Though memory has been studied throughout history, it is not understood very well. Most people agree that short-term and long-term memory work differently but some researchers believe all memory processes are basically the same. However, injuries and illnesses usually affect only one or the other. Further study may clear up some mysteries of the human brain.
If you find yourself having difficulty recalling information, take a deep breath and relax. Sometimes all you need is a bit more time to allow your memory to retrieve the information. Feeling pressed for time can result in stress that inhibits the recall process. Remember that the older you are, the longer it takes to retrieve information from the memory.
A useful strategy when tasked with the memory of new information is to restructure and reorganize the information. The simplest way to do this is to take the information and create a summary outline in a notebook or on your computer. This works for two reasons. It is easier to remember something that you have worked with, and the process also naturally reorders the information in a way that is easier for you to remember.
Make sure your attention if focused on the material you want to remember. If you have other distractions going on around you – music playing, the TV on, kids talking, etc. – your mind won’t be able to focus on the material. This will result in it being hard to remember what you’ve studied.
Writing by hand is a great way to help your memory. Writing with a pen or pencil engages your brain in a different way than typing on a computer. You can either copy out a speech your trying to memorize or keep track of your daily to do list by writing in a calendar. If you’ve written it out, you may be able to remember without even checking your list!
Keep lists of everything. Keep a shopping list at all times. Hang it on your refrigerator. Every time you think of something you need, add it to the list. This will help make sure you don’t forget anything. Keep lists for other things as well, such as things that need done around your house.
Most of us live in routines. Our lives are centered around having the same routine each day or each week. If we stray from that routine it can keep us from being able to remember things. Your routine is what is holding back your memory. Change how you do things each day to force your brain to develop new ways of remembering and sorting information.
You can improve your memory while studying if you change the environment that surrounds you while you are studying. Changing your surroundings helps renew your enthusiasm and energy for learning. It also helps your memory work better. Your brain wakes up when it detects any change to your routines, and when the brain is awake, it can take in more information.
It’s interesting to note that the sensation known as deja vu is widely believed to be caused by the brain sending an event directly to long-term memory. Trauma to the head often erases long-term memory while sparing short-term memory. On the other hand, neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease do just the opposite.