Tips and Techniques For Improving Your Memory
Using mnemonics to improve your memory easily
Having a good memory is often considered to be down to pure luck – someone either has a good memory, or they don't. But there are many techniques using mnemonics you can use to improve your memory. It may often seem that people who naturally remember things well do it with ease, and without any technique at all, but they use memory games and methods to help them improve their memory, whether this is as a conscious decision or subconsciously.
The good news is you can improve your memory instantly. These tips and techniques don't need any length of time to work, and you don't gradually improve your memory over time, but you can put the techniques in force today, and your memory will be improved from today.
The first memory improving technique is number association. Say, for example, you wanted to learn a list of items you need to purchase at the supermarket. You could write a list on paper, or make a memo in your cell phone, or you can simply remember them.
For example, you are going to the store this afternoon and you need to buy:
1 --- bananas
2 --- tomatoes
3 --- a can of beans
4 --- bleach
5 --- baby food
6 --- a birthday card
7 --- a frozen pizza
8 --- some scissors
Now, this list is not typical. There is nothing in the list that links one item to another, and usually, you would find it difficult to remember this list. But with the following technique, you can learn to remember this list, and in order, too.
The Number Memory Technique
This technique involves assigning a number value to items, and learning to associate the item with the number. In order to do this, you must first learn the associations for each number. These are words that you can associate with a number permanently and this will make all future memorising and memory challenges easier for you. It works by linking the number to a word that rhymes with it.
To start, we have the number 1 – when spoken, one, what does this rhyme with? It rhymes with the word scone, if you pronounce it that way, and if you don't then that's even better, because you will find it even easier to remember a word association that, to you, is pronounced oddly. When you think of the number 2, two, what does this conjure up in your mind as a rhyming word? Shoe! So now you're starting to link words by the sound of the number to the item it rhymes with. If you do pronounce scone differently, and are not sure about using that linking word, that is fine, just replace the word with another that rhymes with one. Bun? Tonne? Son?
So, the items you associate with each number from 1 to 10, could be:
1 --- one --- scone
2 --- two --- shoe
3 --- three --- tree
4 --- four --- door
5 --- five --- hive
6 --- six --- sticks
7 --- seven --- heaven
8 --- eight --- gate
9 --- nine --- vine
10 --- ten --- hen
Now commit those to memory. It shouldn't take long because they are simply the words that rhyme with the number, so you should automatically link these words.
Now back to the shopping list. The first item was bananas, and your linking word is scone, so you need to now visualise an image in your mind containing bananas and scones. You shouldn't just think of bananas scones, as tempting as they may sound, because later, when you try to remember it, you will find yourself struggling to remember exactly what type of scone it was, and really, you can have a variety of types of scone. So, perhaps you could picture a bunch of bananas, complete with high heels and party frocks, dancing around to music and on their heads are scones for hats. Yes, the end of each of the bananas is poking through the scone in order to make them hats, and crumbs are falling off the scones on to the floor where they are being stood on by the dancing bananas.
You might think that scenario is crazy. Crazy it may be, but it definitely does work. Everyone who has read this is now imagining dancing bananas wearing scones for hats.
Now, you must do the same for each of the other numbers and items to buy from the supermarket. You should do this yourself, to help your memorising them, and remembering to include the most outrageous scenarios you can think of. Anything to help those items stick in your mind.
The rest of the list were:
2 --- shoe --- tomatoes
3 --- tree --- a can of beans
4 --- door --- bleach
5 --- hive --- baby food
6 --- sticks --- a birthday card
7 --- heaven --- a frozen pizza
8 --- gate --- some scissors
Whilst you are just starting out with this technique, try and spend at least a minute conjuring up each scenario for the numbers and their words to be remembered. You might think, at first, that you are not creative enough, but with practice you will get better at this. You will realise that the crazier the situation, the more likely you will remember it.
Now, once you have completed the memory technique for every item, cover the list and test yourself. Get a piece of paper and write down the numbers from 1 to 8, and next to each number, write down the shopping list item. You will probably remember each item quickly and clearly, and in the correct order. What's more, you will probably remember them tomorrow, and the day after that. This is not just a temporary trick for fooling the brain into remembering something for a few minutes.
This technique can be used in exam situations, maybe you need to learn the kings and queens of a country since the middle ages, in order, or the US presidents. This technique can be adapted to ordinary words and phrases as well, though it does work better with nouns where the imagery can be strongest.
Name Memory Technique
If you find you struggle to recall a person's name only a few minutes after being introduced, or even days or weeks or months later, this technique can help you remember the names of people you meet.
If someone has a name of an object, such as Rose or Lily, then immediately picture the item in as much detail as possible, invading their bodies. Picture the item larger than life, over their face, and imagine you have to peel back a rose petal to look at their face, for example. Or if you meet a Mr Bell, imagine an enormous bell on top of his head – the bell is ringing loudly but he is oblivious to it. At first, when you use this technique, you might struggle to choke back giggles, but you will soon get used to using these techniques.
If you meet someone whose name isn't that of an object, then firstly try and associate the person with anyone else you know with the same name. Your sister is called Sandra and you meet another Sandra, so imagine the two of them being firm friends, or the two of them stuck in a broken lift together. If your sister has a particular hobby, such as playing tennis, imagine the two playing the same game. Use this technique for everyone who has a name you're familiar with, even if this person is a character in a television show or a book, imagine they are doing something together.
If you do not know anyone with the same name as the person, then break their name into syllables, and rhyme each one, and create a story. This technique is not as foolproof as the others, but can be worked on so that it is useful.
Memorising PIN Numbers Or Phone Numbers
This involves using the same memory technique as the list items one, where each number is associated with a word it rhymes with. Then, to remember the PIN 1487, for example, you would link each number to its association, which would be scone, door, gate and heaven. Now you need to imagine a story. Looking at those words you could conjure up a good story using the first item, the scone. Imagine a scone wakes up one morning tired and feeling ill. He has rosy red cheeks and a bad cough. He rolls out of bed and makes his way to work. He walks very slowly down the stairs, coughing and spluttering and clutching his chest as he does so, and when he gets to the front door, he struggles to pull it open. It is just too heavy. Imagine this heavy door. Now, he finally gets through the door and the sun is blazing down in the garden. Picture the garden, but the poor scone is struggling. He gets down on his knees and crawls. He knows he should go back to bed, but he just struggles on, down the path. Eventually he reaches the gate, and through the gaps in the gate he can see bright lights. The lights are so bright that he cannot look at them, but he cannot look away either and eventually he realises that on the other side of the gate is heaven, and he must go through.
Well done for improving your memory. You can use these tips and techniques to get a better memory permanently.
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