Simple Techniques to Improve Your Memory
improvement in memory consists of one's habitual method of
- Dr. William James,
Father of American Psychology
Most of us might have complained about our
memory one time or other. But some of you have been frequently
complaining about your poor memory. When we generally talk about
poor memory we are really talking about poor recollection.
Recollection is possible only if the content is retained in
memory. This is possible only if we have recorded it into memory.
That is, unless we have not assimilated, we cannot recall at all.
That is why William James and many others including mnemonists
give emphasis to how we record things into our memory.
Even if we record something correctly in
our memory, we may not be able to recall it. This is due to many
reasons, the main reasons being problems in retention and stress.
The former can be solved by systematic revision and the latter by
practicing some Stress Management Techniques or using Stress
Management Tools like HIT (Holistic
Integration Technique) of Dr.V.George Mathew or the
Award winning Guided
Somato-Psychic Relaxation (GSPR) Technique
of Dr.Krishna Prasad Sreedhar The latter can be learned by using audio cassettes.
Now let us discuss five simple techniques
to improve memory: Four of these techniques are used to improve
assimilation and thus to have longer retention. The last one is a
simple strategy for recollection.
Perhaps Chunking is the oldest method used
in memorization. In this method, the items to be memorized are
divided into small and easily memorizable chunks or groups. This
method works best when the order of the items is not important.
This method is found to be particularly
well suited for memorizing multi-digit numbers (eg., ID nos.,
telephone nos., etc.) and for committing complicated spellings to
- The number 472627607 may be memorized
easily if it is grouped as 472, 627,607 or as 47, 26,
These chunks may then be learned by rote. Learning and
retention are much facilitated if you further explore the
nos. by finding some relationship among these different
chunks. Finding the digital root will also be helpful. The more explorations
or relations you do, the better.
- Words like mathematics may be divided
into mat +he +mat +ics, Together may be divided into to +
get + her; Important may be divided into im + port + ant.
This technique will make us learn much faster.
- The list Apple, cucumber, paper, ink,
cabbage, banana, grapes, beans, stapler, orange can be
better learned by rearranging and applying chunking as :-
Apple, banana, grapes, orange, cucumber, cabbage, beans,
paper, ink, stapler
-- 4 fruits, 3 vegitables and 3 stationary items.
If possible, organize the material as
meaningfully as you can and think out relationships among each
group. This not only improves learnability and retention but also
aids in faster and effortless recollection.
Psychologists doing research on Human
Memory have found that the capacity of Short Term Memory (STM)
for humans is 7± 2 that is from the range 5 to 9 items. So you
should take care to keep the chunks you create within this limit.
This is also one of the popular and oldest
methods in memorization. This technique makes use of the fact
that we have a natural tendency to remember rhymes and rhythms.
The following is a very popular example of application of this
technique which almost all school students are familiar with.
"Thirty days haveth September
April, June and November
All the rest have thirty-one
February has twenty-eight alone
Except in leap year, then the time
When Febs days are twenty-nine."
If possible create rhymes like this and it
will not only aid in improving your memory but in improving your
creativity as well.
In this method, a bridge is built in
between the items given to be memorized. This technique is best
suited for learning material involving word pairs or material
that can be reduced to word pairs. An example often cited by
memory experts is the learning of the capital of Poland. The
capital of Poland is Warsaw. World War II started with Germany's
attack on Poland. Thus it may be arranged as Poland SAW War
Here, the word pair to be connected
together is Poland and Warsaw. The additional information of the
World War II is used as a bridge or mediator in bringing these
two words together.
Again, like other techniques, the
mediation technique calls for the learner's active participation
in the learning process. This is because one is to bring in the
mediator or the bridge from relevant items one has learned.
In this technique, you do your recital or
rote learning just before going to bed. The mind in the process
of sleeping would then arrange the information in a systematic
and effective way when you are sleeping. Psychologists have also
found that if you sleep after thinking about your problems there
is a better chance that you arrive at a solution the next day.
Steps for Memory Improvement
- Be in a relaxed mood
- Write down the things that you are
supposed to remember in a piece of paper.
- Read it aloud (if possible) once or
twice and recite it two to three times.
- Now go to sleep without worrying or
thinking about anything.
You will surely retain the item longer and
find it more easy to recall it when in need.
Trying by Not Trying
All of us apply this method knowingly or
unknowingly. Sometimes when you try to recall you may not be able
to recall it at that time even if you are sure that you know it
very well. You experience a blocking that prevents you from
recalling it. Normally you tend to try again and again but in
vain. To handle this situation you just keep away from trying to
recollect it and do something else; to your pleasant surprise
that information automatically pops up into your mind after some
time. This is because even if you stopped trying, the mind is
searching for that information and brings it to awareness when it
is found. Sometimes the information was blocked when you wanted,
and mind brings it forward when the blocking is removed. This is
where stress plays its role in hindering recall.
If you are very anxious by nature or very
stressful in nature, you may encounter this type of blockage very
often. In such case, it is highly recommended that you practise
some kind of relaxation technique and thus keep your anxiety and
stress away. This is very important because this behavior can
bring many undesirable psychological and physiological
conditions. You may even consult a Clinical Psychologist in
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