There are many ways to boost memory skills. For example, if you think that an older person can out maneuver you in a game of chess because he is more experienced, then your are making a big mistake. In a survey done in 2005, the majority of people can retain most of their mental capabilities well into their old age.
Playing a game of chess is a great mental activity. It is more than an interesting pastime. It is like teasing the brain and chess players are in fact training their brains. In one test done in Beijing China, a group of Chinese scientists set out to map the effects of a mental activity like chess on the mind. In a park where a group of 50 or more retired Chinese men congregate daily to play Chinese Chess, the researchers found that most of the men had above average mental and cognitive skills. They could hold witty and intelligent conversation and are much less prone to depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The research, spanning over 5 years conclude that the mental faculties of the group of chess-playing men showed no signs of waning as the group continued to age. If fact, their memory continued to improve.
Indeed, other scientific studies in the west show that the gray cells in the brain don’t just diminish in old age, as many people believe. Research shows that as the brain is challenged, the better it will function. Conversely, you are like a couch potato, doing little mental or physical activities, then your brain will start to fail you more and more as you grow older.
Boost Your Memory Skills
The brain can be trained, for instance by reading books, challenging mental puzzles or games, mathematical problems, memory games or with brain-teasing software programs developed by psychologists. There are some memory training programs that can help you perform mental calisthenics like memorizing long chains of numbers, grocery lists or even recognizing hundreds of faces. These programs can also help you to learn a foreign language.
There are other factors however, that can contribute to your maintaining your mental agility into a ripe old age. If you had a good general education, have an active and varied lifestyle, have an energetic partner and a supportive social environment, then you have something of a head start. On the other hand, if you live a life of constant routine, dissatisfaction with your own life or a dysfunctional social environment, this can lead to a deterioration of your mental faculties.
The general agreement between researchers and scientists is that if you keep your mind active, constantly learning new things to enhance your life and the lives of those around you, then you will find that your mental health will keep in tandem with you. Your memory will improve even as you age.
You’ll find that your concentration will not falter as your mind becomes sharper. Happiness will then become not only a state of mind but also a by-product of your earthly existence. Your mind will be in the best possible state and a healthy mind will also lead to a healthy and vibrant physical body.
Improve Your Memory Skills
Do you remember as a child lying on your back on a beach or in the field and looking at the different shapes of passing clouds? If you do, you will know how enjoyable it can be to focus completely on one thing. To be receptive, you need to allow all your senses to explore the environment. The more sensory pathways you open up, the more extensive and exact your perception will become. This has been acknowledged by scientists in numerous studies. Students can memorize new material twice as well if it is presented in a visual form – for instance, as a film or video – and not just by merely listening to a lecture. This is because visual cues from the eyes play an important part in the learning process.
The best known method for focusing our thoughts towards what is important and training our perception is Meditation. Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years by Buddhist monks for instance for spirituality and to open up the mind to new knowledge. Zen Buddhism is about mastering the art of Meditation to achieve remarkable things in life. Demonstrations have been performed by a skilled archer and meditator with his eyes blindfolded and shooting an arrow so accurately that it will put out a burning candle hundreds of paces away. He performs this feat by accomplishing the highest concentration and entering a state of deepest calm.
In western psychology, the phenomenon of controlled attention is also useful. Anyone who wish to train or improve his or her memory must begin by controlling perception. For instance, if you find that you keep forgetting someone’s name, it’s likely that you are too easily distracted and do not place enough emphasis or importance to the person’s name when you are introduced. A deeper focus on the situation will boost your memory skills. A quick tip is to look at the person’s face, without staring.
With a quick sweep of your eyes, notice what the person is wearing, the color of his or her eyes, hair, skin. Take an interest in that person, ask about where she was born, what are the person’s hobbies, children, pets etc. Ask the person how her name is spelled. If there is only one way to spell ‘Tom’, the more relevant question is to ask how to spell his last name. Take notice of it and make interesting associations with it and tie it in with what the person is wearing or the person’s physical attributes. Is he or she tall or short, fat or slender? Does he or she have freckles or a tan?
Your creativity is also influenced by how intensely you deal with the job at hand. If you need a new idea urgently – for example, an anniversary gift for a spouse, you perhaps need to let yourself be inspired by the world around you.
Boost Memory Skills and Concentration
Let’s imagine for a moment that you are sitting by a quiet stream in the countryside. You take in the bright sunshine and the fresh air. All of a sudden, right in front of you, a big fish jumps out of the water and splashes down. It swims away furiously as droplets of water run down your face. You hear the wind as it howls through the trees, the rustling leaves, perhaps a gurgling stream as it brushes against the rocks. The wind gently carries the smell of freshly cut grass. As you walk along the bank, you savour the fresh delight of some of the juicy, sweet berries that you have just picked. You taste the tangy juice as it drips down your throat.
Whether we are walking in a quiet country road or in a busy shopping mall, whether it is during the workday or while we are on a holiday, we take it for granted that we know what our surrounding is like. Our senses connect us to the world around us. Our senses help us perceive things that can bring to us a whole range of feelings, from intense happiness to sadness. But sometimes the information from our senses can be misleading, or we are too overloaded to interpret it. However, did you know that only a fraction of the information, or sensory stimuli, received by our sensory organs (eyes, nose, ears, skin, mouth) enters our consciousness? In fact, our brains have several filters that prevent us from being overwhelmed by the constant bombardment of new stimuli. By filtering out new information, we can concentrate our attention on the things that are important and thus keep the world in perspective.
Have you ever had the frustrating experience that your expensive state-of-the-art digital camera will not focus on the person in the tiny screen but on some unimportant object in the background? Fortunately, this cannot happen to us, for our brains are far more intelligent than the microchips and computers that run our camera. The brain automatically separates important things from what is secondary or irrelevant. In effect, our brain knows that you are more interested in taking a photo of your grandmother, uncle, aunt or child standing in front of the tree rather than the tree itself.
Likewise, an “aware” state of mind helps you to focus on what is important and what is “background noise”. For example, how many times have you ignored what a spouse or a family member is saying because you were too focused on something on television. How many times have you walked into a room and not know why you entered the room? Or how many times have you gone to the store and returned home and forgot a grocery item that was running out? Sometimes our filtering mechanism fail us but we can overcome this by practicing “mindful awareness” of what is important. We can train our minds to focus on the task at hand.
Here are some tips to improve your memory and train your brain. So the next time you need to go into a room to get a pen, think of a large spot of ink on your favorite shirt pocket.
The next time someone interrupts you while you are giving a presentation, make a mental picture of where you stopped. If you run out of milk and need to run to the store, imagine a cow with a apron telling you to get the milk, instead of coming home with a pack of frozen pizzas that was discounted. Boost your memory skills and remember, it’s all about ‘mindfulness’. Try it!