This post is a follow-up of “Matters of the Mind: “How to Be a Mentalist: Master the Secrets Behind the Hit TV Show”, by Simon Winthrop”. Since I am expanding upon the second lesson I discussed, Improve Your Memory, you will find some tips on how to do that. The first two are more general things you should do to improve the health of your brain, and the last is broken down into a variety of practical strategies that help you memorize information.
As I am writing this post, I am surrounded by the beautiful, strong scent of a small bouquet of lilies. Together with the rays of the sun entering through the large windows, they make the perfect distraction for the winter that’s outside. In fact, I have to keep reminding myself that the temperature outside is below zero degrees Celsius.
But now on to the topic of the post, which is one I am very excited about, simply because of its practicality. We all hope to have a great memory, and some of us seem to have it come to them naturally. But what about the rest of us (and yes, I’m including myself in the group)? Well, we can exercise our way to an improved capacity of recalling! Here are some tips:
1) Do Physical Exercise
When I said that we would need to exercise our way to a good memory, I meant it; both figuratively and literally. Engaging in physical exercise is helpful on so many fronts that it should be done as often as possible. Now there’s another reason to do it: it helps your mind work better!
Exercising prevents a variety of mental disorders, because it increases blow flow in the brain. Increased blood flow in the brain also results in a better ability to learn and remember. And the best part? It doesn’t require you to pay for expensive therapy treatments. Read more about a study on how exercising improves memory here.
2) Don’t Stress it
That’s easy enough to say, and terribly complicated to achieve. So let’s break it down into things you can do to reduce the stress. Exercising, which I talked about above, is one thing that can help take the edge off. But there’s more you can do.
First, get your sleep. Not any kind of sleep, but one that is good and enough. Sleep helps you function at your best, and reduces the likelihood of you getting stressed at pointless things. Memory is also consolidated while you sleep, which is why you shouldn’t skip it.
Start relaxing. You can do that in a number of ways. For example, you may choose to take a long bath, watch your favorite TV show, or read a book. Another way, which is most effective for the majority of people, is meditating. It has been proven that it helps those who do it on a regular basis concentrate, learn, feel happier, and reduce stress.
3) Make the Most Out of Mnemonic Devices
Now, let’s see what are the things you can do to help you memorize easier:
a) Memory Palace
This is talked about in “How to Be a Mentalist”, because it shows up on the show quite a few times. Basically, the trick here is using a place (a room, a house, a road) that you are extremely familiar with. Then, break down the things you have to remember into parts, and place them in sections of your memory palace. When you’re trying to remember what you have to do, imagine yourself taking a walk through your “palace”, and hopefully, the images you planted there will pop out.
b) Visualize it
Pain vivid images in your mind that are related to what you have to remember. Do a good job at it, and make those images as complex and as beautiful as possible, because it will increase your chances of remembering. A concrete, but simplified example of that can be used when learning someone’s name for the first time: Imagine that their name is written in clear letters on their forehead, and see where that gets you.
That’s not an actual word, but I sort of like it. Anyway, have you ever wondered why nursery songs rhyme? Besides making them sound pleasant, rhyming also helps people remember things easier. Start making rhymes up for what you have to remember, and chances are, you’ll get better at it (both at making rhymes and at remembering).
d) Group things together
Breaking things down into parts and attempting to memorize them that way is much easier than trying to remember an entire long and complicated list. We already do it a lot when it comes to phone numbers, so why not bring that into other aspects as well?
Yes, they can be a great way to sort things and make them easier to remember. The reason is that they make you reduce information down to a few letters that will trigger recall.
That’s about it for today. I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed making it. When it comes to trying to remember and memorize things, the most important thing to keep in mind is that you should engage with the needed information as much as possible. Repeating it may be useful, but try taking it a step further by implementing some of the devices I outlined above.
- Immutable Intelligence (maxtonchaucer.wordpress.com)