a useful memory tip

I’ve been listening to books on CD on my commute and I recently listened to a book called Improve Your Memory by Gary Small.

I wasn’t all that impressed by the book, especially since I had to search the web to find the title and author. You’d think after having just read a book on improving your memory I would have been able to remember. In any case, he gave me a useful tip that has already worked on a few occasions (not all, but some). He explained that when you have something on the tip of the tongue but just can’t seem to get at it, it’s usually because you’re trying too hard to remember it. This causes stress and anxiety in the brain, keeping you from being able to access the information.

His suggestion for the next time you know something but can’t seem to remember it is to take a deep breath, relax and think calmly about what it was you were trying to remember. Taking a few seconds to relax is often all you need to jar your memory because your mind works better in a calm and relaxed state.

I suggested this to a coworker when they were trying to say a name they knew but couldn’t recall. Their response was, “Oh those tricks never work for me, ” but they tried anyway. Sure enough, a few seconds later, out came the name.


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  1. Sounds like an everyday experience for me. Trying hard to remember something often makes it even more difficult whereas if I let myself briefly relax and think about other unrelated things, the piece of missing information will come to mind.

    Comment by danithew on June 29, 2006 @ 12:40 pm

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