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Wednesday, 11 March 2020

The Third Technique: Using Mnemonics to assist the Memory

Mnemonics is a highly effective system to assist memory, and there are all sorts of mnemonic techniques which work in different ways, but all of them are based upon a simple principle. This principle is that the evolution has suited the human mind to remembering images much better than it remembers mere words. Think of words as a wheel barrow, simply a device for carrying information, and that information is usually in the form of images.
The Third Technique: Using Mnemonics to assist the Memory
The Third Technique: Using Mnemonics to assist the Memory

Words are simply a convenient method of communication, to transfer images from one mind to another. Often you'll find that when you remember a scene from a book you read years ago, you'll remember it not in words, but in images, and actually see the characters in the scene moving about and talking to each other. So you see the mind depends heavily on images when it wants to remember something, and if you insist on trying to remember things in words, you are placing an unnecessary strain on your mind's natural memory abilities and capacities.

One of the most important mnemonic methods there is uses vivid images to create memories that cannot easily be forgotten. For example, let's say tat you have a friend from whom you want to borrow something, say his ski equipment for a winter holiday you are going to go on, let's say this friend also likes traveling and backpacking. Well,now form an image of your friend that is as funny as possible. Imagine him in a flowery Hawaiian shirts and shorts with a hat on his head and sunburn on his face, with hiking shoes on and socks that are slipping down his legs. Imagine him hiking in some lovely green mountains under a hot sun, and with the ski equipment you want to borrow strapped to his back.

This picture is so ridiculous that you will be quite enable to forget it. To remember that you are supposed to meet him at one, you can add to this picture the images that associate with the number one, such as one hat on his head, one walking stick in his hand, and perhaps even something impossible and ridiculous like one lion walking beside him. When you think of this picture, you will think of your friend, of course. When you see the ski equipment on his back on your mind's eye, you will remember why you want to see him, and when you imagine the lion walking beside him, you will remember that you have to see him at one.

This is only a suggestion, and you can have fun inventing all sorts of pictures, images that can help you to remember where you put your watch, when you have to take your medicines, your appointment with the doctor, and even a friend's or spouse's birthday. You see how you can use vivid imagery to create unmistakable and unforgettable memory sequences, memory sequences that are far more reliable than mere words. Then these memories can be joined together in long consecutive sequences if necessary, and used in more innovative and imaginative ways. Experiment and see what works with you. I'll be giving you a lot more suggestions about mnemonics, so you'll have a better idea of what works.

Of course, mnemonics are just a memory trick, but they have an interesting effect in that they help to train the memory to work on images rather than on words. A lot of us from our college days are used to working in words - we remembered long sets of information on different subjects for various examinations, and most of that information was in words, not it pictures. But the fact remains that words are just about the most difficult things to remember. Of course it's not impossible to remember things in words, and most of us have done so more a great deal of our lives, but it's not part of human evolution and therefore something unnatural to us, and we can do much better are memorizing things if we relay on images as well.

Well, the memory technique that I just taught you not only helps you to remember things of immediate importance, but it also helps you to train your mind to think in images and to rely more on images when it comes to remembering things, or trying to. Lets try another set of images. Suppose you have to meet a business partner who happens to be arriving by train today. What sort of image would you create that would be distinctive enough for your mind to latch on to? Well, let's say that your business partner is a very sedentary person.

Perhaps you could imagine an unusual image of him training in a gym, something that would be distinctive enough that you would remember it. Say that he's arriving at seven o'clock, and you want to remember that too. Well, you can imagine that he's really hot and sweaty from training in the gym, and that he has seven whole bottles of water near him that he regularly drinks from while working out. Again, this is just a suggested image, but it gives you a rough idea of how to go about things, an idea that you can apply in any way that suits you. By all means create images that fit with your personality, or perhaps images that are vivid in your mind so that they are easier to remember.

Remember, mnemonics is just a means to an end, a way to achieve a goal, and to hold things within your mind that you might otherwise be tempted to write on paper. And the good news about mnemonics is that unlike a note on paper or on your smart phone, it actually exercises the memory centers in your brain, thereby improving your memory, rather than degrading it. It just changes the way your brain remembers something, but still uses the pathways of the brain to store information.

Use mnemonics regularly and you'll find that your ability to remember even information in words improves, and that there's an overall improvement in every aspect of your memory capacity, and that problems with your memory are simply things of the past. Best of all, using mnemonics successfully is important, because there are a lot of more advanced techniques that are based on a mastery of this, and which can be used to improve your memory skills even further. These advanced techniques do not come within the scope of this guide, but in any case you have to master basic mnemonic techniques before you can use the more advanced ones.

But once you do master the basic techniques, you can go on to use highly advanced methods of memory enhancement and control. Lastly, remember that as with everything to do with the mind and memory, mnemonics too is a matter of practice, and the application of will and imagination.

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