Igniting Your Memory
The next few chapters will focus on additional memory tips and techniques that can help expand your capacity to store, remember, and recall what you need to succeed on exams and exponentially increase your knowledge. Many of these tips may seem silly or fun, but that's the point – a little levity, relaxation, and health and wellness focus goes a long way to helping your brain to do its thing. After all, the brain is the most powerful machine a person really has and technology has yet to replicate what it is capable of doing. Therefore, like any machine, you have to give it proper maintenance in order to get the optimum performance.
- Provide heavy doses of sleep and exercise: Physical techniques help the mental muscle perform better and ignite your memory function. Let's start with every students' favourite pastime – sleep. Despite feeling like you have to compromise your hours of slumber because of work and school obligations, do your best to get the necessary number of hours. That is because research has uncovered that sleep actually helps aid memory consolidation. During the deepest stages of sleep is when the most memory enhancements take place. Miss out on that deep sleep and you quickly lower your memory skills. Now to the least favourite – exercise. If anything stimulates the brain, it is good heart-pumping exercise because it increases the oxygen flow to your brain and reduces your chances of health problems that lead to memory loss like diabetes and heart disease. Science also believes that exercise can encourage brain chemicals that guide memory and also protect brain cells from vulnerabilities.
- Watch your diet: They say garbage in, garbage out. So, if you do not want garbage coming out of your brain, then you need to feed your body a balanced and nutrition-packed diet of foods designed to build your muscles, including your mental muscle. This includes increasing omega-3s in our diet from fatty fish as this is known to boost brainpower. Also increase fruits and vegetables but stay away from foods with saturated fats. Limiting alcohol consumption also helps to limit the brain cell that are actually killed off by alcohol.
- Make room for fun: Despite feeling overwhelmed by school and maybe even a job, always make time for diversions that help the brain take a moment to focus on other things that are less intensive or that are different than the task at hand. This could be anything from time with friends or movies to crossword puzzles or games.
- Focus on healthy relationships: Your partner or other platonic relationships are all important contributors to how well your brain works. Being social and enjoying the emotions that come from being in love or in experiencing happiness are also thought by the scientific powers that be to exercise the brain and provide benefits that offer restorative powers to the brain. And, it might even be that those happy and healthy emotions help stimulate the release of certain chemicals to the brain that make it chug along faster and more effectively.
- Laugh: Science has again discovered that laughter engages various areas of the brain and helps to activate learning and creativity whilst reducing stress and tension that builds up in all muscles of the body, including the brain.
- Put Stress in its Place: Stress can do physical damage, including wreaking havoc on the brain, reducing your focus and concentration, creative juices, learning capacity and memory recall. Meditation and other methods designed to reduce stress are excellent ways to calm down and refocus on the more important things, helping the brain to refocus and rebuild a strong mental sharpness and memory capacity.
- Create a Mental Exercise Plan: Just like having a physical exercise plan, you need a mental exercise plan that combines various types of mental exercises in order to not get stuck on a plateau where no further improvements are made. The more you use the brain, the better it becomes; the less you use it, you simply lose that brain capacity and it becomes harder and harder to retrieve as you age. Try a new intellectually-stimulating activity like chess or a brain game. You can also try something that is more challenging like learning a new language, an instrument, a sport, or some other activity. Make sure everything you do in your mental exercise plan has some fun associated with it so you will stick with it.
Now that you have some of your lifestyle issues adapted to your memory ignition programme, here are some other quick tips that can enhance your learning potential and memory capacity:
- Involve all the senses: when you involve your senses to look at colours, smells, tastes, and sounds that all play into what you are learning, you can recall it much easier. This is why the mind mapping activity mentioned earlier often works so well.
- Play the relation game: Like with using the senses, find out where else you can connect the new information to whether it was a personal experience, geographical area, song or celebrity. Grouping the information in this way helps to bring it back to the top of your mind quickly.
- Get the basics and the complex stuff will follow: Whenever anyone is hit with something more challenging than they can process, the typical reaction is mental panic where the mind goes blank or the door to the knowledge library closes on any more entrants. Take a step back and start with the information connected to that complex subject that you do understand and gradually inch closer to the other stuff that seems more challenging. This puts your mind in the right frame to accept something different.
- Rehearse your information: Say it out loud as though you are memorising the lines for a play or event. Even turning the verbalisation process into a rhythmic delivery as if it was a song helps to increase your memorisation ability.
- Pay attention: Sounds obvious right? The problem is that we live in a fast-forward world where we are inundated with information so much so that it becomes overload and then becomes hard to focus. Clear out the static and white noise around you (including turning off all those electronic devices) and tune into what is being said or what you are reading.
Now that some basics around your lifestyle and learning are underway, it's time to go deeper into the learning toolbox for some very helpful memory tools. Next up is a focus on imagination and association.