I’ve rediscovered a favorite habit-reading. I’m solidly in the “hold a book in my hands” camp, but lately I’ve ‘read’ more books by listening to or reading them on my computer. But some books I simply want to hold and read. This feeling corresponds completely with how I like to learn. To remember well, I need to see it.[Read more…]
Winds are shifting, leaves are beginning to fall and school bells are ringing. These telltale end of summer signs may make us feel sad about the end of one season and the beginning of another. But if you’ve participated in our #SummerToRemember series, it’s my hope you have plenty of memories to draw upon as autumn approaches.
Mine sure has been a summer to remember with monumental birthdays, milestone events and small moments to cherish. Whether yours was full of big moments or a series of small, all of them are worth savoring. We began this series with the premise that life is short, so let’s make our choices count. The goal was to create an environment for making memories of all our fleeting moments. I did pretty well-how about you?
First off, we discussed how the choices we make reflect what we value while also impacting what and how well we remember. What we choose to think about and how we manage our physical wellness is imperative. Taking care of our bodies and also prioritizing what’s important dictates how well we live and recall our lives. Making healthy choices matter.
To that end, we began with some challenges. The first one was to be aware of and hone the skill of focused attention. How we each do this is unique, but the main point is if we don’t or can’t pay attention well, we will never remember anything. It’s just not possible to input information into our memory without paying attention. If we learn and apply this, we’ll remember more.
Next was a challenge to identify HOW we individually prefer to remember. This typically stems from how we learn or our learning style-visual, auditory or tactile. We may not all understand how we learn best, but thinking about what we enjoy is a first step in knowing our unique learning style(s). Then we apply memory techniques to coincide with how we learn and bingo-we begin to remember more!
Now that we know how to remember more, our challenge focus shifted to keeping our brains healthier. Just like a muscle wants to move, the brain wants to be used. It’s the old ‘use it or lose it’ adage which rings so true. We need to keep learning to keep remembering. Resting on our laurels only allows our brains to atrophy. In order to make it a summer or any moment to remember, we need to keep our brains learning, growing, creating, and maintaining neural connections. This can even be improved upon by stepping out of our comfort zones.
Just as we need to keep our brains learning, we need to keep our bodies moving. Exercising our bodies feeds our brains to function better. Remembering well is enhanced by physical exercise and hopefully the 5 tips to encourage more movement benefited you this summer!
Remembering well is not just about the what, but also the how. How something feels as well as how we think impacts what we remember. Using our senses to connect memories while having a good attitude about life and all we experience truly strengthens our actual memories.
To remember well It’s crucial to manage the three S’s-socialization, sleep and stress. If these aren’t in sync and managed well, our moments can easily turn into ones of lonely, sleepless stress. Often this summer, my sleep habits were varied and I always felt it. Crabby, groggy and foggy could have described me on some days. But managing, adapting, and adjusting my sleep and stress when I could (not always as well as I would have hoped) was beneficial. Being with others can either cause stress or relieve it. Using all the tips given in these posts helped me manage and improve these big three components.
We went through a wealth of information in this #SummerToRemember series. It’s my hope you were able to learn but most importantly apply this information to make your own moments memorable. Take these memories and literally and figuratively store them in your memory and/or as something tangible like pictures, a journal or even simply sharing them with others. Our memories make up the fabric of our lives and the patchwork of our identity.
As we turn to September, autumn and the seasonal and life changes which will evoke different memories, I’ll be taking a week off to make and share memories with loved ones over Labor Day. Please do the same.
Life is short and every moment is meant to be savored. Take some time to enjoy the long weekend and share some memories with others. I’ll be back the following week, ready to encourage us all to even more memorable moments!
Step out of your box, your comfort zone and go beyond what’s easy. I teach and advocate this but at times find it difficult to do myself. We all prefer familiar and what doesn’t require much effort, but that WILL NOT strengthen our mind and memories. The comfy way doesn’t create the cognitive reserve which will help us to utilize our brains to their best capacity when older. It’s time to use not just the familiar, but stretch and grow into the unfamiliar. It’s time to use our whole brain!
Summertime is a time to reflect, relax and rejuvenate. Up until a bout a week ago, for me it was anything but these. It felt like a sprint and I was just trying to keep it all going and manage well. I fell into patterns and routines that were tried and true and would help me function well. There’s nothing wrong with this approach and it was beneficial for that time. However, now that patterns are changing and I have a few moments to breathe, it’s time for something new.
