The areas in your brain that process this information for your memory are the hippocampus (the primitive structure in the brain), amygadala (processes emotion), cerebral cortex (used for processing information for long term memory such as languages) and network of neurons in the brain. To optimize these brain functions, I prefer to pay special attention to information that stimulate emotional responses (e.g. music, food, festivals, people) or relate to something that we already know (for instance, street names). Usually this sort of information is best to be noted down with pen on paper because it helps to transfer signals to store the information as long term memory.
Paying attention means concentration. Only by concentrating will you be able to keep passing information to your brain. Concentration is the most important part of improving your long term memory.
Let’s take from the example about the song on the video “Car keys and wallet” posted previously.
How often have you misplaced ordinary things like keys and pens? The number of times we have unlocked and locked the door of our house, fire up synapses in the brain and information about which the activities flow gets delivered into the brain at a consistent and constant pace. It is only if you involuntarily decide to place your keys in a different place in your house does the process becomes distorted. The brain has to be informed of this change. Failure to concentrate means new information is not collected. No matter how minute the detail, if the brain is not told to encode the new information, memory is never going to be created. The process of acquisition of new information cannot take place as there is no effort to concentrate on gathering this new information anyway.
Concentration is therefore the key to help you remember information you want to store in your memory. Here are some practical tips you can use:
1. write it down: handwritten as opposed to typing it down, as the muscular memory from writing will also activate the nerve cells used to store information about what is written.
2. record your voice: on your mobile which you can carry with you all the time for instance;
3. draw pictures: on small pocket diaries for instance;
4. read out loud what you have listened to;
5. make a habit to return things to where they belong;
6. create permanent homse for things you would use regularly and daily;
7. make labels for these homes you have created for visual memory (you don’t have to remember it ever again);
8. use fridge magnets to hold on to notes that you would use occasionally like phone numbers for services to fix things around the house;
9. isolate information that you are familiar with from those that are new. Bring this information together when you find time to concentrate;
10. if something seems totally strange, don’t attempt to make guesses on what it might mean. Look it up the dictionary. Even the most mundane movement like flipping the page is an activity you will remember which will lead to your brain storing new information you are trying to learn.