One of my first posts on Wellness Wednesday tackled the ever relevant topic of attention and provided several tips to improve focus and concentration during the day. Today, I wanted to follow up on that post and explore memory, a different but highly interrelated ability. Indeed, if we do not pay attention, we definitely are unable to encode information into our memory storage systems.
In order to understand how to improve our memory we need to understand how memory works. Current theories of memory focus on three distinct stages: sensory memory; short-term memory; and, long-term memory. It is a common misconception that the briefer aspects of memory are far lengthier than they really are. For instance, sensory memory is only 2-3 seconds and short term memory only naturally lasts around 20-30 seconds. While we may be able to do a series of tricks to make those first two stages seem like they are lasting a bit longer, what you are probably most interested in is improving is your long term memory.
The best way to “improve” your long term memory is to make sure that you encode information properly so that it is stored in long term memory. You also want to make sure that the information is encoded in a manner that is easily retrieved where and when you need it.
Consider the file folder system at an old school doctors office with hundreds of patient files are filed alphabetically by last name. Our brain's memory storage is surprisingly similar to this. If we do not file information in an organized way, we will have immense difficulty retrieving the information when needed from those long-term memory stores.
Now that we have a bit of background on how memory works, let us get started on some basic memory strategies that you can use (or maybe you are already using intuitively) to help yourself be more productive each day.
Four memory strategies that you can start using today:
Give one of these techniques a try and let me know which helps your memory the most. Do you have any other memory strategies that you find help?
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Jessica is a member of the clinical wellness and learning support team at FLEX Psychology. Jessica started Wellness Wednesday out of a desire to provide further opportunities for her clients to extend their wellness journey to all avenues of their life. You can learn more about Jessica by clicking here or by learning more about her and the clinical team at FLEX Psychology by clicking here.