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5 Memory Hacks To Remember Everything

5 Memory Hacks To Remember Everything

Believe it or not, the mind actually has unlimited capacity when it comes to what it can remember. The multi-store memory model explains this further but in short, provided you keep the information well rehearsed you can keep it in your memory indefinitely. There are also different ways the mind can learn and pick up information so here are 5 proven memory hacks to learn and remember everything:

1. Repetition

The most commonly used method but most people never use this efficiently. Repetition works because you start to transfer the information from your short-term memory (which has limited capacity and duration) into your long-term memory (which has unlimited duration and capacity). Repetition is normally done by writing something over and over until it begins to stick however did you know that a more effective way is to also speak it out loud? Or even by trying to explain what you’re learning to yourself in front of a mirror.

Information is stored in your long-term memory when it has been processed “deep” enough and writing something repeatedly is a very linear way of learning as it creates only a single pathway to the memory. When you combine this with speaking it out loud or having to try and explain what you’re learning too, you begin to form multiple pathways to the formed memory rather than a single one.

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Explaining something begins to cement the information into your semantic memory (used for understanding meaning) while speaking it out loud also helps store memory in an auditory store (this is how we recall and remember music in our heads). More pathways to the memory make it easier to recall.

2. Mnemonics

Mnemonics are incredibly effective for remembering list forms of information. You can effectively remember hundreds of pieces of information this way if you were determined enough. Mnemonics are a form of “chunking” (which is another memory technique but sufficiently different enough) and work by using a phrase to act as trigger words to remember more information as each word has further meaning within it.

For example: If you wanted to remember all 9 pla,nets in our solar system as well as their order from closest to the sun, trying to remember this information can be difficult however mnemonics make this so simple you can learn it in 20 minutes. Simply remembering the phrase “My Very Easy Method Just Shows Us Nine Planets” can be all it takes as the first letter of each word represents the planets.

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M = Mars, V = Venus, E = Earth M = Mercury, J = Jupiter, S = Saturn, U = Uranus, N = Neptune, P = Pluto

Now apply this type of memory technique to any information you need to learn and try to turn it into a memorable phrase. They key bit is to make the phrase memorable and roll off the tongue easily. Anything deemed too hard to say will also be difficult to remember otherwise.

3. Method Of Loci

Popularised originally by ancient Greeks and Romans, the method of loci is great for visual learners as it involves the use of your imagination and spatial memory which is a separate form of memory. This method involves you imagining a room or layout of somewhere familiar such as a street. You then assign meaning to each familiar object you pass and whatever it is you wish to learn.

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As you walk through your mental version of this layout and see these objects, they then trigger your memory for what they stand for helping you recall the information. This concept was famously used by Darren Brown and also by Sherlock Holmes who refers to this as his “mind palace”. If you have a vivid imagination (think artists, painters or people with a creative streak) but struggle with remembering words, this one is for you.

4. Chunking

I mentioned this briefly above but what exactly is chunking? This is the process of grouping large pieces of information into smaller pieces and then remembering these small pieces (rather than everything at once). You have a long string of information or essay to remember, what do you do? Simple, break them down into smaller chunks and remember these individual pieces instead.

For example if you needed to remember this string of letters: ACATJUMPEDOVERTHEHILL. You break down this string into chunks as follows and remember each individual piece one at a time rather than all of them at once: ACAT-JUMPED-OVER-THE-HILL

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Why does this work? This works because the short-term memory store on average can only hold approximately 5-9 pieces of information at once. Trying to learn more than this and transfer it into the long-term memory store will usually see your average person struggle. Therefore breaking it down into more manageable chunks that fit within the short-term memory store means you can grasp it all and learn it without feeling overwhelmed.

5. Mind Maps

Mind maps work because just like the mind, they think in every direction. You normally put what you’re trying to remember (or the question) in the middle and then draw branches coming out of it for all the different aspects of your answer. This is more visually easy to do than write paragraphs because if you find it easier to remember pictures rather than words, mind maps are for you.

