Train Your Brain
Here is a quick and informative article, from the link above, that is of a practical nature for those of us trying to search out the validity and reliability of research about neuroplasticity and neurogenesis.
I have used tools like this for years, since I have an ADD style of memory, which means I can remember where a report or letter is by location in a stack. Heaven forbid filing it, I will never remember what I filed the letter under.
And that means I work in an office away from everyone else, but I enjoy that too.
And it is training for the brain.
Train Your Brain Without Strain
Tuesday, February 19, 2008 10:28 AM
By: Sylvia Booth Hubbard
Just because you can’t remember someone’s name or you forgot where you put your keys doesn’t mean you’re losing your edge or – if you’re a certain age – having a “senior moment.” Experts believe we forget because we never make the proper effort to remember in the first place, often being so busy or distracted that the information we want to remember never gets effectively stored in the right place in our brain to begin with. Here are some tips to help you remember, and if you “train your brain” to follow these tips religiously, you’ll soon regard your memory as a good friend instead of a treacherous enemy.
Brain Tip #1: “What’s their name?” The key to remembering is paying attention – undivided attention – to what you want to remember. Take a few seconds out of your life and really and truly concentrate on the person you’re being introduced to: pronounce their name, ask about the spelling, perhaps associate them with someone else with the same name, such as someone you went to school with. Use their name in conversation (it’s music to their ears, anyway), and try to tie some kind of strong, positive emotion to making their acquaintance, whether it’s a favorable opinion of the sound of their voice, or youthful appearance, or anything else positive and memorable. The stronger the emotion, the stronger the memory. When the meeting is over, immediately make notes on a business card if they’ve given you one (“red hair, spiffy dresser, etc.”), or make a few notes on your laptop or in your planner. (Make the details sensorily rich, with color, sound, smell, touch if you can, like the color of socks, or is he wearing a bow tie, for example. I can still remember the smell of my father's Brylcream too.)
Brain Tip #2: “Where did I put my (whatever)?” If you know you can’t keep up with your glasses, your keys, your cell phone, etc., today is the day you need to become more deliberate and develop unbreakable habits with these items. One of the worst things you can do – and everyone has done this at one time or another – is to put something “where you’ll be sure to remember where it is.” (Such items usually turn up months later after you’ve already replaced them!) In your office or at home, keep a small basket at hand where you can toss your keys, cell phone, etc., until you need them again. If you’re out and about, take ten seconds to put an item away with great deliberation, and tell yourself you’re doing it so you’ll have a clear memory. (Quick double checks help out with this. Keys still in my back pocket?)
Brain Tip #3: “What do I need to do today?” The best advice of experts is to take a few moments before you actually begin working to make a list, and then follow it throughout the day. If you’re driving or don’t have note making materials at hand, try associating the things you have to do with something you’re already well-familiar with, such as the rooms in your house or your office. If you have to finish a report first thing, imagine your kitchen piled high with copies of it, with perhaps something of them catching fire on the stove. If you have to pick up groceries after work, imagine each item you need laid out in your living room, with frozen items melting all over your carpet. Outlandish thoughts help when it comes to memory. Make colorful associations of different tasks with different rooms, then go from room to room in your mind until you’ve recalled everything.
Brain Tip #4: “I can’t memorize things the way I used to!” To begin with, always give yourself a chance to learn. Don’t expect to read something once and then recall it perfectly. Isolate yourself and say aloud what you’re trying to remember. Turn off the TV and the iPod, and surround yourself with silence except for what you’re trying to recall. Write down what you’re trying to memorize, then perhaps record it and play it back. More than one person has made out “cheat sheets” for taking an exam, only to discover that after they organized the material and wrote it down, they remembered it without having to use their notes. Also, try going over the material just before you go to sleep at night – often your brain “files” the material while you sleep and recalls it more easily the next day.
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