Essays

Improving Memory

Thanks for sharing this!

It’s probably safe to say that all of us would like to have a good memory. To run into an acquaintance or a classmate we haven’t seen in years and remember their name is an incredible high.

On the other hand, not being able to recall the names of the people in the new activity we joined two weeks ago can induce sweaty palms, stammering and a full blown panic attack.

A lot of us have worked our way around this last situation by simply saying: “Hi. How are you?”

That’s a good way out of what could be an embarrassing moment, especially if the others in the group remember our name. But after a while, they’ll catch on to what we’re doing.

So how come we can remember an acquaintance or a classmate from twenty, thirty, forty, even fifty years ago, but can’t remember the names of the people we’re meeting with once a week?

Here in Carpenter Country we’ve learned the answer.

The first incident is lodged in long term memory. The second entered short-term memory, but never went any further.

Is there a way to improve short-term memory and recall new names? Yes–qualified by–not always, but often enough to make us feel better about our minds.

First, put away the anxiety. It takes energy away from thought.

Second, if the name refuses to pop up, concentrate and listen. When the name is mentioned again, attempt to make a mental picture of the person and their title.

If they’re called Sandra–try thinking of a sandy beach. Noel could personify Christmas. Lorri brings a laurel wreath to mind. Helen, when remembered with two L’s, is a not-so-nice place to end up in.

Failure is common the first few times. Just keep trying. Improving a mind takes a great deal of persistence, but it’s worth the effort.

The day we looked a new acquaintance in the eye and thought–a beach–then said: “Hi, Myrtle,” made all the work seem like play.

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