Want a Memory like His? First You Need to De-Clutter Your Mind

Daily Mail (London), April 22, 2011 | Go to article overview

Want a Memory like His? First You Need to De-Clutter Your Mind


FIND you can't remember names as you get older? New research has found the problem is that you know too much. The solution? Simple tricks to keep your memory fit, fresh and uncluttered, says eight times world memory champion Dominic O'Brien. Here are his top tips to keep your brain in tip top shape ...

TRY to slow down your life and be more conscious of what you do. The increasingly frenetic pace of modern society is obliging people to multi-task to the extent that memory (specifically, the ability to recall things) is fractured in the process.

For something to be remembered it needs time to sink in, i.e. to lay down the biological traces that are the pathway of memory.

DECLUTTERING your life will declutter your mind. Jumping too fast from one task to another may seem efficient. It is not. It does not give the brain the time to create memory pathways and thus results in increased forgetting, increased frustration, increased inefficiency and increased desperation. A good memory requires proper management of time.

BECOME aerobically fit. Oxygen is the memory's main fuel. Give your brain fuel! Anything that gets your heart rate up is great -- running, swimming and rowing are all good for both boosting your memory and decluttering your mind from the day-to-day trivia of living that may be preoccupying you.

COMPLIMENT your memory. Your memory is like an eager child. If you pay attention to it and nurture and encourage it, then it will grow up to be a very bright adult. If you criticise it -- endlessly telling it that it's no good and getting worse with age -- it will become the incompetent adult you predict. Say to yourself every day: 'I have an excellent memory.'

PUT your memory to the test. Ask a friend to show you a picture with ten items in it, then put the picture away. If you can remember only three or four items within two minutes then it is crucial you devote time to improving your memory. If you can remember nine or ten items then you're doing very well. Go on to try 20 items or 30 -- there is always room for improvement.

PRACTICE makes perfect. As you begin to use simple memory techniques, you will find your ability to recall facts, events, places and people gradually sharpens and your brain will grow larger and denser as a result. After 12 years of studying memory and training my own mind, I am able to perform incredible mental feats, including memorising the sequence of 54 packs of shuffled playing cards. So could you -- it's simply down to practice.

HAVE a memory-friendly diet. Anything with Omega 3, such as oily fish, is great for your brain, as are blueberries, which are full of cancer-fighting antioxidants. Your brain cells are the 'computer chips' of your memory and are made up of the food you eat. Good food: good brain; junk food: junk brain.

TO DEVELOP a good memory, you must develop your senses. When you put your keys or wallet or money down, look at where you put them. Your memory works on image association and location, and if you spend that fraction of a second looking at and checking the associated environment, observing the specific location of the object you put down, you will feed your memory the necessary data it needs to 'fish out' what it needs to recall later on.

THE Journey Method is the single most powerful technique that I have used to win eight world memory championships.

If you want to memorise any list of information in sequence -- whether it contains bullet points for a speech you have to give or a to-do list of important tasks -- then the Journey Method is a potent tool to ensure you never forget.

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