By Chika Nnadozie
HAVE you wondered why some birds can remember months after, locations they buried nuts. Isn’t it surprising too that ants, as small as they are, have great cognitive ability that help them remember the season and work upon them. It may as well surprise you to know that Dolphins have amazing memories.
New experiments by Jason Bruck, an animal behaviorist at the University of Chicago, shows that bottlenose dolphins can remember whistles of other dolphins they’d lived with after 20 years of separation. Isn’t this credible!
If these beautiful creatures can manifest such a great memory output, why then do humans who have higher memory capacity tend to forget basic information?
Actually, no one can remember all the things that occur to them, so we always forget something. Forgetfulness then becomes a condition that your memory is so poor that you forget too many things, which affects your normal functioning. But the fact is
that human brain, though it may break down, has the capacity to learn and remember.
However, study of human memory can be traced back 2,000 years to Aristotle’s early attempts to understand memory in his treatise ‘On the Soul’. He compared the human mind to a blank slate and theorized that all humans are born free of any knowledge and are merely the sum of their experiences. Aristotle compared memory to making impressions in wax, sometimes, referred to as the “storehouse metaphor”.
Your memory which involves encoding, storage and retrieval have their specific functioning – your brain decodes information using the sense organs (Sight, hear, smell, taste and touch) and then registers it. Then, the information registered can now be stored for future purposes.
We however, have short term memory for holding a brief information such as remembering a telephone number long enough to dial it, remembering to write the first name of a person while listening to the second name. But, know that short term memory has its limit. If you would want to improve your memory, the long term memory will be the best to help you get the best in your project, school, and other professional goals that require high focusing.
Now, let’s look at these simple and practical principles scholars have calved out for the long term memory enhancement.
Interest: Having a deep interest in what you intend to store gives a better chance for successful storage. It requires daily practice and application to your life, emotions and surroundings. The more your whole being is involved, the more your memory is connected.
Organisation: make use of logs or categories for related items or ideas in such a way that you can remember and this will help you put your list in order. You can use smart phone calendar to keep tracks of appointments or other activities you wouldn’t want to forget.
Repetition: Can you still remember any of the nursery rhymes? If yes, know that repetition has a way of letting repeated words sink into our memory. Remember the bottlenose dolphins? This is the method they were using to remember their fellows even after 20 years of separation.
Visual Impression: The more of the sight senses you use, the deeper the information becomes. Make a mental picture of what you want to remember and link it to that. Any time my daughter sees a big tall tree, she remembers village and her grannies, trust her, she will insist on visiting them. That is the power of visual impression.
Group: When you are having difficulty in remembering a thing, break them into sets and associate them to a thing. This may sound funny, but it works for my four- year old boy. He finds it difficult remembering the name of his friend’s school. The actual name is ‘Pioneer’ and he remembers it with ‘pounded yam’.
Review: Always review anything you have learned. It helps the information to sink deep into the memory. Also, you may want to share with someone what you have learned. This will further deepen those information to your memory.So, when next you are privileged, share your thoughts, don’t be shy or afraid. You are simply helping yourself.
One can also give a little push to his/her memory by engaging into:
Exercise: Exercise helps your brain in so many ways, both direct and indirect means. From the direct means, exercise stimulates the release of growth factors, including the growth of new blood vessels in the brain and the survival of new brain cells. It reduces inflammation and insulin resistance. The indirect means reduces stress and anxiety. It also improves sleep.
Eating good meals: I am not a dietician, but I know that water, fruits and protein giving foods have a major role in enhancing the functions of the brain.
Reducing Stress: Chronic stress destroys brain cells and damages the hippocampus, the region of the brain involved in the formation of new memories and the retrieval of old ones. Studies have also linked stress to memory loss. So, learn to take break and when to let go.
Relaxing your mind: Take vacation, give yourself a break, express your feelings instead of bottling them up, laugh with friends and inhale fresh breathe.
Good memory is a valuable skill. Don’t let that memory get lost. Capitalize on the information given to you above and be the super you. But, remember that consistency wins the race. Practicing daily with your whole being draws you to having a higher memory.
By Chika Nnadozie