Link ‘memory’ and ‘feeling’ to rapidly improve recall.
If you think about it, it’s easy to remember certain events in your life — with vivid details — when they are linked to highly emotional times; if you’re either extremely happy or sad, you’re likely to remember. So, this means it’s possible to use our emotions to help us remember.
Let’s dig deeper:
- Step 1: Create a positive emotional state before an important meeting, event, study session, family experience, or anything else you want to remember. Do this by connecting with nature — closing your eyes and concentrating on light, wind, water, or Earth — and feeling nature enter your body, creating a tingling sensation that reaches your fingertips and toes. While in this moment, think of a happy memory. You are now connected.
- Step 2: Integrate all five senses. This means take notice of what you taste, smell, hear, feel on your skin, and see. When you integrate all five senses, you make a memory easier to transfer back and forth from short-term to long-term memory. Effectively, using all five senses makes the memory more accessible in the future.
- Step 3: Reflect back on the event shortly after it happened and rate the feeling. For example, if you’re super happy, you might rate yourself a 10 on this scale:
- 0 = sad, depressed, unhappy
10 = the happiest I’ve been in my entire life
The next time you want to remember this moment, simply get yourself back to a 10 while you’re thinking about it. When you first recall, you might be at a 4, for example. The next steps are to achieve a positive emotional state, then remember what you tasted, smelled, heard, felt on your skin, and saw. As you bring forth each of your senses, the 4 will climb, and you’ll become closer and closer to this memory. Before you know it, you’ll be at a 10, and you’ll be enjoying a moment from your past all over again.
Since the only ‘real’ moment in now, memories happen by being fully present. Memory recall also takes place by being present, and most easily in the same state of mind as when something occurred. Because it’s a heck of a lot easier to think, move, and perform in a positive state of mind, we’re choosing to ‘entrain’ your memory with a positive emotional state. Please know that focusing on the negative — and consistently feeling badly — will entrain your memory to become biased in the opposite direction, ultimately teaching you to live unhappily in order to remember your life.
Use this memory trick to strengthen the bond in your relationships by creating ‘sticky moments’, or moments that stand out as you think about someone. Or use it to improve performance at work or school by achieving a positive mindset before you’re asked to memorize or learn something new.
If you want to enjoy remembering more from your past, practice being positive. Layer your memories with all five senses. And get more out of the ‘now’ because you’re choosing to make it concrete in your mind.
Today’s lesson: be present and pay attention to how you feel so you can enjoy — and remember — more of your life.
I’m so grateful for you,
Originally published at drkareem.com on March 20, 2017.