need to do is face the fact that our brains are flexible but not always accurate.
The end result is that most individuals will recall just the good times that they’ve had, while there are some who are continuously tormented by memories which were painful, and then haunts or depresses them every time they’re revisited. For everyone, what the brain does is it gives out signals of an incomplete and inconsistent past.
Methods Of Improving Your Memory
• Structuring All Of The Information – You may need to memorize which ingredients and measurements that you need to prepare for an upcoming dinner such as a birthday party. The best way to remember everything is to organize all of the meals and dishes under different subheadings, such as: appetizer or soup, the main courses, and desert, and then visualize how many ingredients are needed under each dish in the subheading.
If you need to remember an important phone number, think of the entire 10 digit number by breaking it up by its first 4 digits, then the next 3 digits, and then the final 3 digits.
• Completely Understand The Information – When it comes to remembering complex material, try to understand the material before you attempt to remember it. If at all possible, summarize this new information by writing it down in your own words. Then reorganize all the material you’ve written so that it’s easier to remember. Once you manipulate the information this way, you’re then forcing yourself to think and recall it actively at will.
• Involve All Of Your Senses – Say that you’re listening to someone giving a lecture or speaking at a seminar. You’ll recall more if you write down or type into on your laptop all of the important points in note form. If you happen to be reading an article or a letter, you’ll have better recall if you read it aloud.
• Pay As Much Attention To Detail As Possible – The most obvious is that you can’t absorb or remember information if you’re not paying attention to it. You can’t memorize any information unless you’re actively taking it in, or you’re not interested in it. Ways to stay as sharp as possible during these times by getting adequate sleep and eating properly. If at all possible, avoid any background distractions such as your TV or computer.
• Developing A Healthier Lifestyle – Eating a healthy balanced diet while getting regular exercise can be beneficial under all circumstances. What adopting a healthy lifestyle does is it increases the amount and quality of blood and oxygen which is delivered to the brain. What a proper diet does is it reduces certain medical conditions which contributes to memory loss, such as: Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and stroke. What constant exercising does is it releases the pleasure endorphins which will improve mood while preventing depression.
• Relating New Information To What You Already Know – Any new information is a lot easier to remember once you can relate it to something previously that you already know and understand. If you’re introduced to new information, you can attribute the new material to some other related information which you’re already familiar with. You may even notice that the new information may be similar in content as well.
• The Use Of Mnemonics – What this process involves is relating new information to visual images, acronyms, sentences, words, or rhymes. You may remember that your hairdresser’s name is Roseanne by picturing a Rose. You might remember the order of certain colors of the rainbow by constructing a sentence, or remember certain medical symptoms by using the acronym ‘AEIOU’: ache, eczema, itching, oedema, ulceration.
• Exercising Your Brain – Presenting mental challenges will help in creating new neuro connections within the brain, which makes it more effective as well as being more resistant to memory disorders. So to keep your mind sharp, adopt a new hobby, read an interesting novel, learn a new language, or do crossword puzzles.
• Rehearse The Information – Always review any new information that you’ve learned, and recall it later in the day or the next morning. Also review it at regular intervals until you’re completely comfortable that you understand the material that you’ve learned.
• Being “Smarter” Is All About Better Memory – We all remember the “A” student in high school. Were they really that much smarter than all of us, or were they just more efficient when it came to memory recall and retention. Did these book nerds really have a higher IQ or were their concentration levels just more efficient and organized better than everyone else. Most likely, it just came down to a better short-term memory recall method, than being that much more brighter.