Categories
Psychology Science

Tips for boosting your memory and brain power

If you’re looking to boost your memory and brain power, this video contains some excellent tips and reminders.

In summary:

  • Exercise. Physical exercise helps form new brain cells and solidifies existing neurons. It also increases the hippocampus brain area which is responsible for memory and learning.
  • Never stop learning. Learning something new builds new brain cells. In fact, parts of your brain shrink when you stop learning. Be a life-long learner!
  • Play music. Learning to play music stimulates your verbal memory. This is because music training improves your left temporal lobe.
  • Use Mnemonics. Associate new information with a shortcut of memorable images, sentences, or simple words. Also, try the Acrostic and Mind Palace techniques. The more you can combine words with images, the stronger your brainpower. Keep in mind what Einstein said about creativity.
  • Gain new experiences. Do small things like eating with your weaker hand to stimulate more connections between areas of your brain. Such practice also strengthens nerve cells and ward off the negative impact of aging.
  • Try brain games. You can also work out your brain with puzzles, crosswords, or Sudoku. Playing brain games improves cognition and keeps surviving neurons active.
  • Eat omega-rich foods. Your brain needs omega-3 fatty acids to function at its optimal level.
  • Challenge your brain. It’s vital to do small tasks like practicing math skills so you don’t outsource all your thinking to computers.

Above all, stay mentally active by engaging in mental stimulation. That does not mean chasing the nearest dopamine hit. Do any of the above tips on a daily basis instead.

Categories
Creativity Psychology Writing

Write a memoir to make sense of your life

“Why write? To write. To make something.”

Claude Simon

Most people think of writing as a creative outlet. But it’s also an instrument for coping.

According to recent studies, writing your own memoir has various psychological benefits. Whether for private eyes or for public viewing, writing extensively about traumatic events helps you break free from the cage of anxiety.

“Psychologists believe that by converting emotions and images into words, the author starts to organize and structure memories, particularly memories that may be difficult to comprehend and accept.”

Words can save your life

Making sense of the past not only gives you perspective, it also strengthens your personal operating system by refocusing attention on what matters.

Want to better control your inner-narrative? Consider funneling your thoughts from mind to paper by starting your own memoir.


Categories
Life & Philosophy

Memories reconstructed

Memory is reconstruction. We capture an image in our mind’s eye and recreate it with the code in our brain when it needs recalling. #gif

Memory is reconstruction. We capture an image in our mind’s eye and recreate it with the code in our brain when it needs recalling.

The problem today is that most of what we see is on screen. Our mind encodes both reality and irreality, often generating exaggerations such as the dream for human wings.

The greatest secret of a powerful memory is to bring information to life with your endless imagination.

Kevin Horsley, Unlimited Memory

The symbiosis between physical and digital bytes fuse a mirage of mind movies. In the search for meaning, we rely on reproducing imaginary blocks in our head.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work Tech

How to rest and reflect in the age of speed

As digital technology colonizes our minds, self-reflection is becoming ever more critical.

But not just any reflection. We think best through slices of boredom, gratitude, and mental processing.

Boredom

No one ever died sitting and doing nothing or staring out into space. Quiet moments permit the mind to wander, dance with fear, and revel in fleeting thoughts. There’s a reason why people get their best ideas in the tub. 

Sometimes we need to turn it all off. The tension between forced stillness and resisting another splash of smartphone dopamine makes for good quality thought control. 

Gratitude

Spend time thinking about what you’re grateful for every morning. Get yourself a gratitude journal if you need help inculcating the gratitude practice.  

Focusing gently on how your life depends on others helps nourish the ego. 

Processing

Reflection also comes in the form of deliberate processing. If you want to remember more, you can try two things. 

One, you can teach something to yourself as if you were a child. Avoid confusing yourself with complicated words and other jargon. 

The other mental processing hack is reducing interference. Give your brain a 10-15 minute rest by sitting in a quiet room with dimmed lights. Leave the phone and any other potential distractions in the other room. The only quest is an effortless brain rest. 

Reflection comes in many forms, a habit vital to success in today’s fast-paced, screen-obsessed mobile culture.

Categories
Creativity

Memory is not the enemy of creativity

Great find by Alan Jacobs from the book The Craft of Thought by Mary Carruthers, where it’s pointed out that medieval culture emphasized memorization as means of innovation.

The orator’s “art of memory” was not an art of recitation and reiteration but an art of invention, an art that made it possible for a person to act competently within the “arena” of debate (a favorite commonplace), to respond to interruptions and questions, or to dilate upon the ideas that momentarily occurred to him, without becoming hopelessly distracted, or losing his place in the scheme of his basic speech. That was the elementary good of having an “artificial memory.” …

I repeat: the goal of rhetorical mnemotechnical craft was not to give students a prodigious memory for all the information they might be asked to repeat in an examination, but to give an orator the means and wherewithal to invent his material, both beforehand and — crucially — on the spot. Memoria is most usefully thought of as a compositional art. The arts of memory are among the arts of thinking, especially involved with fostering the qualities we now revere as “imagination” and “creativity.”

Perhaps rote memoritization isn’t so bad as it seems, assuming its foundation leads on to creative forms of thinking.

Categories
Psychology Science

The woman who never forgets…anything

Imagine having a “highly superior autobiographical memory” (H.S.A.M).

That’s the case for Australian Rebecca Sharrock who remembers everything from the time she was born to what she did on any particular Saturday a decade ago. ALL in clear detail.

[clickToTweet tweet=”‘People can remember what they did last Saturday but I can remember what I did Saturday ten years ago.'” quote=”‘People can remember what they did last Saturday but I can remember what I did Saturday ten years ago.'”]

Only 60 people in the world are known to have the memory condition. And while it comes with benefits — she can even remember every word from the Harry Potter books — there are negative moments in her life that she can’t forget. Yet, even when times get tough she can recall the good memories to balance it out.

Amazing.