Today’s article is about tuning up your memory. Having a good memory is important, right? But have you ever stopped to consider just how important it is? The fact is that everything we do involves our memories. We can’t think without using our memories, and everything that we do unconsciously, like moving our lips and making sounds to speak or walking across the street, accesses our memory, which tells us how we did it the last time.
Did You Forget or Do You Care?
So, on one level, almost all of us have extremely good memories. These are the kinds of things we usually take for granted. We don’t really think about memory at all until we find we’ve forgotten something. We’d like to get better at remembering things at will, and there’s no reason why we can’t do that since we use so little of our brains.
Here’s what happens: first, we sense something (hear a statement, smell something cooking, and so on). Then an electrochemical pathway goes along neurons, across the synapses between the site of the sense and the brain. Remember, there are 10 million billion possible connections – so for our brains to remember the information accurately is an amazing feat. The more a certain pathway is activated, the better chance that memory will be created.
We have two types of memory – explicit and implicit.
Implicit memory (often-used pathways) allows us to do things automatically because they are so familiar since we’ve done them time after time.
Explicit memory involves things we have to remember consciously. As an example, you remember how to use the telephone automatically, but you need to consciously recall the telephone number you want to use.
We can’t improve our implicit memory with exercises, but you might want to try some of these techniques to improve your explicit memory.
Techniques for Improvement
Believe it or not, how much you want to or need to remember something plays a vital part in remembering it. If you commit yourself to remembering something and concentrate on it, your chances of remembering it are much better.
Here’s another surprising fact: studies have shown that short bursts of activity help you remember something better and for longer. Many of us got through college pulling all-nighters, so we know they work. It’s true – they work better for remembering things short-term, like when you want to pass an exam. But working in short bursts of time helps us to remember things better over longer periods of time.
So, if you have something that you want to remember for a long time, don’t study for hours on end, but make a plan to study a part of the entire project, take a break, and go back to studying.
Studies have shown that we do not retain things when we are at low levels of alertness, such as in sleep, or at very high levels of alertness, such as in a panic or high stress. Our optimal level of alertness for learning and remembering is somewhere in between these two extremes.
Determine your own optimum alert state and save that time for learning things that are most important to you. Other things can be done when you’re less alert. This approach will give you the best chance of storing information in your long-term memory.
TIME OF DAY
Again, studies might surprise you. It had been previously thought that the best time for learning was in the morning. Studies are showing now that learning in the morning hours is better for short-term memory. Learning later in the day seems to be better for long-term memory.
Here’s an area where a lot of people are self-conscious. It’s embarrassing not to be able to remember someone’s name, especially when that person seems to have no trouble remembering yours. This is like every other aspect of memory. Some people are at a higher level of unconscious competence in this area. And they are remembering names by using a process even if they don’t know it.
If you make a conscious decision to remember someone’s name and follow these steps, you too will be successful in remembering names in the future.
Tips to Remember
Consciously decide to give this person respect by learning his name
Listen when you hear the name. It’s easy to be focusing on other things and let the name slip by.
Be certain that you hear his name properly. If there’s any doubt, ask him to spell it.
Visualize that you’ve written the name down. Doing this forces you to listen to it. This visualization is a surprisingly powerful technique.
Visualize the name itself. Seeing the name in your mind acts as a trigger. If you can associate it with something else like a town or a famous person, it becomes even stronger. Associate the person in front of you who belongs to the name with the name in your mind, so that the name and the person’s face are linked in your mind.
TRIGGERS for STUBBORN MEMORIES
You can probably relate to this – sometimes we have problems remembering things even though we very much want to remember them. Criminal investigations use techniques that can help us with recalling our own memories.
Here’s what you do:
Re-create the original conditions in your mind. See them as clearly as possible and use your senses. What was happening? How did you feel? Was it hot or cold? Were you tired, hungry, angry, at the time?
Pay attention to the details, even the unimportant ones. What do you see? Those images may help you bring other images to mind.
Try to see the situation from another point of view. For instance, if you were sitting in a chair the last time you saw your ring, pretend you’re standing in the doorway looking at the situation. What do you see now?
See the situation in reverse. In your mind, see the situation before you entered it. See the room before you came into it – what was happening then?
These “investigation” techniques are powerful for recalling stubborn memories.
So to help you with your own techniques, download your free Memory Technique Checklist right here.
No doubt about it, our brains are pretty magnificent. Talk about multitasking! We all do it – watch television, read a magazine, realize how great the evening meal smells in the kitchen, listen to the person in the room with us, and be excited about plans for the weekend – all at the same time. We can do this because of our brain’s ability to make all kinds of connections. Our Brains and How They Work is our topic for discussion this week.
Our Brains and How They Work
Our brains have developed over thousands of years. For additional facts on the brain, you can read this informative article located here The Brain.
