How Can You Improve Memory?
We recall things through memory association. Every piece of data in our brain is associated to other pieces of data in a way.
For instance, if you have given the word “banana”, what comes into your mind? Maybe something like:
Banana: yellow, elongated, sweet, monkey, fruit
However, it is very unlikely that we might see “banana” and think of “coconut” unless of course if you recall something humorous in which an elephant looks like a banana.
If you are asked what is the third letter of the alphabet, chances are you will not know that C = 3, but you could easily stream into A, B, C, and then you can say C.
You have used association to get the answer because you already know that A is the first letter of the alphabet, and then you have processed the series of letters in the sequence until you get the right letter.
If there is no possible association of certain things, it will be very difficult to recall the information you need.
As an example, suppose you need to recall that the next bus would take off at 4 PM, there is nothing that you can associate the bus that would suggest the number 4.
Therefore, the information can be easily forgotten.
If our memory works by association, then we can employ active association between two bits of data.
As an example, for the bus that you need to catch at 4 PM, you can picture your bus in your mind and notice that it has 4 wheels. Four wheels, 4 PM.
Now you have an association. You now have more chance to remember the time after it has instilled in your memory.
There are times when memory association comes very easily.
As an example, if you are introduced to Mr. Brown who lives on a house near the end of the street with a brown roof, the idea of Mr. Brown under the brown roof is pretty easy.
And what if you need to try recalling your classroom number for a Sociology class, and it just turns out that it’s the same as your locker number.
Another easy association!
When pieces of data are not associated in any way, we should be more creative in relating things to each other. However, it is not too hard.
Most people can learn rhymes or acronyms that can help you remember things such as:
– I before E except after C. When it sounds like A as in neighbor and weigh
– ROY G BIV for recalling the colors of the rainbow in proper order
– N-E-W-S (compass directions)
Rhymes and acronyms work because they form an easy-to-remember method of relation between the two things. The rule of thumb is to be creative and imaginative.
You do not have to be a poet every time you want to recall something. Just think of an image in your mind that associates to a piece of information.
It could be something humorous or funny so that it would be more memorable. As an example, if you need to recall that the basketball court is in Raisin Street.
You can imagine a basketball player baking raisin cookies! Just be creative and rest assured that you will have a sharper memory.
Keeping Your Memory Safe from Aging
The effects that aging has on the brain and memory, in particular, are caused by inconsistencies about how the brain stores information and processes it for recall.
And, brain cells need some of the hormones and chemicals that begin to slow down or disappear as you age.
The brain stores information in different ways, depending if it’s for short or long term memory.
Short term memory might include someone’s name that you just met at a party and long term memory helps you recall childhood happenings.
While short and long term memories aren’t usually affected by aging, recent situations such as where you parked your car in a big parking lot might be.
There are ways that you can help preserve your memory and keep remembering things you need to remember.
For example, keep lists of things you need to do and follow a routine as closely as possible is a good way to safeguard your memory.
Calendars are a great way to keep track of appointments, bills that are due and places you need to be.
Learn something new – from a table game such as chess to Latin dance classes.
Dancing has an added benefit of keeping your body busy as well as your stimulating the mind.
Include exercise in your daily health plan and stick to a diet that’s good for your mind and body.
Everyone forgets a word they want to use once in awhile, but if this is happening often, practice recalling names, do crossword puzzles and play scrabble to keep a plethora of words in your memory.
Besides the side effects of aging, depression may cause memory loss as can dementia, medications, strokes, amount of alcohol consumed, and the worst – Alzheimer’s disease.
If you suspect that any of these situations may be the problem causing your memory loss, see your doctor and be sure to write down all the symptoms so that she can better diagnose the problem.
Memory problems are irritating, but rarely severe.
If it begins to affect your lifestyle and the problems begin to seriously permeate your daily existence, don’t hesitate to seek medical help.
The sooner your memory problem is diagnosed, the quicker the condition can be improved with the proper help from your health care provider.
There are things you can do to prevent loss of memory caused by aging, including regular exercise.
Aerobic exercising can help increase blood supply to the brain, encourage the development of neurons and helps them all to connect properly.
Also, a balanced diet can do wonders for your memory.
Research has proven that those who eat nutritional diets are smarter than those who frequent a high fat and unhealthy diet.
If you think you’re not getting enough vitamins and nutrients, take a supplement and to be sure that it benefits your brain, be sure to take folic acid, Vitamins C and E and B6 and B12.
All of these lifestyle changes benefit your brain and act as insurance against memory loss. Remember, it’s never too late!