Improving Memory Skills

Improving memory skills is dependent on exercise? Yes it is. Check this out from the Posit Science Brain Fitness folks

"Sue Halpern could have taken a cab -- was going to take a cab -- until she remembered the most crucial finding from her five years tracking cutting-edge memory studies: Aerobic exercise causes the brain to grow new cells in the dentate gyrus -- the very part of the hippocampus that degrades with normal, age-related memory loss (and the only area of the brain, apart from the olfactory center, that can grow new cells). What's more, people who exercised had higher cognitive scores and lower rates of dementia.

Walk more, remember more. So Halpern, 53, was making tracks.

"The exercise piece is phenomenal," she said. "Ultimately it's something that's available to almost all of us and it doesn't require a co-pay."

There are several other pillars of brain fitness that are important to the growth of new cells besides exercise, including nutrition, sleep, stress management, and novel learning experiences, which might include the use of computerized brain fitness programs like the Posit Science, the Mind Sparke Brain Fitness Pro, or the Lumosity tool. For an excellent over view, please check out Brainfit for Life by Simon Evans,Ph.D. and Paul Burghardt,Ph.D. who are neuroscientists at the University of Michigan.

Oh, You Wanted Traditional Improving Memory Skills Tools?

When I am working with my domestic violence clients, one of the things they have to do is recite their memory of the events leading to their participation in my psychoeducational program.

Most of them, with a bit of prompting, have very detailed memories of chaotic events happening that they participated in.

In fact, you can see from their nonverbal cues, as they recite the chronology of past events, when they become adigitated in my class room.

I am always amazed at how an autobiographical memory can bring back very strong emotions.

Many times, the intensity of the emotion is just as great as when the events were actually going on.

Those domestic violence recitations are examples of how strong emotion and visualization improve memory skills.

The improve memory mavens might say it this way though.

* Use vivid, colorful, sense-laden images - these are easier to remember than drab ones

* Use all your senses to code information or dress up an image. Remember that your mnemonic can contain sounds, smells, tastes, touch, movements and feelings as well as pictures.

So if I were studying for an exam today, I would build a series of mnemonic images which have some strong emotion attached to them, preferrably humorous. Using Your Whole Mind to Remember

The key idea is that by coding information using vivid mental images, you can reliably code both information and the structure of information. And because the images are vivid, they are easy to recall when you need them.

The techniques explained later on in this section show you how to code information vividly, using stories, strong mental images, familiar journeys, and so on.

You can do the following things to make your mnemonics more memorable:

* Use positive, pleasant images. Your brain often blocks out unpleasant ones * Use vivid, colorful, sense-laden images - these are easier to remember than drab ones * Use all your senses to code information or dress up an image. Remember that your mnemonic can contain sounds, smells, tastes, touch, movements and feelings as well as pictures. * Give your image three dimensions, movement and space to make it more vivid. You can use movement either to maintain the flow of association, or to help you to remember actions. * Exaggerate the size of important parts of the image * Use humor! Funny or peculiar things are easier to remember than normal ones. * Similarly, rude rhymes are very difficult to forget! * Symbols (red traffic lights, pointing fingers, road signs, etc.) can code quite complex messages quickly and effectively

Designing Mnemonics: Imagination, Association and Location

The three fundamental principles underlying the use of mnemonics are imagination, association and location. Working together, you can use these principles to generate powerful mnemonic systems.

Imagination: is what you use to create and strengthen the associations needed to create effective mnemonics. Your imagination is what you use to create mnemonics that are potent for you. The more strongly you imagine and visualize a situation, the more effectively it will stick in your mind for later recall. The imagery you use in your mnemonics can be as violent, vivid, or sensual as you like, as long as it helps you to remember.

Association: this is the method by which you link a thing to be remembered to a way of remembering it. You can create associations by:

* Placing things on top of each other * Crashing things together * Merging images together * Wrapping them around each other * Rotating them around each other or having them dancing together * Linking them using the same color, smell, shape, or feeling

As an example, you might link the number 1 with a goldfish by visualizing a 1-shaped spear being used to spear it.

Location: gives you two things: a coherent context into which you can place information so that it hangs together, and a way of separating one mnemonic from another. By setting one mnemonic in a particular town, I can separate it from a similar mnemonic set in a city. For example, by setting one in Wimbledon and another similar mnemonic with images of Manhattan, we can separate them with no danger of confusion. You can build the flavors and atmosphere of these places into your mnemonics to strengthen the feeling of location.

Memory Enhancement

Would You Share What You Are Most Grateful For?

Very early in my personal growth experience, a wise person taught me to use the phrase "gratitude is the attitude" when I was resentful or afraid and that phrase has helped me feel better tens of thousands of times.

Would you share your favorite gratitude story by clicking here? Your story may be just what another person needs to renew themselves.

Your story becomes part of this website (which shows the site's most recent pages) and a permanent part of Ask Mike the Counselor2 for others to read!

And I'll tweet your Web page at my Twitter account, too!

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