Memory Training for Enhanced Mental Fitness

There Are No Bad Memories, Only Untrained Memories

Memory training is a process of consciously retaining, storing and recalling experiences. Through learning, knowledge is acquired, and through memory this knowledge is made available. Through memory training, creative memory is optimized for self improvement

There are different types of memory, temporary or short term, which is stored for a very short period of time in the brain- a millisecond to a few minutes, and permanent or long term. Short term memory can become long term through focused attention, associated ideas, and repetition.

There are also two categories of memory. Declarative memory is what we use to remember facts and events, such as your phone number, or anniversary. Procedural memory is what comes into play for procedures and abilities, such as riding a bicycle, driving a car, or tying your shoes. Muscle memory of dancers and martial artists are of this procedural type. Both types benefit from memory training.

How To Improve Memory

Imagine a colossal Memory Web that holds every piece of information and every memory from your life. It is 11 miles across and very intricate.

Imagine looking at your Memory Web with a flashlight. Whatever you can see in the light's beam is what you can know at any given time. But, the light beam is only 15 inches. That is, you can only see 15 inches of information from a web that is 11 miles across.

You simply cannot see everything on your 11-mile web with your 15-inch light beam. Unless you find a Memory Thread on the web that goes directly to what you want to remember. Tug on that thread and you automatically transport to that area of the Memory Web where what you need to remember exists. It is like a "super highway" thread, or a "worm hole" if you are into science fiction.

You already remember things. How do you do that? Your address, your phone or social security number. Think about these. What is it about these things that make them so memorable? Maybe the sheer repetition over time. Perhaps it's a matter of identifying with the information. "This is MY number". Try identifying with whatever it is you need to remember.

Need to remember how a word is spelled? Visualize the word in the upper left portion of your visual field. Lump the letters into several 3 or 4 letter chunks. Repeat the visualization of these chunks several times.

Another effective method can be hypnosis for memory training.

Special Repetition

There is a hidden time factor to memory training. Repeat a new piece of information several times, then think of anything you have known for years.

What does it feel like to know something for years? Transfer that "feeling" to the "new" piece of information to be remembered. Then repeat this feeling of knowing several times.

Gently and in a relaxed way, synchronize your breathing with the rhythmic repetition of this "new" thing that "you have always known". Surprise yourself with the ease of memory training when you're relaxed and use the appropriate method.

Memory does not release itself into a sharp, never erring instrument instantly, but must be nurtured and trained regularly in order for it to become that next generation retention instrument we all hope for.

What is Mnemonics?

Designing Mnemonics for Memory Training
'Mnemonic' is another word for memory tool. Mnemonics are methods for remembering information that is otherwise quite difficult to recall. A very simple example is the '30 days hath September' rhyme. The basic principle of mnemonics is to use as many of the best functions of your brain as possible to store information.

The three fundamental principles underlying the use of mnemonics are imagination, association and location. Working together, you can use these principles to generate powerful memory training or mnemonic systems.

Imagination is what you use to create and strengthen the associations needed to create effective mnemonics. Your imagination is what you use to create mnemonics that are potent for you. The more strongly you imagine and visualize a situation, the more effectively it will stick in your mind for later recall. The imagery you use in your mnemonics can be as violent, vivid, or sensual as you like, as long as it helps you to remember.

Association is the method by which you link a thing to be remembered to a way of remembering it. You can create associations by:

placing things on top of each other
crashing things together
merging images together
wrapping them around each other
rotating them around each other or having them dancing together
linking them using the same color, smell, shape, or feeling

As an example, you might link the number 1 with a goldfish by visualizing a 1-shaped spear being used to spear it.

Location gives you two things: a coherent context into which you can place information so that it hangs together, and a way of separating one mnemonic from another. By setting one mnemonic in a particular town, I can separate it from a similar mnemonic set in a city. For example, by setting one in the town of Horsham and another similar mnemonic with images of Manhattan, we can separate them with no danger of confusion. You can build the flavors and atmosphere of these places into your mnemonics to strengthen the feeling of location.

For more on memory training take a closer look at Creative Memory.