The worst enemy to your memory or one of the worst is stress. When you are stressed you will not be able to focus and a lack of focus will kill your memory. When I trained for the USA Memory Championship I hired a former US Navy SEAL, TC Cummings. TC taught me a quote he learned in the SEALs, â€˜the more you sweat in times of peace the less you bleed in times of war.’ TC said the reasons the SEALs just didn’t win when they got to war but they dominated was that their training was so incredibly tough. Another way to put it, the easier you are on yourself when no one else is watching the tougher life will be on you. The harder you are on yourself when no one else is watching the easier life will be on you.
Taking this strategy and applying it to my training, I memorize cards underwater for the USA Memory Championship! I bought snorkel gear and slipped on my wet suit and got in the water. The theory was, if I made my training tougher than the tournament when the tournament occurred it would be easy. I had placed myself in an environment with distractions and forced myself to remain calm and focus.
At the tournament some were distracted by cameras going off…I wasn’t…because I had trained with distractions and stress as part of my training. While I trained I did not send the kids to the other room. I trained with them in the room and forced myself to focus as they played (and played hanging on me).
Another way to handle stress other than training with stress is relaxation and meditation.
It sounds odd to say that brain exercises could be relaxation but try this…..memorize a list of items or create files (as I teach in my memory program) and then go get a massage. As you are getting the massage and your body is being relaxed review what you have memorized.
Finally, work to remain calm in all situations. Before the memory championship I worked hard on staying calm when someone upset me, cut me off in traffic or said something rude or hurtful to me. This exercise of controlling my emotions and staying calm helped me remain calm in the tournament when the pressure was on. I had developed the habit of maintaining my cool under pressure. No one is perfect and you will blow your top. But this is a great exercise.
So there you have it – stress is the enemy of your memory so train and practice staying calm….