Whilst the brain has the capabilities of absorbing and retaining anything and everything we see and hear on a conscious and subconscious level, sometimes to try and recall that information is very difficult.
Here are some ways to assist you:
1. Have the right frame of mind:
Make a concerted decision to ‘want to remember’. If your attitude is right it will open the door to better retention. Focus on the issue that requires your attention and force your mind not to wander.
2. Create pictures:
The language of the brain is visual. When we dream, we dream in pictures – not prose! Create a picture of what you want to remember and put yourself in the picture. It is far easier to remember pictures than words.
3. “To-Do” list:
Whilst studying or in meetings or about to fall asleep, jot the items down in your diary or a pad, which clutter the mind and prevent you from moving on. This will help clear the mind and allow you to relax and focus on the task at hand.
4. The ‘Totem Pole’:
Like the ancient Red Indians who carved numerous representations on a wooden pole in sequence, so we place our own list of items that we want to recall on our mental totem pole. The first item is converted into a picture that is very graphic; the next picture is ‘forced’ into the previous, and so on. This method allows us to recall many items on a list.
5. Name remembering:
When hearing a person’s name that you want to remember at a later stage, listen intently to the pronunciation. Repeat it to yourself at least 3 times and try to use the name in conversation. Repeat the name again at various intervals to check yourself.
To remember sequences or specific items that are related to each other, take the first letter of each item and make a word from them, e.g. To remember the excretory organs of the body: (Skin, Kidney, Intestine, Liver, Lungs) = SKILL
Another way to remember sequential items is to take the first letter from each word and insert another word starting with the same letter to make a sentence, e.g. To remember the order of sharps in music, called the “circle of fifths”. (F, C, G, D, A, E, B) = Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battle.
By repeating aloud the things you wish to remember, you are forcing the information directly into the brain through your ears. The more of your 5 senses you use, the more you are able to retain and recall the information. For example, when reading something try to hear the sounds when turning the page or even smell the book or magazine. Odours are powerful at conjuring memories from the past. Use your emotions to fill your memories with emotional content. It will be much easier to recollect those memories later.