DID YOU KNOW THAT YOUR brain is designed to forget?
That’s right, to forget!
No, it’s not a misprint – your brain is working hard all day forgetting things, so that you won’t have a brain overload malfunction. Imagine what it would be like if your memory remembered every detail of every moment of your day! It would be like a camera clicking every nanosecond. Thankfully, your clever brain filters out everything it thinks you don’t need.
So … you need to give your brain clear signals about the things you want to remember – and here’s how:
1. PAY ATTENTION to what you need to remember.
Don’t expect to remember if you have glanced at (or half-listened to) something for a second or so. You need to concentrate for seven seconds if you want to remember something later. Try it – it will seem a long time but, if you spend this time repeating, connecting or visualizing the data, you will remember it.
2. Attach MEMORY TRACES to what you want to recall.
Connecting new information to something you already know, in as many ways as possible, is the key to recalling something later on. Whether it’s by using repetition, actions or taking a ‘mental photograph’, these connections form neural pathways to the information you have stored. The more memory traces, the more chances you have to retrieve those lost keys, glasses, wallets …
3. REVISIT new information.
To be absolutely sure you KNOW something, you need to revisit the information five times. Ebbinghaus, a German psychologist in the 19th Century was the first person to document how easily we forget information. One input is certainly not enough!
4. ORGANISE your surroundings.
Use ONE diary. Put everything in there so that you are not looking through several places each time you want to check something. Establish places for all of the items that you regularly lose, and use them! Hooks for your keys, drawer for your wallet, mobile, glasses and diary – all need a defined place where you put them. Concentrate while you place them there.
5. HELP your brain!
Use post-it notes, lists, alerts on your phone or computer, digital photos etc. – and pay close attention as you do it. Whatever you choose will be creating memory traces in your brain as you devise the reminders. (Often you don’t need the reminders at all because your clever brain has already stored the information you need.)
Forgetfulness can ruin your confidence – but this doesn’t have to be the story of your life. Taking a few easy actions can quickly provide certainty in your memory, every day.
THIS PIECE WAS PUBLISHED ON THE MEMORY FOUNDATION WEBSITE – WWW.MEMORY.FOUNDATION. FOR MORE TIPS AND EXPLANATIONS CHECK THE SITE OR GRAB A COPY OF THEIR BOOK: 7-DAY BRAIN BOOST PLAN BY DR. ALLISON LAMONT & GILLIAN EADIE.