In short; It’s easier to remember a picture than hundreds of words in your mind and mind maps help translate those words into a visual format and back again into words when you need to write them.

Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek/www.picjumbo.com via picjumbo.com

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Saj Devshi

Psychology Teacher

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Last Updated on October 22, 2020

2 Transformational Ways to Spark Your Creative Energy

2 Transformational Ways to Spark Your Creative Energy

Good things come in twos: Peanut butter and jelly, Day and night, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The same is true for what sparks our creative energy: our thoughts and actions.

Creativity is an inside job as much as it is about a conducive schedule, physical environment, and supportive behaviors. By establishing the right internal and external landscape, creativity can blossom from the abstract to the concrete and we can have fun along the way.

Sparking creativity is all about setting up the right conditions so a spark is ignited and sustained. The sparks don’t fizzle out. They are allowed to grow and ripen.

Think of a garden. Intention alone will not produce the delicious red tomato nor will the readiest seed. That seed needs attention at its nascent stage and as it grows a stalk and produces fruit. If we want to enjoy more than one fruit, we keep at it, cultivating the plant and reaping multiple harvests.

Creativity lives in each of us like seeds in the earth or encapsulated in a nut. Seeds of ideas, concepts, designs, stories, images, and even ways of communicating that surprise and delight await activation.

By sparking our creative energy, we activate these unique seeds. Like snowflakes, they are of a moment and always without a match. The smallest sparks encourage even the smallest, most dormant seeds to sprout.

The good news is that our creative energy wishes to be sparked—to be invited to play. It wants to be our regular playmate.

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1. Be Childlike in Your Thoughts, Attitudes, and Approach

Being childlike in our thoughts, attitudes, and approach is an easy way to internally have our thoughts be gracious prolific gardeners to our creative energy. If we want it to come out and play and hang around as our regular companion, then let’s return to our 5-year-old selves.

Our childhood selves are naturally curious. We still have that curiosity! All we have to do is remind ourselves to get curious. We can do that by simply observing and being with what is in front of us instead of making up a story about what won’t work or why something can’t be done. So, it’s about cultivating curiosity instead of jumping into judgment.

Move Your Inner Judge to the Sidelines

When we get curious, creativity percolates and, ultimately, takes its place in the world. To give a hand in choosing curiosity over judgment, we can move the judge that also lives inside us to the sidelines. The judge squashes our creative urges, even when they are as small as sharing a point of view. It’s that pesky voice that causes us to doubt ourselves or worry about what others will think.

The judge is also risk-averse. The judge likes things to stay the same. Change makes the judge nervous.

Creativity is all about risk and changing things up. It needs risk, even failure, to be its naturally innovative, dynamic, impactful self. The judge likes to convince us failure is something to be avoided at all costs.

To move the judge to the sidelines and let curiosity reign, we can pay attention to who we are in conversation with and who is calling the shots.

Is it the voice of fear, doubt, or anxiety (the inner-critic—the judge’s boss)? Or is it the voice of wisdom, courage, strength, and non-attachment, and of course curiosity (the inner-leader)?

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We can easily tell the difference by how each makes us feel. The inner-critic depletes and slows us down, putting roadblocks in the way. The inner-leader energizes and a natural rhythm develops.

It’s all about who we spend time with. If we wish to exercise, we will seek out our friends who go to the gym or hike. If we want to lose some weight, we will opt to eat dinner with someone who prefers a healthy spot over fast food.

After getting curious, we can honor what our curiosity prompts us to do. The spark can do its job and a fire starts to glow when commitment enters. Our childhood selves were fully committed to being creative. That level of commitment is still something we are very capable of exercising!!

Again, we need to let go of the judge. We can ask ourselves, what do we want to commit to—negativity that depletes our creative energy, depth, and output, or the understanding that our thoughts and attitudes matter and that right thoughts and attitudes are the sparks that really let our creativity come alive?