How we learn and take in information best varies for each of us. I like visual and auditory, prefer routines and organization. But there are also times to use my hands, be spontaneous and go with the flow. Summer is a great time to experiment and step out of our natural, preferable routines and try something new. When we do this, we activate parts of our brain that may be underutilized in our normal patterns of behavior. We use our whole brain not just the dominant part, which will be extremely important as we age.
Here’s a quick example-grab a pen, go ahead, right now-grab a pen.
Which hand did you grab it with? I bet it was with your dominant hand-the one you write with and do most things. Now grab that pen with the other hand-feels different doesn’t it? Now write your name with your non-dominant hand. Not so easy? Our left and right brains work differently, yet together. Patterns of behavior and our natural tendencies dictate which side becomes a bit more dominant. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only side we should use!
The more we use the non-dominant side of our bodies, it causes us to think differently. To write with our non-dominant hand we have to really think about how to make every letter. It’s like learning to write all over again. But we can do it, it just takes a different set of impulses to relay the information to that side of our body. Simply by using that other hand, we activate all kinds of brain cells in different ways. It’s similar to using different muscles-when we first use them, they can be sore and feel clumsy. But the more we use them, the easier the motion and the more we strengthen them.
Now we can take this same concept and apply it to how we manage our days, what we choose to do, and how we act and think. It can be as simple as picking up a pen with the other hand to changing our entire approach or outlook. Whatever we do to use the lesser utilized parts of our brain inevitably strengthens those areas. This allows us to use these areas more as we age. The use it or lose it adage totally applies here. Use these areas of your brain now to not lose them later!
So are you with me? Let’s use our whole brain starting this #SummerToRemember and step out, be a bit uncomfortable and start an adventure of using ALL of our brain. It will surely help us all make our summer moments memorable!
Long summer days and nights bring fun, warmth, and many memories in the making. Capturing these memories can be as elusive as containing a firefly on a breezy, summer evening. As we continue our #SummerToRemember series, let’s identify which memory techniques are best to record all our moments.
We all have our go-to memory techniques that typically work. But what about when they don’t? A new friend tried to recall another person’s name she thought we may both know. It really bothered her when she couldn’t remember the woman’s first name. We laughed at how we knew she’d eventually think of it and she did–about an hour later, as is often the case.
We don’t always know how our unique memory works, just that it does (or sometimes doesn’t)! Typically, we try to associate or write things down. Others capture moments in pictures for posterity and prompt recollections later. These are some of my favorites as well as verbal repetition. I too never used to think much about HOW I remembered, but now I do.
Studying memory in depth and applying specific techniques in my own life has shown I benefit from my go-to favorites but also using many techniques in tandem. I’m a visual and auditory person. I prefer these avenues of taking in information as opposed to being more hands-on and tactile. To that end, visual and auditory memory techniques like visualization and written and verbal repetition are my go-to techniques.
I also benefit from a heavy dose of visual association. When traveling, I like to see the map. I recognize visual landmarks and can typically remember where I was and who I was talking to when visually recalling a venue. All of this plays into my strengths and aids in making memories.
My daughter has a great memory for the golf courses she plays. Since I’m often watching her play, we’ll discuss various holes and I recall them best by visualizing the landmarks of each. First, I need to pay attention, but as we go over it, she’ll mention a visual cue and then I know what hole she’s referencing. I don’t remember like she does, but the visual cues help. If that doesn’t work, I refer to the notes I take as she plays. The different techniques blend together and ultimately, assist my memory.
How do you best remember? Is it by visual cues or associations? Do you like to hear things, take notes or pictures? This week, let’s dig into HOW we remember.
Your challenge for this week is to think about how you best like to receive information because then this will be the best way to also recall information. Are you more visual, auditory or tactile? Do you like to see, hear or do things to remember? Once we identify this about ourselves, we can use memory techniques that fit with our strengths and remember more this #SummerToRemember!
Let’s pay attention to how we remember and capture more of our memorable summer moments!
Happy New Year!! It’s a new year and one bound to be filled with new memories. We all cultivate memory using our brains in similar yet unique ways.
How we learn, process and focus on the world around us depends on our unique perspective and motivation. At MemoryMinders, it’s our hope to facilitate and be a reference to help us all learn to cultivate memory in various ways.
As we move into making new memories in 2018, we’ll begin with a month of changing our perspective and learning in different ways. Look for some new and exciting things here on the blog beginning next week! In the meantime, enjoy the beginning of this new year by making memorable moments with those you love and cherish. Then, get ready to explore, change perspective and learn in new ways to make new memories this year!