The ability to recall information and experiences wasn’t something I'd given much thought to before. It wasn’t until more and more friends and family started commenting on my capacity to remember details of otherwise forgotten conversations, places, and dates, that I thought about why this was the case.
Upon closer examination, I noticed particular habits and behaviors I had cultivated which lent themselves to developing a good memory. Below are some of these practices, which have helped me sustain and improve my memory. I hope you find them useful and beneficial too.
1. Say it to yourself.
Whenever you perform an act, say to yourself what you are doing in that moment. For instance, if you're writing an email, tell yourself either silently or out loud, "I am writing [this person] an email." This can work for any significant or mundane task. Making a mental note will help prevent you from wondering later whether you completed the task and avoid future doubtful moments.
2. Be observant.
Whether you're waiting for a friend at a restaurant, in the theater for the movie to start, in line at the DMV, or in traffic on the freeway, take a moment to look around and notice your presence in that place. Wherever you are, observe. Notice the clouds in the sky, or the decorations on the walls, any sounds, and the people around you. Make that moment a memory.
3. Read, then summarize.
Whenever you read an article, paragraph, or a chapter in a book, after you are done reading it, try to remember the main points without looking back. For example, after reading this post, can you recall the five daily practices to improve your memory? This process will start carrying over into other areas of your life as well, making it easier to remember things like grocery lists and conversations.
Genuinely listen to others when they're talking to you. Make a concerted and conscientious effort to be completely present during conversations. Friends have been genuinely surprised when I ask them about something they had shared with me months ago and even asked if they had indeed talked to me about said topic. Listening also helps to create more authentic and compassionate relationships!
There have been so many instances when after sitting for a few minutes, I remembered where I left something, or that I still needed to pay a bill, or run an errand. Meditation helps to clear the mind of the daily clutter that clogs up our true selves, as well as makes space for solutions to arise and creative ideas to grow.
Setting the intention and gradually practicing these techniques, will help to strengthen our memories over time. Once we're aware of the changes we can make, it becomes easier to incorporate them into our lives.