Learn to Recall Your Childhood Self

To get in touch with that unabashedly committed childhood self, recall your childhood self. If you have a picture, pull one out. Keep it around so you can remember to activate that innate creative nature that was prominent then and wants to be prominent now and always.

Soak in the essence of that being. Commit to their commitment to brave and dogged trial and error because it is yours as well. You are that person.

Remember how tenacious you were when you wanted to build that sandcastle. You kept at it as the waves came in. You built with fury or reconfigured the walls. Also, remember that there was a willingness to fail since you were as invested in the process as well as the outcome—but less with the outcome. You were willing to experiment and start again. There was vitality—the main lifeline of your creative energy—instead of a rigid attachment.

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When you notice you are in conversation with your inner-critic or being held back by it, simply acknowledge, name it, and then switch to your inner-leader by taking a few good deep belly breaths, rubbing two fingertips together, or listening to ambient sounds in the background.

Physical movements shift our negative thoughts over to the positive domain of the inner-leader. As our judge continues to sit on the sidelines, our ability to quiet the inner-critic becomes stronger. We taste freedom. A simple taste emboldens us to say no again to the judge and yes to what makes our hearts and spirits sing—our creativity.

We begin to spark creativity to the point it no longer needs to be invited to play. It becomes our regular playmate—the younger sibling or the kid next door ready to have some fun, maybe even make some mischief by shaking things up.

When we align with our inner-leader and think and act from its promptings, creativity flows up and out with ease, as it needs to!

Letting those initial sparks generate a creativity fire that keeps burning is something we can all do! That’s the inside job.

2. Listen to Your Inner Leaders of Creative Energy

If we listen, our inner-leaders will let us know just what we need to set-up and do in our physical world to maximize that gorgeous, hungry creativity we now have flowing freely in us.

The seed has been unlocked! So, now what?

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To enable our creative energy to take its form and place outside of us, there needs to be spaciousness! Spaciousness in our physical worlds impacts our internal one. It lets the voice of the inner-leader be heard. It lets creativity have room to be sparked and acted upon.

With a little discipline, we can easily create spaciousness in our daily lives—spaciousness that will spark our creativity and let it take shape.

So, no matter who you are and what conditions help your creativity thrive, check-out these easy-to-implement basic suggestions:

  • Reduce or eliminate multi-tasking.
  • Say yes to what matters and what aligns with your big values and goals.
  • Say no to all else.
  • Say no again.
  • Schedule time in your calendar as you do with other things in your life to just be, to ponder, to let ideas percolate, and to create.
  • Spend time doing the things that bring out your creative energy. It could be walking, singing, or simply looking out the window.
  • Meditate.
  • Breathe—long breaths in and long breaths out through the nose.
  • Invite your body and heart into your experiences so your mind is a part of you and not all of you.
  • Try a new thing to spark your creativity. If you spend time running, try a different route. If running feels stale, cruise around a museum, or go for a bike ride.
  • Play a game. Indoors out or outside. Think of what makes you happy that you haven’t done in a while. Is it a physical game like badminton or cards? Maybe it’s storytelling? Play is creative, and it sparks the creative energy, too.
  • Spend time in the places that bring out your creativity. What spot in your home could be your spot for entering into that mode? Do you need to get out? Maybe a park bench is the right spot, with a book of poetry, or even nothing at all.
  • Spend time in nature. Nature brings us to a place of calm and awe and through that our creativity is easily sparked.

Final Thoughts

These are all habits—habits of mind and habits of doing. Experiment with what works for you. Have fun. If you give even 50% to altering your thoughts and actions, then you will begin to spark your creativity. It takes a lot of curiosity and commitment, but it can definitely be done.

Our innate creative energy is a deep source of all that we seek—joy, connection, renewal. It deserves and looks forward to the changes you will make that will let sparks fly and ignite!

More Tips to Spark Your Creative Energy

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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