As you age, you may feel like your memory is slowly losing its ability to store as much information like it used to.
Although this is a natural occurrence, you can do things and various exercises to help yourself not easily lose its grip when it comes to remembering things and better your memory.
Memory is defined in psychology as the mental ability of an organism to retain and store as well as recall information.
In the older days, the study of memory falls under the fields of philosophy. People even dig up on techniques to artificially enhance it.
In the late 19th up to the early 20th century, the study of memory became part of the paradigms of the cognitive psychology. As of today, this is one of the major fields in the branch of science known as cognitive neuroscience.
How the Memory Works
There are three stages that happen when you form and retrieve information as part of your memory.
First, the information is encoded or registered once it is received by your brain.
After that, your brain tries to create a permanent record of the information and store as much as it could.
Whenever the need arises, your brain will help you recall the stored information and retrieve whatever will help you in the circumstance that you are in.
Disorders Associated with Memory
The most common disorder that is being incurred in this regard is the loss of memory, also known as amnesia.
There are many types of amnesia and studies are being done continuously to know more about the field as well as to solve the dilemma.
Other known disorders that usually hit older people is the Alzheimer’s disease.
There is also a disorder that centers into one’s autobiographical memory or when they cannot dismiss even the littlest details. This is known as the hyperthymesia syndrome.
Holding Memory Back
How many habitual thought patterns do you have that hold you back? These damaging beliefs hold people back from success and contentment.
Negative thoughts such as:
I can’t do it, I’m not smart enough, I don’t have the money, or I’m not attractive.
Inefficient patterns including:
procrastination, consistent tardiness, working under stress, disorganization, lack of focus.
Faulty beliefs like:
You can’t make a living doing what you love.
You have to do it alone.
In order to win, someone has to lose.
All of these thoughts, patterns and beliefs are learned, usually at a very young age, and become part of memory that FEELS true. In other words, they seem so integral to who you are that you cannot imagine yourself without them.
Conditions for Better Memory
Many people are experiencing memory problems, regardless of age, gender, or stature. So don’t think only aging people can experience forgetfulness because everyone can encounter memory loss from time to time.
If you want to have a sharper memory, you will find these conditions essential:
1) Focus well and be attentive.
If you get distracted easily by things around you, then it will take you longer to memorize and remember things. Try to find a quiet room and concentrate on what you are reading, learning, or observing.
2) Be interested in what you want to remember or memorize.
Let’s say you love to study Psychology more than any other subjects in the world.
Do you think you would remember your lessons in Psychology more than your studies in Math, Literature, and other subjects?
You bet. By becoming more interested in the subject matter, you are also giving more attention to it. In so doing, this increases your chances of retrieving it from your memory anytime you wish.
3) Have the imagination of a child.
Be creative. Many memory techniques require the practitioner to think of the most outrageous and exaggerated images or pictures in order to remember certain facts or information.
The funnier and more out-of-this-world the images, the better chances you will retain data in your mind.
4) Have a healthy lifestyle.
Eat less fat and consume more foods rich in vitamins and minerals, especially beta-carotene. Drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, engage in cardiovascular exercises, relax and be happy always.
By doing these, your mind will benefit as much as your body.
So much for that, it will be cool to actually remember all the names of the people we meet or recite from memory all of the books that we have read, right? But not all people are blessed with a photographic memory that can capture a lot of data.
The most that most people can do is to remember about 50 percent of the details in the books that they have read and recalled about 10 names in the 50 people they meet.
But hey, this does not mean that we should all give up wanting to make our memory better.
Although we cannot actually make our memory as powerful as one with a photographic memory, we can at least improve its processes so that we can recall more names than we usually do.
This is especially true with people who are already aging. As we grow older, our memory slips. This is why most of our grandfathers and mothers often forget a lot of things, even our names.
Below are some names on how to make your memory a little bit better. Read on and you might still be able to do something with that faulty memory of yours.
1. Start early
It is important to take care of the brain early on to avoid forgetfulness when old age comes. Brain development starts at a very young age, from 0-3 years old. It is during this time when your brain grows the fastest.
Although you may not have any power over your parents’ actions during this time, you can at least add to their care when you are much older, say 6 or 7 years old, by eating the right foods and avoiding as you grow old vices like cigarettes and alcohol which are proven to lessen memory skills.
2. Commit to the improvement
You should at least be able to commit to the task of bettering your memory. You may not realize it but it is not as simple as memorizing a grocery list and practicing your brain with crossword puzzles and memory games; you will also be changing the way you live your life and the food that you eat.
Changing your lifestyle and your diet takes a lot of gumption and self-discipline from you. You will not be able to do it if you do not commit wholeheartedly to the task.
Use your brain. Whether it is something as simple as reading a book or playing a strategy game like chess, exercising your brain will help keep those neurons awake and working.
In fact, studies have shown that those who answer crossword puzzles, read or generally use their brains will less likely become senile or acquire Alzheimer’s Disease. Using your brain will prevent it from being rusty and dusty.
One of the most common techniques to improve memory is to visualize words and things.
You see, the brain sees data as pictures. It will be easily stored and faster to retrieve if it is seen and visualized as one picture than when it is memorized as numbers or words.
For instance, if you are trying to memorize a grocery list, you do not memorize the words. You memorize the pictures of the things that you need to buy.
That way, when you go to the grocery store, you will remember to buy that item, bettering your memory in the process.
And here are additional bonus memory tips for you.
This can involve a relationship with a professional coach, a mentor, a trusted friend (co-coaching) or your own inner wisdom (self-coaching).
Make sure that anyone you enlist to help coach you is truly interested in helping you shift out of the old pattern. Sometimes the people who love us the most don’t want to see us change.
For the left-brained folks out there, sometimes, pure old reasoning works wonders. Let’s say you have a belief that you can’t make a living doing what you love.
Ask yourself, is it true? Can you think of anyone who DOES make a living doing what they love? I bet you can.
Once you find examples that disprove the belief embedded in the old one, you can begin looking to those examples each time you feel that old beliefs come up.
I know, affirmations got a bad rap. But affirmations work!
They begin to shift the neural programming by replacing the negative belief or pattern with a positive belief or pattern of your choice.
Here’s an example you could use to shift that old mind:
In an easy and graceful manner
In a healthy and joyous way
In its own perfect time
And in the highest good of all
I am now Being my True Self and Doing What I Love in order to create all the money required to live comfortably and securely.
You can use any or all of these techniques, or make up your own. Whatever method you choose to shift your old patterns and beliefs, repetition is the key.
If you’re a tennis player and want to improve your serve, what do you do? You have someone coach you on the most effective technique and then you go out and practice your serve over and over.
If you spent one hour a day for 30-days practicing your serve do you think you would see some improvement? You bet.