The basic construction of the brain is divided into three parts:
Primitive brain – this brain region is about the size of an apricot. It controls our essential functions like blood circulation, reading, and indigestion. It also contains our “fight or flight” response to danger and decides whether we will stay and fight or run away. It’s also believed that when we are in stressful situations, the other parts of our brain shut down. It leaves everything up to the primitive brain, which is why we might find it more challenging to think clearly when stressed.
Cerebellum – this part of the brain is called the mammalian brain. It surrounds the primitive brain and processes our emotions and long-term memories. It also processes information learned through our senses.
The cerebral cortex – covers the primitive brain and the cerebellum and makes up about 80% of our brain area. It determines language, thought, reasoning, complex movement patterns, and other things like appreciation of poetry and music.
In addition to these three parts of the brain, we all have millions of brain cells called neurons.Each neuron has its unique function. Neurons use electrical impulses and chemical reactions to and from the central nervous system and within the brain.
Neurons store information and work together in groups to generate actions and reactions and control specific thoughts. Each neuron has the potential for one million billion connections with other neurons. So, even though we only use 5% of our brain capacity, you can see that there is still an enormous amount of activity in our brains.
Left and Right Brain Hemispheres
You may have heard the terms left brain and right brain. It wasn’t until the 1960s that a scientist named Roger Sperry discovered that different activities are associated with different sides of the brain; thus, the term left brain, and right brain thinking was coined.
The left side of our brain is the logical side, the mathematical side. It deals with details and organization and controls our speech and our language. The right side of our brain operates in a less organized way. It handles creativity, interpretation, emotions, imagination, intuition, and spatial awareness.
At one time, scientists thought these two halves of the brain operated independently. Still, more recent thinking believes there is flexibility so that different brain parts can learn new functions.
The Senses and Our Awareness
We all have five senses. Recent evidence shows that the more you can use your senses, the better your memory and thinking ability. The five senses are sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste. Our brain interprets the information from the senses to help us act, react, and stay out of danger.
It’s interesting that, although we all have the same five senses, we often don’t agree on what our minds are telling us because of our perceptions. For instance, how often have you been in a room where it’s too hot for you but too cold for someone else? Or vice versa?
How often have you and someone standing next to you disagreed about what you saw while looking at the same thing? How often have you liked the taste of new food, but your partner has the opposite reaction? This is all due to our perceptions of sensual information. Our brains and how they work are very interesting, don’t you think?
The Control Process
The brain controls every area of our body. It starts as an electrical burst of activity in the cerebral cortex and moves to the motor cortex, which sends nerve signals to specific body parts. The signals then move down the spinal cord, along the motor nerves, to the muscles. The calls go to every aspect of our body and control every action. More complex activities that need body parts with more refined control, such as fingers or lips, have more extensive motor cortex areas. And our awareness of this information is essential.
So, what does this have to do with business? It’s important to note that I don’t think you will have a business or anything if you don’t have a brain. Your brain is your Central Intelligence System. It’s critical to your business to be able to use your brainpower for the good of your business’s success. So, it would help if you did everything in your power to ensure that your brain is functioning at a top-notch level to provide you with the lifestyle you want. Otherwise, why be in business?
I’m just a phone call away if you are looking for help, need assistance, or need a business mentor. Book a complimentary call with me, and let’s chat.
We’ve all heard about the mind-body connection right? Because it’s real! What that means is that peak performance mentally requires a healthy body, emotional well-being, and a balanced lifestyle. So, what ways can you think about to get you to have better brain health?
Better Brain Health Tips
Here are a few key points to consider when it comes to making healthy decisions for a healthy brain:
1 – Drinking water – believe it or not, most of us live in a constant state of partial dehydration. This means that our brain functions at less than full capacity. Alcohol dehydrates us and reduces the flow of blood to our brains, which reduces our thinking power. Caffeine does increase our alertness in the short term but also dehydrates us.
The rule is that you should drink eight glasses of water a day and two glasses of water for every cup of coffee you drink.
2 – Eating smart – most of us already know the rules about eating healthy. Unfortunately, it is easier and tastier to eat things that are not good for us. Anyway, a healthy diet consists of the right amounts of protein, complex carbohydrates, and good fats. That means avoiding a lot of things we like, such as processed foods, fried foods, desserts full of simple sugars, and high-fat foods. Instead, concentrate on eating protein, fruits and vegetables, complex carbs, and drinking less water.
Grazing, eating small meals (about 250 to 350 calories a meal) instead of eating three big meals a day, is finding great favor with nutritionists currently because it helps to maintain level blood sugar. It also helps maintain a more constant state of mental alertness, energy, and performance throughout the day.
3 – Sleep – everyone needs to process what happened each day, and that’s done during periods of deep sleep. Exactly how many hours of sleep you need each night is an individual thing that you should determine for yourself, but over time, lack of sleep can lead to poor concentration, low energy, mood swings, and even poor mental health.
