Is there such a thing as a memory fast-lane and how can something like this be activated?
If you are reading this article, chances are you have either lost something or are looking for an easy way to remember things. This article aspires to help you with both.
There are some simple things that you can do now to improve memory that will help with the retrieval of items in the short term and others, that will help you to progressively build and develop a sharper memory for the long term. But, there is a competing force for your attention that can block your ability to recall things. It is daily communication through short bursts of information that distract us and take us down a media rabbit hole. We lose time drifting online, one video and one tweet and one news clip. One click and a half hour later we realize that the winding route to our attention has been captured by cat videos and empty searches.
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Attention deficits are like malware in your own mind. Small and imperfect details, a scattering of focus corrupts our ability to capture moments and improve memory retention. As you are being pulled in many directions by social media and advertising on the web, your productive time is being stolen. And, your record of being more present and filling in that experience with more sensory detail is under seige.
It is estimated that the opportunity to capture someone’s attention is a mere ten seconds. This implies this is a short window to get someone’s attention but also there are ten second bursts to snap out of it. If we aren’t given the time between distraction, how can we recalibrate our focus and remember more detail?
This article is about how you can develop the mental muscle to retrieve details when you need them and how to strengthen your memory. It’s about finding your memory fast lane and exploiting it.
So how can we change a weak memory? And, what are some of the easy things we can do right now to figure out how to find something we thought we lost.
Begin with details.
The place to begin with a weak memory is where it begins to slide. DETAILS. Are you overloaded, too busy or distracted to notice details? Then, the real work begins with learning how to be more present, focused and learn how to polish your observation skills. A basic visualization technique will teach you how to tap into all of these things in order to record more detail. Expect a learning curve despite any natural skill. Visualization might mean taking the time to progressively learn and expand how you see things.
How to Visualize.
Visualization is as simple as a day dream. If you have seen images float through your mind during the day, then you have had a glimpse of what visualization is like. The only difference is that visualization can be done by deliberately setting aside a time to relax, mediate and then, imagine your own movie inside your mind.
With practice, vivid details will become more pronounced. Some might suggest that you are in training for creating a perfect or a photographic memory by doing this. I would like to think that this is another type of self mastery. We are capable of so much more than we experience. And, teaching yourself to see inside your own mind is just one skill that can be used to resolve situations in life beyond finding lost objects.
Even if images emerge as faded or imperfect puzzle pieces, you can learn to sharpen your focus. Breathing techniques can be used to sharpen focus and pencil in more detail. If you are interested in exploring more about breath activated focus. Click the image to link to a recent post on the subject.
Memory Fast lane: Simple Techniques.
What if you are a poor visualizer and you need to find a something right now that is missing or lost? Try these simple approaches.
- Stand still and breath in deeply. It gives your brain cells more oxygen and moves the circulation. It also sharpens your focus depending on the breathing technique used.
- Ask. When was the last time you recall you had the lost item? Where were you and what were you doing? If you can’t remember that, it’s ok. We’ll move onto the next best thing.
- Do you usually hold onto this item or place it in something else [pockets, purses, gym bag, glove compartment in the car] to carry it? Investigate those pockets and holding places.
- Retrace your steps. Replay your day in your mind. What was the last conversation you had about? Is there a face or place that immediately pops into your thoughts?
- Conduct an Intuitive search. Where are you compelled to go to look for X? It might not make any sense, but follow your intuitive hit’s lead.
- An emotional memory search. Finding links to the lost item. What type of emotions come up when you think of your day and then, the loss of the item? Were you in a hurry all day and did you toss it somewhere?
- Go back to the place in your imagination and visualize the lost item. What is your gut telling you about this? Do you need to go back there? What did you miss before and now realize you need to do to retrieve it?
I once lost a small set of keys as I was putting a swim bag into the trunk of my car. I didn’t notice the keys were missing until I opened the trunk later and didn’t find them inside the trunk or clipped to the bag. I visualized myself holding the keys and saw them laying near the curb where I had parked my car. I went back to the same parking spot and spotted the keys on the ground just as I had visualized. Lucky find? or was I able to reach into an observer mode and revisit that memory “differently”?
Two ways to access a memory.
When you want to expand memory, you add cards, more RAM and more hardware. Such is the same for your own mind and it’s capacity to expand, and create more information highways to manage more sensory information. It is possible to become an observer and be present at the same time. Both levels of experience in the moment carve out two distinct pathways to remember it. When one is blurred, the other can be used to find what has been lost.
Sometimes it is the quiet observer that sees the most.
Kathryne L. Nelson
When we think of observer mode, it might conjure ideas of what you see as you, through your own eyes. But what if you take this even further? What if you step outside of your self and see yourself navigate through your day. Witness the conversations, your thoughts and where you went as if you are watching a movie. It changes perspectives and records another layer of detail that can be used as memory.
In today’s rush, we all think to much, seek too much- want too much and forget about the joy of just being.
The other layer of experience is a sensory one. Being fully present in the moment requires attention to your own breath, your emotions, thoughts and what you are seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, touching and picking up intuitively. In a way, it is like a sweeping radar over the moment. It takes in more detail only a memory and a snapshot of the moment can unravel. To recall something, you just need to revisit one snapshot of your being present. Use location, a sound, a conversation, what time it was etc to pull you into that moment. Observe it and gather sensory detail to figure out what happened to your lost object.
Expanding your memory.
The sleekest way to expand memory is to learn to visualize. Seeing images in your own mind, the detail automatically sharpen focus and hones your observation skills. When you add a meditation practice, it naturally slows you down, and gives you a clear and calm state to work from. It strengthens mindfulness, heart presence and being open to your deep mind. Combining meditation and visualization opens the mind to intuitive and strategic problem solving. As mentioned, memory has many sensory threads of experience.
One very interesting technique you can use to recall information and find something that is lost is by using your intuition to search for X. This one requires you to be still, quiet and use your breath to relax into a deep mind space. Let the thoughts float through your mind. Ask your higher mind and self for guidance on the location of a lost object. Allow images to enter your mind. If nothing happens. Just put in the request. “Find X”. “Lead me to choose and be where this item is and find it easily”.
Letting go after putting in your request is another way to let the subconscious mind to do the search for you. Sometimes it means you need to walk away from being upset or determined to force the search and relax. Focus on something else. Carry on doing what your day demands and let a sudden “jolt” of recognition or an insight come to you. Don’t chase it down. Let the object come to you intuitively.
It is natural to forget things but being able to recall and retrieve detail is a powerful and transformative skill. The biggest hurdle, I think, is distraction and not being fully present. If we can get our focus back and sharpen it with breath and visualization, it will make a profound difference to how well you observe, retrieve and retain information.
There are many clinical variables for poor memory that have not been discussed here. But one area, poor diet and lacking minerals that support good neurological function, is an area that is worth exploring if you notice your memory isn’t as good as it could be. Also, just working with memory more, taking time to develop it, will pay off. It could begin with something as simple as a day dream and before you know it, you will find yourself in the memory fast lane.
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