In spite of great books about memory and the brain’s amazing ability to remember, we still search frantically for keys as we fly out the door. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Books such as, How to Develop a Perfect Memory, by Dominic O’Brien, work well for those interested in remembering things like an entire deck of playing cards. And drawing from neuro-discoveries you can learn or create brain based tools to retrieve facts when you need them. How so?
Overlook keys? – Every time you put them down, snap them onto a bag you usually carry.
Forget names? Use them a few times to address the person soon after hearing the name.
Fishing for facts to ace a test? Draw simple pictures with details, as you read or study these facts.
Forget directions to Martha’s house and end up at Harry’s instead? Jot down street names and left or right turns.
Surprisingly, forgetfulness comes from the ways we train our brains – often by default – to think more like slugs. Frustration tends to follow, whenever we’re expected to perform like a race horse, and head from the gates with the brain of a slug. People who override the brain’s default for forgetting, tend to remember more when they reach into memory for names, keys, or directions. Do you?
Forgetfulness can follow from everyday choices you make, that rewire your synapses against remembering. Here are five surefire ways to empty key facts from your memory, while prompting people around you to expect you’ll forget again in future:
1. Eat a heavy meal before you give a talk and you’ll have to call your brain back to attention, for every bite it’s now working hard to digest. You just assigned your brain to the busy role of digesting. With a brain’s shifted focus, how can you expect facts to pop up simply because you’re next on the speaker’s list.
2. Panic when key words flee, and you teach your mind to misfire or defend panic, more than to create new neuron pathways to memory you need. Still looking for keys to open that door? One way to remember, is to hook keys onto the same familiar place. Panic may seem far faster on a busy day, but it robs brainpower from remembering?
3. Flip your keys into any corner nearby, and your brain fails to record the chaos created from constantly changing locations. Disorganized people simply see tossing things around as part of getting on with their day, the brain. Unfortunately, disorder builds a basal ganglia in the brain for confusion – so it’s no wonder a poor brain fails to remember the last dark hole’s location.
4. Tell yourself that memory leaks out with age, and watch your brain abandon dynamic plasticity and live up to your expected loss. That way your brain abandons its natural proclivity to remember and takes on the easier role of the slug you’ve assigned it. Remember, your brain is shaped by what you expect of it, and memory’s limited each time you perpetuate memory misconceptions. Eventually a new reality hard-wires in and you’ll forget what’s needed to keep your brain fueled and well oiled. You’ll forget that memory’s more about use it or lose it than about age.
5. Blast somebody near you for your lost keys, and your mind fills with the stress hormone, cortisol, that precludes remembering where they’re hiding. Cortisol comes with angry words, and shuts down the brain’s help to remember. Anger leaves you alone to find your damn keys again, on your own – without memory’s keen guidance. Has it happened to you?
The flip side of memory loss – is to develop tactics that sharpen memory when you need it most. For example, hook new fact onto something already known. Whenever you link ideas to something familiar, you hang new knowledge hat onto familiar hooks inside your cranium. See why it sticks?
When new facts hook onto known facts, your brain remembers where to find both. Has it happened to you? Take the lost keys, discussed earlier. I hook keys in the same place daily and luckily haven’t had to search for years. What do you hope to remember today?
People far younger than me waste endless hours looking for lost keys, while new research about memory and aging brains brings amazing good news monthly for those who use its tools.
Learned forgetfulness can be turned around today into a new brain based memory tool for tomorrow. New research about plasticity enables you to rewire your brain nightly as you sleep. It’s based on activities you do in memory’s favor that day. In other words, try any of the tips in this post, and that action alone will build new dendrite cell changes for remembering.
Try any of the new tricks here and jog your memory to calm down and retrieve facts you need.
Start here just for the fun of remembering – and then try one that adds zip to your day.
a. Eat light and avoid fats and sugars before a talk, presentation or a think tank.
b. Stay calm and link what to hear to what you already know so when you hear a name – link it to a feature on a person’s face. I once met a guy called “Harry Bignose,” who had a hairy nose the size a country pump. Ok – that one was easy.
c. Attach a small hook onto your keys and snap them onto a belt or bag, but make sure it is the same place repeatedly, so your brain grows new neuron connectors for finding keys in the same place.
d. Tell somebody else about these tips and tools to improve memory. Did you know that to teach a thing at the same time you learn it, helps you retain 90% more of what you learn. Not bad returns for a simple lesson to help a forgetful friend.
e. Thank people around you for anything they do in your favor. That way your brain runs on serotonin, a hormone that fuels well being, and opens the brain to peak memories, just as anger can teach the brain to forget.
Did I just say you can teach your brain to forget? Ok, it’s true … and now the secret is out. Your brain operates more by how you use it, than by your age. Good news for those who plan more than gracious and expect to age voraciously – with memory in tact.
It’s often a simple case of outsourcing core facts, to free up your mind to relax and enjoy the day. How so? Why not remember directions next time a person tells you three turns at main intersections – by outsourcing brief details into a list written to ensure your memory’s peak performance to get you there.
By the way, interesting new research shows that emotions survive after memories vanish.