4 – Fun/enjoyment – we all need it, even workaholics. Research shows us that taking part in some activities that we enjoy reduces our stress level and improves our immune system.
5 – Brain Training – Programs like Lumosity contain brain training games and puzzles that can help you maintain a sharp and healthy mind. Be sure to actively engage in programs like this on a regular basis.
Once upon a time, creativity was thought to belong to artists and poets. It had nothing to do with the real world and certainly nothing to do with the rest of us. Creativity was something you were born with, and that was that. So how does becoming creative fit in with today’s world? Let’s check this out and see what we can find out!
That idea has taken a 180-degree turn and bitten the dust. In our fast-moving times, whether it’s in science or business or many other areas, innovation and creativity are the things that lead to success. Without them, businesses stagnate and fail.
So, What is Creativity Then?
Two French mathematicians, Hadamard and Poincare, have defined the creative process in the following four steps.
Preparation – You discover a problem and try to solve it with established means.
Incubation – These methods don’t work so you go off and do something else.
Illumination – All of a sudden, the answer appears to you.
Verification – You assess the new idea to see if it’s any good.
It used to be thought that only two types of thinking led to creativity: convergent thinking where you draw on all your resources to solve a problem, or divergent thinkingwhen you solve the problem by seeing it in a different way.
What Do Psychologists Believe?
In the last few decades, psychologists have come to believe that there are many different ways to be creative. They think that creativity is simply a state of mind in which a person is ready and willing to entertain new ideas.
Psychologists also believe that almost all of us can learn to be more creative. Some of us may be more creative than others, but we can all be creative, especially in the areas of the 10 intelligence types, where we have our own unique strengths.
Many times we stifle our own creativity with the little voice that says,” It will never work.” Often we say that about other people’s ideas, too. The thing you need to do is challenge that anti-creativity with a counter-argument. When you do this, you give your own creativity permission to flow.
What Do YOU Think?
Ask yourself open-ended questions like…
– Is there another way to do this?
– What’s the worst that could happen if we tried this?
– Are there parts of this idea that will work?
– What’s good about this?
– How can we make it better?
– What can we do instead?
Practice non-judgmental idea gathering to enhance creativity. Do this and watch your creativity explode. I kid you not! It works, for most people, including me!
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is the author of Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, a remarkable book in which he discusses how our thinking can enhance our quality of life. He explains how a rich, strong, powerful person is no more in control of his consciousness than someone who is sickly, poor, weak, or oppressed. The difference is in whether he sees challenges as threats or as opportunities for action. This is a very interesting topic, a discussion on how turning problems into challenges can benefit you in your business. What do you think?
There are exercises that can help you think better, faster, more clearly. I hope you find some of them in this book, and here’s a link where you can purchase a copy on Amazon Flow. Geez, that’s amazing, right?
The Autotelic Self
What he calls the autotelic self refers to someone who has the ability to translate potential threats into enjoyable challenges, and thus has an internal balance. The term autotelic self means a person who has self-contained goals.
And then there are insights that can change your life. Autoletic thinking turns problems into challenges to be met and learned from. It is an approach that will change your life if you practice it. Now there’s the challenge for you, will you practice it?
adjective: (of an entity or event) having within itself the purpose of its existence or happening.
For most people, goals are shaped by biological needs and social conventions – things that are outside the self. The difference is that the autotelic self, or the person who is capable of defining things for himself, is also capable of transforming threats into non-threatening challenges.
This can be done with a simple change of perspective, a shift in consciousness: that is, seeing a threat as a challenge that you can overcome. Isn’t that interesting?
Try a Trial
Once you can do that, the steps are simple:
Be crystal clear about the goal. Once you know exactly what the goal is, you have an understanding of what is needed to meet it. Then you can decide on a series of actions necessary to accomplish the goal. You can modify these actions as needed in order to meet the goal.
Become involved in the activity — This means commitment. This means action. Whether things are going your way or not, you consistently take action with the next best steps. This demands concentration, commitment, and follow-through.
Pay attention to what is happening – This really means that the project becomes more important than your own feelings about what is happening. Your concentration is on the results of the project. You invest your energy in the project. You are committed, you are involved – it’s about the project, not about you.
Enjoying the experience – the autotelic self is able to set goals, develop skills, be sensitive to feedback, get involved, and look past obstacles. The benefit of learning to be an autotelic personality is that anything that happens can be a source of joy because it is a source of learning and a step to the next goal. In other words, there are no failures, only learning experiences.
This approach to thinking can mean the difference between living life in fear or living life in joy. Developing autotelic thinking will give you the ability to transform random events into learning experiences that eventually result in success.
Life is change – by definition and for everyone. Seeing that as a challenge to be accepted, enjoyed, and built on is the “secret” to successful living.
Now you can read the book at your leisure once you’ve purchased it and if you need any help at all, please contact me for a Free Call to see if I might help you with this challenge.