Our brains work by making connections. The human brain, while classified as an organ, is often alluded to as a muscle. This is due to its plasticity and ability to improve itself. Taking advantage of your brains existing organization by connecting new information to old is like relying on muscle memory. Use this amazing ability to your advantage as you follow these tips to improve your memory.
If you want to keep information, make it meaningful! Our brains weed out unnecessary information. You can walk in the same grocery store for a year and not be able to remember the pattern on the floor because that information isn’t worth your brain’s time to store. We remember best when things are important. This helped our ancient ancestors who needed to remember when certain plants and animals were dangerous. The more images, emotions and concepts you can connect to a single piece of information, the better you will be able to recall it later.
Mnemonics help us store detailed, complex information in our brains in a sneaky way. We tell our brain to remember something simple, catchy or patterned, maybe even set to a jaunty tune. Then when we recall the information later, we follow the patterns to retrieve the intended more complex knowledge.
Chunking helps take disparate information and present it to your brain for storage as a single concept. Research proves that humans are best at remembering lists which have 7 or fewer items. We use a chunking technique to help is remember longer lists, such as a string of digits for a phone number.