How Does Memory work?

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Improve Memory

Who would not want to be able to learn more new stuff with ease? Who is constantly giving questions like; why I keep forgetting stuff, why I find it so hard to learn, and remember?

It’s really weird, and simply easier to say I am lazy, I can’t do this, how the hell I can learn so much…It’s easier to give up, lay down, and do nothing rather than get up, and get on with it, take it as it is, and simply learn new stuff.

Well, there is a way out of the misery which I would like to share with you. I personally find it difficult, too to study and remember, but what really helped me was just the fact how the memory works. Now, I find it less difficult to learn, remember, and retrieve information.

Just like a computer, so it is with our brains, encoding, and storing information in an organized way. One thing to remember about learning is all about practice, timing, repetition, organizing information, and retrieval information.

Memory

The memory could not work without an information storage system. The main two types of memory; short-term memory (working memory), and long-term memory.

Short- term (working memory)

It’s very close to our consciousness – it is a store, a role in active thinking, and it accesses the information most relevant to the problem at that moment. Our working memory can access information from long-term memory, but there is a but!

If you are learning new stuff or trying to recall/retrieve what you have already learnt, and you are under pressure (some negative emotions or feelings like anger, disgust, tiredness or even hunger) than you will definitely find it harder to do so. Because you are basically breaking the mental bridge between the two memories panels. Emotions they play a major role in this act of learning new stuff or retrieving information. Because your daily thoughts are connected with your consciousness, when you feel upset, angry, or simply not willing to learn but you know you have to, this feeling called disgust can actually trigger emotions for you to feel bad when studying just because you have developed a bad habit in learning.

We all know how it is with habits;

 If we do something for a long period of time repeatedly, it becomes our habit. Most habits are not controlled by us anymore (by the conscious mind) because they reside deep inside us in subconsciousness.  You simply need to get rid of the bad habit- the idea that learning is hard or even if I learn something, I will forget it or won’t be able to recall it anyway!

It’s all about attitude

How Memory Works?
Don’t let your emotions controlling you, learn how to control emotions instead, and life becomes easier in every aspect!

If you start something doing, it doesn’t mean you are heading towards completion of the project or success! It just means you are trying to do it. Humans like exploring, we are very curious beings, so whatever we think about what we would like to do, we will try to do it, and when you try and discover you don’t like it or you are unable to complete the action, you simply stop doing it. This is exactly what is happening in your mind. You try to learn new stuff as someone who wants to explore new, but somehow you have developed a bad habit that learning is difficult. You need to get rid of this habit!

There are many ways how to do so like meditation, calming your mind and so… But the most important thing is your attitude, and to learn how to control your emotions, not letting your emotions controlling your life, and your decisions you make every day.

Short-term memory test:

Read through the words, try to remember, look away, and write them down in order.

Fake, Jumper, Axe, Book, Apple, Tin, Rope, Smile, Ale, Hope, Call, Sheet

Most adults can keep between 5 and 10 items in short-term memory, the average is seven.

Long-term memory

Information in short-term memory may be transferred into your long-term memory, but we don’t have the capacity or need to store absolutely all of it. So the verbal memory works the way you don’t store all the actual words. Your memory encodes the underlying meaning, just the gist of what you hear.

Storing

In a short; memories are stored in schemas as organized bodies in our minds. These schemas actively affect the way we remember information. If the information doesn’t make sense in terms of the existing schemas, our brains will change it to fit. It has lots to do with ‘false memories’.

False memories

There was a research conducted by Elizabeth Loftus many years ago; an American cognitive psychologist and expert on human memory. She discovered that it is possible to implant false memories into people. She told a group of subjects that they had been lost in a shopping mall when they were children, claiming she had spoken to their families who had told her about the incident. When she asked people to recall details of the incident, about a quarter of them said they could remember it, and they even supplied extra details about what happened, even though the story was made up!

How to improve your memory?

Research shows that learning information in short sessions, with 24 hours in between, is better than one long session. But thinking deeply about your material is the best way to remember it. Putting in active afford will help you encode, store and retrieve the information.

Memory works in these three stages;

Encoding, storage and retrieval- and can fail at each stage. Either the information doesn’t go into your mind or it doesn’t stay there, or you can’t find it. This last type of memory failure is the ‘tip of the tongue’ phenomena, when you know you know something, but can’t recall it.

The way I see it;

Some two decades ago, when I was studying my very first language, which was the German language. I really wanted to be good at speaking German for two reasons. I like the language, and I wanted to go to work in Germany in the Alps.

That time I didn’t know much about controlling my emotions or learning techniques or anything about the memory stages. I found it really very hard to study it. I could not grasp the whole thing about the language like; why the langue is so difficult, why I am unable to remember one single word although I am learning it, I am repeating it. I do really want to remember and recall it, so why I am unable to remember one damned word! I felt desperation from which anger and hate towards the language came to life. Simply, desperation and hate engulfed me. I was unable to learn, I gave up, and stopped learning it.

Strangely, when I felt really down that my dream to work in the Alps scattered to pieces, I still had the vision left in me to speak at least one foreign language. From all of sudden, I found the reason, somehow it kicked me, and gave it another chance but this time I worked harder, I changed my attitude towards it. Because that was also the time when I was meditating, I took a different approach towards learning, generally.

Ok, I cut it short, I learnt that strong will developed not in your upper-conscious mind where you have daily thoughts, but the hope is residing deep inside you, developed from feeling hopeless, and being paralyzed by my constructed thoughts that it is so hard to learn it. I simply turned my hope into an algorithm from which my mind (brain-releasing chemicals based on my feelings, moods, and thoughts towards a matter= attitude and making new neuron-connections=transmitting information…) was able to read my message that I want to learn it no matter what it takes, and from all of sudden, I found studying very easy. I was learning many new expressions, words every day. I managed to memorise 12 000 words, and most of the German grammar in 10 months! After 10 months I was able to speak, write, and make normal conversation with German people. To me, it is an incredible achievement because I discovered the capabilities of the human brain to remember, and recall information, and use it in practical life.

It is all about your attitude towards the problem you are facing/dealing with, not the problem itself. The problem is an energy you do need to work with…

It is all about attitude

It’s all about attitude, strong will, persistence, willingness to carry on whatever is in your way you can always overcome it, and go on. I have even broken completely the theory that learning information in short sessions, with 24 hours in between is better than one long session. I was learning for about 4 hours a day, every day. So, I split the learning into sessions but one would go completely mad to study so much one subject for 10 months day and night, every day.

Don’t let your emotions controlling you, learn how to control emotions instead, and life becomes easier in every aspect!

Next time I want to talk about the ways we humans think. Just to make learning easier, and more enjoyable.

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