If you want to improve your learning capability, here are some clever memory hacks that make you smarter by boosting your ability to remember and recall information.
Before I get into the how's and whys, I first want to draw your attention to a rather important point about this subject.
It's very common to hear people say that they have a bad memory, or that they have trouble remembering things. You have probably said it yourself to someone when you were trying to remember a simple item but it eluded all your attempts.
While this may be a common belief, it is actually an untrue one!
You Have a Perfect Memory
Whether you know it or not, (and this is true for everyone else, for that matter) you have a perfect memory!
The human brain is a miraculous organ capable of a multitude of complex functions, with memory being one of them. Just ponder this: the brain was not designed to malfunction at tasks it was created to perform perfectly!
Unless there is evidence of physical or neurological damage to the area of the brain designated for memory, it is capable of storing in memory every event it is exposed to through our five senses.
For the scientifically minded, the areas in question are the amygdala, hippocampus, cerebellum and prefrontal cortex. However, since this article is aimed more at helping people to improve their ability to recall memories and not at those researching the anatomical regions of the brain, I'll refrain from diving down that particular rabbit hole.
Returning to the point of this section, human beings are in possession of a perfectly functioning memory. It is their ability to recall certain memories on demand that sometimes falls down.
On the Tip of the Tongue
It is a fairly common experience to be trying to remember a person's name or the name of a place you once visited to relate it in conversation and to have it "on the tip of your tongue" as the saying goes. However, try as you might, it is simply not possible to solidify that name in the mind's eye to be able to vocalize it at the time!
Rather annoyingly, a few minutes may pass and you may be conversing and thinking about something completely differently when the errant name suddenly forms in your mind and you blurt it out as, "Oh dear, it was so-and-so. I don't know why but I've just remembered it."
Such an episode is actually solid proof that the item was most certainly safely stored in the memory centre of the brain. It was just a little reluctant to be extracted by the recall process!
How to Remember Information
Having put that annoyance over recalling information in its place, let's move on to some of the ways that I know of to aid the process of storing and recalling information to/from memory at will.
The first thing to realize is that without doubt, the most effective way to learn anything is by repetition. Our brains are hardwired to recognize certain items of information that they have already been exposed to. The more often the exposure, the greater the ability to recall at will that information.
This is why, at school we were taught our times tables by rote (repetition) and despite our disdain for the method (I know of no schoolchild who actually liked learning times tables when I was at school), it worked and it worked incredibly well. Many decades after the event, I am still perfectly capable of accurately recalling the answer to any random two figure multiplication up to 12x12.
While learning by repetition is the most effective way of teaching our brains to store facts and figures, it may not necessarily be the fastest. Often, it would take numerous repeated recitals of said times tables to get them to anchor themselves in the right place in the grey matter!
Yet anchor themselves they most certainly did!
The same goes for any learning process that requires facts, figures and other data to be memorized from books (or other learning media).
Many years ago, I had to learn several long passages from a book and recite them at certain meetings, interacting with other people who had to learn complimentary passages and recite them in the right places and in the right order. Correctly, of course!
You might recognize that description as that being actors learning their lines for a drama or play. While only of amateur status, the same rules apply to professional actors. Learning lines is done by reading them aloud over and over, but there is more to it than simply that.
If it were just a case of reciting a page full of uninteresting facts and figures, it would prove a very difficult and arduous task at best. But since lines of a play are part of a larger storyline, there is another factor that comes into play to make it easier to remember and more enjoyable too.
This is the injection of emotion and visualized experience to the subject matter.
Simply learning by rote is like the first stage of memorizing information and while it will still be effective, it can feel like hard work. However, once interest and emotion is added to the subject matter and the student is able to immerse themselves in the story by visualizing it in their mind's eye and thereby invoking associated emotions, the rate of remembering increases many fold as does the ability to recall the sequence of words learned.
Faster Memory Hacks
There are faster ways to memorize information than I have explained above. One is using the power of visual association to anchor the data in the memory and make it easier to recall.
This is a fairly well known trick to memorizing a shopping list. For each item on the list, you should associate it with a larger than life image in your mind. For example, a bottle of dishwashing liquid of a certain brand could be associated with having to stand at the kitchen sink and plunge your hands into very hot water to do the dishes.
The associated experience will certainly stick because not only is it a visual image, but there is also the physical association of pain when your hands enter the very hot water and you certainly remember how you feel as that is happening.
Brain Enhancing Diet
There is another great hack for boosting memory and recall and that is feeding your brain along with your body the right foods that will provide nourishment not only for greater physical performance, but also heightened mental performance, especially in the memory department.
The obvious things are generally the right ones in this case.
You should avoid eating anything that is known to cause the body via the metabolism to become sluggish and lethargic. Offending foods include refined carbohydrates and anything with high levels of sugars.
It is better to switch to a "cleaner" diet consisting of a higher percentage of fresh, whole foods, most especially vegetables, herbs and other plant-based foods, preferably organic. If you prefer to include meat, it is important to make sure that it is sourced from organic farmers and from open grazed animals (grass fed beef cattle, for example).
Also, avoid drinking sweetened beverages (most notably soda) or those that are artificially sweetened with all manner of horrendous chemical sweeteners. You should probably read some of my other articles on the dangers to health of certain of these sweeteners.
Another thing to avoid is of course alcohol, which is well known to dull the senses and cause some memory problems to occur even with moderate use. It goes without saying that the use of recreational drugs also falls into that same bucket.
Resorting to Brain Pills
On the flip side, there are a relatively new breed of memory enhancing substances called nootropics that have been shown to improve the ability to learn larger amounts of information and enjoy faster and more complete memory recall of such information.
They also go by the names of "brain pills," "smart pills," even "genius pills" or simply memory enhancing supplements. These are generally accepted as being safe to take and there are a number of studies into their effectiveness that have given them the green light.
One such brand that is currently available for sale online (to US customers only at the moment) is Brain+ and I will link to the website where it can be obtained below:
Note: I am an affiliate of Brain+ and receive commission for any sales originating from this page. This does not affect the price of your consumer right sin any way.
- Terry Didcott
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Posted on Mon, 26 Nov 2019 in Health | 0 Comments