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MEMORY SKILLS: Making Your Head Strong

By :- Md. Nasir Khan,

Mind power in us gives us the brain energy and simultaneously it can prostrate us. We are now towards the third Millennium, the Millennium of the Mind, and in Second Millennium through the 21st Century, the century of the Brain. In between the ‘Brain’ Century and the ‘Mind’ Millennium the ultimate needs of every learner is to make our head strong. The more you mentally relaxed the better you can make your head strong. One simple activity to relax our mind is SMILE! Smiling fosters relaxation. With greater relaxation comes greater ability to recall. What comes on your way, be in classroom, society, family or in privacy, all confronts your working memory, then it comes to your short-term memory and finally it either goes to long-term memory or it goes off permanently. Important information needs to be retained yet it doesn’t happen to most of us. Your memory, in many ways, is who you are. Think of a situation where you met one of your close friends whose name you had forgotten and he called you by your name? Think of the embarrassment you would face that may reflect in your face.
In order to improve our Memory, we need to improve our Mind Power. Daydreaming in one important aspects that help you master the Mind Power. This power needs to be controlled; and to keep it in control you need to unleash the tension so that you can relax communicate with your internal channels, the subconscious mind. The fact is that your subconscious mind is much more receptive to suggestion when you are relaxed. Yoga, meditation, prayer, music, guided imagery, juggling, dog walk, deep breathing, relaxation, etc are few of the many effective techniques that allow you to totally relax your muscles, accelerate and communicate with your subconscious mind. (Unleashing the mental-stress can be had in our brain training session). In most cases you try to use the conscious mind; the sub-conscious mind makes you unleashed the stressed brain thereby helps you mentally peace and physically recharged.
Recalling information can be termed under three heads: Recall during learning, after learning and after a period of learning. During learning you can unlock information and such information stays active in your working memory. The working memory allows you to learn and retain those information later. It is active and has its limitations and has no defined duration. After learning you retain information in your head/ mind for a limited duration. Most adults can store between 5 and 9 items in their short-term memory. This idea was put forward by Miller (1956) and he called it the magic number 7. He thought that short term memory could hold 7 (plus or minus 2 items) because it only had a certain number of “slots” in which items could be stored. The challenges with all learners are the recall after a period of learning. Long term memory is responsible for three operations: Encoding: which is the ability to convert information into a knowledge structure. Storage: which is the ability to accumulate chunks of information. Retrieval: which is the ability to recall things you already know.
Revision Formula
The five times repetition formula of Tony Buzan is the solution to store your information in the long term memory and makes creative learning. This is the secret to reviewing information five times to make it stick. The first review should be an hour or so after you’ve first read or learnt something, for example, when you get home. The second, the day after (so take another look the next day after school). The third should be about a week later, the fourth one month later and the fifth and final time six months later. Then it’s yours, FOREVER!  The formula is STM­­­­—> LTM = 5R, from short term memory to long term memory requires five repetitions/ reviews/ recalls.  You can review most efficiently by drawing a Mind Map of your information; this will saves time and the examination blues, information overloads! Without effective revision you forgot 80% of new stuff you’ve learned in day. Isn’t it SCARY?
Memory Senses
We have five sensory organs eye, ear, nose, tongue, and skin. The specialized cells and tissues within these organs receive raw stimuli and translate them into signals the nervous system can use. Nerves relay the signals to the brain directly, which interprets them as sight (vision), sound (hearing), smell (olfaction), taste (gestation) and touch (tactile perception). These are the five memory senses we have. Can you believe it? You only have one option, BELIEVE IT! Eyes that you use observe information plays the major role of the memory senses. It contributes to 40%, ears contributes 25%, skin 15%, nose 10% and tongue 10%; altogether it makes 100%.
The logic behind memorising is simply the activation of the memory senses. The better you activate it during learning the more you can memorise it. Our memory senses are very much attracted to colours and pictures and indeed your brain thinks and remembers in pictures and colours. Say for instance, I said to you, ‘Your School’, what would pop into your head? Would it be a computer printout of the word, written in a line across the page, or would you get a picture in your mind of your school, the classrooms, the windows, and the corridor? Do you see what I mean? It was the picture of your school in colour that came into your mind first and not the words written on a piece of paper. So if you want to remember your school, summer camps, adventure trips, textbook, exams materials or anything else, the best way to do is to draw a picture of it, Mind Map it.
Most Important Graph in the World
May be you are watching a movie, listening to lectures in the classroom or you are reading a novel. How do you remember them? The most you remember would be the first part and the last part. This we call it primacy and recency effect. To create more and more primacy and recency effect, you need to take regular breaks. A learning period of between 20 and 50 minutes produces the best relationship between understanding and recall. How could you remember those important information given in between primacy and recency? You can learn more when things are associated or linked in some, by using, rhyme, repetition or something that connects with our senses. The brain will remember something better if it stands out from the context, particularly a BIG, loud, multisensory image. This is known as Von Restorff effect. There is one very important effect we would need to discuss; the Understanding and Misunderstanding Effect. This is a tricky one so brace yourself. Have you ever had a conversation where you know you said something, yet the other party knows you said something else? Everyone has, and normally it is not because one of you is just being awkward. It is because of this effect. Every individual creates different associations to different words and this can lead to different memories of the same situation. Again the Effect of Meaning plays a great role to remember what you are trying to memorise. Meaning and insight become part of the memory and learning process as your brain takes in bits of information and pieces them together to create a holistic picture. Try to connect it with real life examples and stories. And finally the interests! Interest is like a sleeping GIANT! ­­­­­­­­­­­When it is awakened, it is as if a massive turbine has been switched on in your brain and all Learning, Thinking, Memory and Creativity improve in one immediate, giant leap. It raises the entire curve; the more interested you are in a subject, the more you will make associations and remember more. This recall curve is well explained by Tony Buzan in his book the Most Important Graph in the World.
Sleep: This is the time the brain software is updated. It erases the less important parts of memories and simultaneously strengthens areas that you need or want to remember. During sleep your brain also rehearses some of the tougher parts of whatever you’re trying to learn, going over and over neural patterns to deepen and strengthen them. Lack of sleep means you’re operating with a brain that’s got little metabolic toxins floating around in it. Poisons that make it so you can’t think very clearly. In fact, getting too little sleep doesn’t just make you do worse on memory, too little sleep, over too long of a time, can also be associated with all sorts of nasty conditions, including headaches, depression, heart disease, diabetes, and just plain dying earlier. It would be an all time wise step if you could follow the sleep duration recommendations provided by Nation Sleep Foundation. www.sleepfoundation.org / www.sleep.org

Ashinikumar Mutum

Ashinikumar Mutum, a resident of Sagolband Meino Leirak has been writing for Imphal Times since 2016. He handles mostly Press release and announcement related news. Ashinikumar is also a social worker. He can be emailed at [email protected]

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