Help Yourself to a Sharper Memory
By nature, the brain has the ability to retain facial images of people casually met years ago. But remembering names can be a problem. We often hear “It’s at the tip of my tongue.” Even recalling where, when, and how you met a person in the past can be frustrating. If you’re lucky, a slight clue might help to trigger what was temporarily lost in memory.
But how can you improve this predicament to a more acceptable level to avoid social embarrassment? The succeeding tips can help:
The first time you meet someone, repeat and keep repeating mentally the name of the person until it is committed to memory. If you keep the person in high esteem, you will keep repeating the name each passing day until you feel comfortable that it has found a place in your memory bank. Periodically recalling the name will strengthen its retention. This is exercise for the brain; much like physical exercise is for the body.
If you have an inclination to link a name to an object that could easily make you recall it, use this to your advantage. Look for distinctive facial features that would remind you of the person’s name and visually associate that individual to the object you have in mind. To reinforce your memory further, some exaggeration on the person’s occupation or profession would be a great help. For example, you met a cashier working for a bank, visualize him as a cash register like the ones used in supermarkets. If you can inject humor into your imagination of the person's name and features to an object (sort of an over exaggeration), you will be much better off remembering the person’s name the next time you meet him.
Try to be more observant. Researchers believe that the more observant a person is, the keener the memory skills of the person becomes. This is actually honing or fine tuning the memory brain cells to bring them to peak performance. If you practice this exercise, you are in effect activating and strengthening your memory reserves. What used to be dormant or perhaps inactive memory brain cells are called to do what they’re supposed to do. Go out into the woods and observe the wonders of nature. You can also do it indoors by observing your pets like a rabbit, hamster, or fishes in an aquarium.
Getting enough sleep and going to bed early can help improve memory. According to researchers, while you sleep, the brain sorts out information collected during the day and organize them to usable form; so that the next time they are needed, they can be recalled with ease. The same thing goes true with taking short naps in midday. The brain is made to rest and recover from the load of work it had done earlier.
How about difficult names? If you’ve been introduced to someone with a difficult name to pronounce, chances are the name is also difficult to spell. And most likely, the person being introduced to you will admit to this difficulty. Such person would undoubtedly understand a remark like “I’ve never come across such a name before; how do you spell it?” Without hesitation, the person will gladly spell out the letters of his name. While this is being done, you can echo in a soft tone the letters of the name. Commit them to memory. Keep on replaying these letters to memory. In effect, this commits the name of the person into your memory bank. Associate the name with an object if you must to strengthen memory retention. Add some humor (the more ridiculous and outrageous, the better) into the association.
Cutting down or totally eliminating tobacco and caffeine-containing beverages can drastically improve and restore the mental capacity to retain memory. Smoking creates a cloud of smoke in the brain’s ability to process data or information. On the other hand, caffeine makes a person feel agitated or irritable, especially when taken excessively. The brain functions at its peak when relaxed. A healthy body results to a healthy mind, and in turn results to a healthy memory.
When a large group of people is being introduced to you, it is extremely difficult to retain to memory the names of many people at such a short time. The best way to remember each of them is to break them into smaller groups. It’s much like chewing food before swallowing it, rather than swallowing a big whole piece all at once.