Your Memory: How to Get the Most of this God Given Gift!

Believe it or not, there are many obscure ways to nudge your brain, your memory, into remembering almost anything!  Your brain remembers pictures, scenes, songs, very well, and if you try doing these suggestions and “not trying” to just remember, well then you’ve got the number!  Although, numbers are not so easy to remember so try this:

Get Moving!

Long class or meeting? Take a short brisk walk right after to help you remember what was covered, says Terrence Sejnowski, PhD, a professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and a distinguished professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and a distinguished professor at the University of California, San Diego.  Sejnowski’s research also suggests that regular moderate exercise (elevating your heart rate above 85 beats per minute for 20 minutes) helps maintain the health of neurons in the hippocampus,  the portion of the brain responsible for forming long term memories.  Are you always misplacing your keys? “Do something uncommon, like hopping on one foot, before setting them down, to help your brain mark the location”, say Nelson Dellis, a four time winner of the USA Memory Championship and the author of Remember it!

Visit the “PALACE”

Memory experts have described utilizing the following technique:

You imagine a route throughout your house and you will follow this route in your mind every time. You go to the front door, kitchen, living room, dining room, hallway etc.

Let’s take a list of errands consisting of checks by the front door, to go the bank, butter and eggs, in the kitchen, to go to the grocery, dry cleaning in the hallway, etc.

“ To recall the list later, think of the memory palace and mentally navigate the same path, picking up the images you laid there,” says Dellis.

Make it weird…

“For the most part, our brains are good at remembering pictures,” explains Dellis.

Instead of trying to remember things or forcing yourself to not forget, try turning them into pictures instead.  For example, you need to remember to get eggs on the way home, imagine your car, driving in the hot sun with a huge egg frying on top! “The more bizarre or over-the-top the image, the better your brain will recall it,” he says. The crazy image is more likely to be remembered than the though, “ I need to get eggs on the way home”!

Put it on REPEAT

Believe it or not our brains are designed to forget, says Dellis. “The best way to hold on to something is to review it more than once. For example, if there’s a recipe you want to remember, and you try to memorize it all at once, okay…but it would be better to review that recipe over a span of 5-6 days. “You’ll spend the same amount of time, says Dellis, “but you will retain the information much, much, longer if you give your brains time rest and revisit.”

Get Some Sleep!

Let me sleep on it and getting ample sleep has always been associated with good memory and optimal health, but recent studies have shown that napping can also help your memory!  “Your experiences are consolidated during sleep,” explains Sejnowski. “While eight hours a night is the standard-bearer, we now know that a nap also has a powerful effect.”  A study was done at the University of California, Riverside, found that participants in a 90 minute nap were better able to retain information and be more creative.  They found that “even a 20 minute nap can induce REM sleep to help preserve memories”, adds Sejnowski.

Night… Night!


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