Two-time USA Memory Champion; memory training expert and memory keynote speaker Ron White shares his thoughts on how to improve your memory.

Most people have a hard time remembering abstract information, such as a numbers sequence. This is one of the things that separate those with eidetic memory (total recall) from those with great, but normal memory.

I have found the key to recall is through building associations. My favorite memory technique is ‘method of loci’, an ancient technique that has you build a ‘memory palace’ in your mind by associate what you want to recall with something else that you can remember – like an emotion, other memories, pictures, etc. You place this memory into a file and then retrieve it as needed. I utilize this method when training for the USA Memory Championships.

Other memory experts use mnemonics, a simple association by using rhymes and acronyms – like HOMES, in order to remember the names of all of the Great Lakes (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior). Common mnemonics are often verbal – a special word or short poem, visual or auditory association that a person can relate to something they already have stored in their memory. This is based on the fact that the human mind finds it easier to remember spatial, personal, or emotional information (surprising, sexual, humorous) as compared to retrieving an arbitrary sequence.

Other memory tips that can help:

§         If you want to remember a certain job you are supposed to do every day, try to visualize your dog in your fridge every time you walk past it or look inside. This will keep your dog fresh in your mind.

§         Try memorizing the order of a deck of playing cards. Although this may seem like a stupid exercise, it will allow you to discover memorization techniques that work best for you.

§         One simple easy way to help you remember people’s names is to look carefully at the person you are being introduced to and repeat that person’s name: “Nice to meet you, Aaron.”

§         Place black ink at the end of your hand to remember something important you have to do the next day, or for that day itself. Whenever you see the dot you’ll remember what to do.

§         Keep a diary or journal and write down everything you want to remember.

§         Eat healthy and get plenty of exercise and sleep. A Harvard University study found that those who get enough sleep (6-8 hours per night) tend to remember things better.

§         Put 10 objects on a tray and study them for 30 seconds. Then, take the tray away and try to remember (and write down) all the objects you saw. Continue to increase the number.

Memory training techniques are available for those who prefer to use their computer and programs.  There are also memory training workshops, seminars  and CDs, taught by people like me, who will be glad to give you examples and help you to improve your memory.




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