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Enhance your memory

At times it becomes difficult to recall the dozens of new things that we see, hear, feel or learn each day.

india Updated: Feb 01, 2007 12:42 IST

At times it becomes difficult to recall the dozens of new things that we see, hear, feel or learn each day.

You might meet new people, whose names and faces you need to remember, there might be an unrelated list of things that you have to buy, an arbitrary string of digits like a phone number, passwords, new words that you read, or a lesson at school.

But invariably, facts and figures just slip away from your mind, leaving you helpless and cursing your memory. But, as psychologists believe, the human brain has a limitless capacity for holding information.

Our brain can never 'overflow' with too much information. We all have a good memory, but we need to give it some exercise in order to sharpen it. Here are some tips:

Assume a positive attitude towards leaning new things. Your attitude has much to do with whether you remember things or not.

In order to remember something thoroughly, you must be interested in it and believe that it will add value in your life.

Pay attention to what you're learning and decide to remember it.

Visualise. The brain's quickest and longest-lasting response is to images. Make vivid, colourful, sense-laden mental pictures for everything you see or hear.

Nothing exists in isolation in our mind. Everything is related, and so we have to be creative and form 'associations', in order to remember things. For example, your friend's birthday is on May 2.

Link this piece of information with the way she looks… be wicked, funny or intelligent. So you can probably visualise her with her eyeballs popping out with anger (two eyes for the date), showing you her fist (five fingers for the fifth month).

Review notes right after class to remember them better.

Repeat things over and over — aloud.

Incorporate learned material in your daily life and as part of your habits. Use new words at every given opportunity, throw new facts at people, or role play.

To test your retention power, explain what you have just memorised to a friend, dog or plants. If you can't explain something, you don't really know it.

Make words out of the first letters of a series of words you are trying to remember (acronyms).

A popular acronym is VIBGYOR, used to remember the order of colours of the spectrum (Violet, Indigo, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange and Red.

Make up stories and rhymes with facts and figures. Use humour! Funny or peculiar things are easier to remember than pedestrian ones.

In your mind, link together items, visually. For example, if you have a list of groceries such as cereal, milk and toilet paper, you might try visualising a cow eating cereal, wrapped in toilet paper.

Take an imaginary walk in your mind through a familiar path and associate items you are trying to remember.

For example, you may take the same grocery list and place the items (visually in your imagination) throughout your room.

First Published: Feb 01, 2007 12:42 IST