“Memory is the guardian of all things” -Cicero
The remarkable ability to keep the mind active throughout life requires conscious effort. What we loosely refer to as memory is in fact, many different processes that occur in the brain. The concept of memory can be divided into Short term memory and Long term memory. These are fundamentally different, albeit interacting processes. Only a fraction of short term memory gets converted into long term storage. When an event goes into long term, the brain synthesizes protein for new dendrites and axon pathways after deciding whether an event it is experiencing is important enough for retention. The frontal lobes of the brain, the hippocampus and the cortex are all involved actively in the storage of facts, retention and retrieval.
The key to building a memory power that lasts is to be able to associate a new fact with an old one. Our memories can be kept active and working. Imagine being at a meeting and you are the only person who can recite the company’s mission statement, imagine what a boost that’ll be. A number of methods can be employed in keeping the memory active. A bored mind can be jolted to action by becoming increasingly curious. This helps the self awareness and gives an edge, where others have refused to tread; you’ll be there and be ahead-talk of the edge it gives. Another method is the use of mnemonics, or memory aids.
Remember the letters used to memorise notes on the bass cleff ACEG (All cows eat grass) this is effective when there are vast amount of information to commit to memory. All there is to it, is to represent a particular fact with a letter. At the end, you have many letters which can be strung together into meaningful wholes for easy recall.. You just bring the letters to mind, and you have the information at your beck and call. Remember a time when you felt very happy, I mean very happy. Imagine yourself back in that state, the dresses you wore, the people around, the music in the background, the aroma in the air…………you are possibly smiling now!
The cortex houses long term memories in various regions. Various emotions, either positive or negative, help to store scenes in the memory. The use of emotions consciously helps greatly in committing facts to memory. Imagine yourself back in the state while you were happy; keep the mental pictures as sharp as you can. In that relaxed state, commit whatever to memory .At the time of recall, go back to that state in your mind, see, you tricked your mind to store a fact. To commit a long list to memory, this is particularly good for people going for shopping, try this. Arrange the items in a very crazy way, the key here is creativity, for example Key, whale, ship, sand Imagine yourself holding a very big key; you insert it into the side of a whale (think of the whale as an aeroplane!)You turn the key and open a very big side of the whale.
Out of the side of the whale, comes a very big ship that collides with you as it makes for the sea, its’ so big that it pulls the whale with it. You get the gist- Key, whale, ship, and sand-of course you can’t stand on water! .The key here is the use of crazy associations-next time you have to go shopping, string your items together like this you get to keep in mind a lot without missing any. Concentration is an important aspect of learning .staying focused on a particular thing and not allowing attention to waver is a skill that can be learnt. Simply sit down comfortably and still your mind, take deep breaths as you count from 30, exhale with each count.
After the exercise, stare at an object (maybe a stone): notice the details, the contours, the markings, the holes, the weight, and texture-take note of every feature it has and know the object so well that if it is mixed with others, you would be able to pick it out without any problems. Now imagine picking up the object in your mind and going over the whole process, do this for about 5 minutes-the main idea here is getting your mind to stay still and focused on a particular task at a time. You get to realise with time that things learnt in this state tend to stick faster, longer and better. “Let the weak say I am strong” Constant positive affirmations infect your subconscious mind. Anything you say, it picks it up and magnifies it.
Make it a habit to constantly affirm and say it to yourself that you have a very good strong and powerful memory; it goes a long way to keep one balanced on the mental level. The subconscious mind goes to work and helps to replicate the affirmation. This simply changes the outlook of the individual and instils confidence. However for the strict academic! Mind mapping is a good technique. It involves breaking the information to be memorised into little bits with the main points attached to the major heading.
- Memory Improvement
- Strong Emotions
This is a simple sample of a mind map, it can be more comprehensive, depending on facts to be memorised. Constant repetition of facts already learnt ,playing back images stored in the mind-helps to further entrench learnt matter .Most of what is learnt is quickly forgotten if the major links are not revised constantly. If this is done regularly, the hippocampus fixes it in the term memory for life. In conclusion- practice-practice-practice “Repetition is the mother of skill”.
Dele Adeleke is a prolific and talented writer,vast in a variety of topics and delivers on schedule.You could view my article samples on