If you are hungry, angry, lonely or tired…
Don’t even bother trying to remember stuff. It is going to be super hard.
So first address those problems. Eat something, take a nap or go for a brisk walk. I know it might sounds silly but seriously it’s going to be very hard to remember stuff if you are not in the right frame of mind.
Now that isn’t to say that you must be 100% awake, happy and adequately fuled by high quality food, but it sure helps. But seriously, try to fix just a few of the “mental” issues that are seemingly unrelated to memory formation and I bet your ability to memorize stuff improve drastically.
Now, that you have fixed some of the easy baseline cognitive function disabilities let’s move on to…
This is a very abbreviated version of memory associations. For further depth check out this article.
In a nutshell, on the most basic level, our memory works by comparing what we already know to something we don’t. This is called an association. When we are children this is constantly going on. Have you ever noticed why children are constantly asking question?
“what’s this for?”
“why is that?”… “why?”
“why? why? Can I eat that?”
Well friend, the reason children are constantly asking these sometimes annoying questions is because they are forming new associations. They are encoding all this new knowledge into their brains so they can be happy well adjusted intelligent adults.
Example: Most children learn what an apple is fairly soon. It’s a delicious fruit, they come in lots of colors, and eating one per day keeps the doctor away. Now what happens when the child is introduced to a pear?
Well the adult says “it’s kind of like an apple, but it taste just a littler different, and it’s soooo delicious you must eat it!”
The child then thinks “I know apple. I like apple. Pear is like apple. Pear is safe and good to eat.”
Thus a new memory is formed by creating the association and connection between apple and pear.
How can we use associations?
Well obviously most adults already know about both apples and pears. We take it for granted because we’ve already made the association so long ago.
So you’re going to have to use a bit of creativity, which by the way helps with overall brain function when we stretch ourselves to think of and try new things.
Let’s imagine that we have a doctor’s appointment. I used to always forgot them, probably because I hate going, but it’s also important that we go. The appointment is set for next Monday at 2pm.
Now how the heck are we going to memorize that?
Well in my case I know that the doctor’s first name is Mark. So I will be seeing Mark on a Monday. And I also know he has 2 daughters. 2 daughters… 2PM… Mark on a Monday.
I have a doctor’s appoint on Monday with Mark at 2PM and he’s got 2 daughters!
Hey wait, his office is also in the next town over in Maine, and his office is 2 exits after my favorite Chinese food place
Mark’s office is Maine is 2 exits from my favorite Chinese food place…and I have an appointment at 2PM on Monday with Mark!
Now your getting it…
Just remember you have to keep practicing this stuff. It might seem a little hokey, but it works, and if you constantly apply it you won’t have trouble remembering new information.
Enjoy your new memory associations and if you really want to get crazy check out this research about neural fingerprints and memory.