Having spent almost four months blogging about health I just realized I’ve missed out a very important topic: memory. We all know that to keep our bodies fit and healthy we should get physical exercise and have a salad a day. But what about memory? Most of us think that loosing our memories is just something that goes hand-in-hand with getting older, but it doesn’t have to be that way. If you want to learn how to improve you’re memory you’ll be pleased to know that there are some memory techniques that can be learnt. Bear in mind however that your memory won’t magically improve over night. You really need to work at improving your memory over time, it will happen, you just need some patience.
The Amazing Memory Kit
My mum bought The Amazing Memory Kit: Everything You Need to Improve Your Memory! a couple of years ago and, surprise surprise, forgot to use it. So over the weekend I decided to drag it out and check it over. The creator is Dominic O’Brien who has won the World Memory Championships eight times for being able to recall an amazing amount of information. He always believed that he was a slow learner however after seeing someone recall 52 playing cards in the correct order he decided to investigate a way of remembering better.
The kit includes a 63-page book which describes the various techniques of improving memory; a Magical Memory Journey Mapbook; a Memory Wheel and Memory Cards.
When I first looked at the kit I thought that it would be full of IQ-style questions designed to give your brain a mental workout. However when I started reading the book I realized that it’s more of a system which you have to learn and develop.
Many of the techniques involve the imagination and creating bizarre stories. For instance, if you have to memorize a list of 10 objects you should include those objects in a crazy story. Here’s the beginning of a story he tells in the book: “An ATHLETE who is starting to FLAG hit the DUST when a GOLBLIN struck him on the TEMPLE with a stone…”
The more crazy the imagery is the more likely you are to remember it.
Other techniques include imagining that you are placing object into drawers eg a bottle of BOLinger is placed in the BOLIVIA drawer. I’m not so keen on this technique myself, but I’m working on it. Of course, everyone is different; you might like this technique straight away.
Is there a journey you do so often you can remember it inside out? For instance going to work or the gym? Well, use that mental map to attach objects to landmarks on the journey. Again the more bizarre the imagery the more it will stick in your mind. Included in the kit is the journey map which is great for people who find it difficult to use their own mental journey. I used this book yesterday and was able to remember 25 objects perfectly. I imagined all sort of strange things including stealing sunglasses from a scare crow and using a guitar to play volleyball. I can still remember the 25 objects in the correct order today.
This is the part I really have to work a lot more on. When you first meet some one you need to look at their most distinguishing feature and somehow link it to their name using imagery/word association. The kit comes with a wheel that you can rotate that has 13 faces, names and careers on it. You can rotate the discs to give more than 2,000 “party guests”.
Let’s face it, numbers are pretty dull. Which is why Dominic has created some techniques to combat memory blocks. He created the DOMINIC method which involves allocating a letter to a number. For instance, 1 = A, 2 = B and 3 = C. These letters then become the initials of famous people. If you want to remember 23 then that would be BC which might be Bill Clinton.
At first I didn’t understand the point in doing this. It all sounds a bit of a palaver. However if you need to remember really long strings of numbers then you can put the names of famous people into your journey map.
To remember 237263 it might be Bill Clinton (23) is washing your car, then you see George Bush (72) pulling hamburgers out a trash can, at the bus stop you see Sean Connery (63) begging for spare change.
Alternatively you can look at the shape of each number and decide what it resembles. For instance a swan looks like a 2 whilst a boomerang looks like the number 7.
The book is really easy to read so you don’t have to worry about it being too technical. Obviously you’ll want to re-read it a number of times to fully understand the concepts but overall it’s very accessible for the average person. Don’t expect to read through the book and suddenly be able to remember better than you did yesterday. You will need to work at it.
The book also talks about using the above techniques to remember poems, speeches and remaining composed during a job interview. These things, you could say, are more practical than just remembering lists as a party trick.
I really like the kit and would recommend anyone who wants to improve or maintain their memory to buy The Amazing Memory Kit. The more you work on it the better you’ll become.