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I first became really interested in the mysteries of memory many years ago, when I learned of the incredible feats of “memory masters” – who appeared to have superhuman memorization abilities.
I was surprised to learn that in many cases, it is not so much that they have a prodigious capacity for sheer “data storage”, but that they have learned to take advantage of the brain’s innate structure to full advantage.
For example, did you know that visual memory has a much greater portion of the brain “allocated” to it than other memory types – and that you can employ this natural power that you already have to improve your memory greatly?
The classic example given is that of a shopping list. Try this: Instead of attempting to memorize a basic shopping list, imagine walking into a room, and seeing clearly the items laid out on a table in front of you.
Then when you get to the store, recall the memory of walking into the room, and look on the table.
Give it a go! You’ll find it much easier than attempting to memorize a string of words with no specific visual connotation. If you doubt this, consider how much easier it is to remember a face than a name! Our memories are visually-oriented.
So the memory masters, utilizing these innate qualities of the brain to best effect, would do things like for example memorizing a simple set of objects that are “permanently pegged” to each of the numbers, starting with ten but gradually extending this system so that they had for example perfectly memorized 100 objects, one for each of the numbers 0 to 99. Then by creating visual sequences of these easier-to-memorize objects, they could memorize incredibly long numbers with ease, astounding people with their “total recall” ability.
This technique can also be applied to remembering names, strings of letters or even complex codes – always using the same “key code” of a simple set of objects that correspond to the basic word and number building blocks. Once you have the basic system down, it can be used to remember anything you wish to remember. You too have this astonishing natural ability – it’s just that no-one ever taught you how to use it!
Fascinating stuff, don’t you think? It’s a kind of “inner cryptography” for your own mind. 😉
Ok, here is our “master list” of resources for you which can help improve memory:
1) Here’s a great article which contains a list and tutorial for 20 tips to improve memory: http://ecosalon.com/what-are-the-20-tips-to-improve-memory-say-again
3) We discovered a fascinating substance – Galantamine – a substance extracted from the Snowdrop and a few other flowers. Interestingly, it has been theorized that the Snowdrop may have been the flower given by Odysseus to his men to restore their memory in Homer’s epic from Ancient Greece. Galantamine has been studied and found to be an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor – and it turns out that for this reason it has significant potential as an anti-Alzheimer’s agent! According to life extension scientist Will Block, it may even have an edge over other anti-Alzheimer’s agents. (source) It also turns out that galantamine has gained a reputation for its ability to assist with the practice of lucid dreaming – however please note that there have been some side effects noted and it may not be safe for all: Here is a very detailed article on galantamine.
4) I just discovered a fascinating supplement available on Amazon.com called “Neuro Optimizer” and I’m really keen to check it out. I haven’t tried this yet, but it is getting some really good reviews from people saying that it is helping them with mental clarity. It contains neuro-nutrients and protectants thought to assist with several aspects of brain function. This product seems amazing and I’m really keen to try it out soon. If you are curious to investigate, here is the link where you can read the reviews and purchase. (Note – this is my Amazon affiliate link.)
5) A final useful tip is to think of “the brain as a muscle”. In other words, it needs a workout in order to remain strong. “Use it or lose it” applies to neural pathways and the ones that are not used, fade away whereas the ones you use habitually are reinforced. As we get older it’s important to keep challenging ourselves to think and do “mental exercises” which utilize recall.
What do you do to keep your memory sharp? Got any other tips? Please let us know on our Facebook page or in the comments. 🙂
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