Memory is the part of our mind in which information is enclosed, stored and retrieved. It helps you to recall when, who, where, what, why and how of everyday lives. How will it feel if you cannot easily recollect information? Or you quickly forget things?
Pages of scientific journals are filled with evidence that memory tends to decay with age. It is commonly belief that EVERYONE will have some memory loss as they get older. Though, memory trouble does come with age, but not everyone would have it. People who are more active, (mentally and physically) tend to have a better working memory as they age than people with sedentary lifestyle. For you to always be mentally alert, you must keep stretching your mind and be physically active. Constant learning is paramount. Learn new language (I’m currently learning Arabic, it’s pretty mind-boggling). Acquire new skills. Keep growing your fountain of knowledge. As you age, it’s become a little hard to keep your mind on more than one thing at a time. So, stay focused on what you’re doing at a time and it will be easier to find that memory later.
Memory loss is one of the first sign of Alzheimer’s diseases in old people. High blood pressure can affect your blood vessels that supply your brain and lead to memory loss. Dehydration, infection, stress, some medications (antidepressants, antihistamines, anti-anxiety medications, muscle relaxants, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, and pain medications given after surgery), substances abuse, poor nutrition, depression, anxiety and thyroid imbalance can negatively affect someone’s memory.
There is a marked difference between forgetfulness and memory loss. Not being able to recall where you put your keys, having trouble calling up a certain name or word, and taking longer to learn new things are signs of mild forgetfulness, which is common to most of us. However, getting lost in places you know well, asking the same questions repeatedly, not being able to follow direction, becoming confused about time, people and places, and forgetting to take proper care of yourself are cardinal signs of serious memory problem.
There are three kinds of memory; recent (working) memory, short time (remote) memory and long time (enduring) memory.
At this juncture, let me share with you the “IRA” principle that has aided me in remembering most information with ease.
The IRA principle stands for impression, repetition and association.
Impression: This simply means concentration. Focus your attention on what you are learning hundred percent and you have a high chance of remembering it. If you focus fully with your eyes and ears, the brain which is the center of memory will store and retrieve any information.
Concentration is the secret of power. If you can concentrate your mind on whatever you wish to remember, have a vivid impression on it, you have a very big probability of remembering it.
Repetition: Repetition is the simple secret of genius. If you truly want to retain any information read it over and over again intermittently and it will set in your mind. The best form of repetition is at intervals. Your brain has the capacity of recalling any information passed to it on a repeated basis after a window of giving the mind time to program it over and over again. So, instead of spending 30 minutes to memorize a Bible passage or a Quran verse, spend 10 minutes at 3 different times to study it. And you will have a better chance of remembering it.
Association: Associate what you want to remember with information you’ve already stored in your mind and you will easily recollect it. Associate dates with important dates of your life or significant dates in history. Use mnemonics or acronyms to file information in your mind. Use pictures to give the information you tend to remember live. Use ridiculous phrases or sentences to join your key information together. Do all these, and you have a clear chance of recalling any information stored in your subconscious mind. A long time memory is achievable if you can link what you want to remember with something.
Adequate sleep, meditation, good social life, anaerobic exercise and mind blogging games (crossword puzzles) all improve your memory.
I just gave you one of the principles that have helped me to be a thought leader and often remember information with ease. Apply it strategically.
Get enough sleep regularly. Exercise like an Olympics athlete. Keep learning new things. Be active. Enjoy life. Keep the meditation processes going.
I will be intentional in improving my mental alertness. I will always apply the IRA principle. I commit to a healthy lifestyle.