One of the biggest challenges in this competitive world is to remember things. Right from an infant to her great grandmother, all are involved in the tussle of improving memory. The infant struggles to remember the association between the word ‘eyes’ and her eyes whereas her great grandmother works to remember her mobile number. Often she isn’t able to reproduce her own number when someone asks for it and her excuse is unpardonable to self. Be it profession or personal life, memory plays a crucial role. Can one really improve one’s memory or is it something to live with?
The human brain is one bio machine. Just as the efficiency of a machine goes up on continuous use, the productivity of the brain also rises when exercised often. That’s why the brain of a lazy brat is not as sharp as that of a disciplined student. The more you utilize your neurons and put them under testing situations, the better would be the productivity. Now the question is about how to exercise the brain. Yes, just as the other body parts need fresh air, even the brain needs its share of fresh atmospheric air which you can provide by aerobic exercises like jogging or walking, the brain gets tired and then it needs its share of sleep and to keep it functioning, tasks and tests are required in day to day life. These tasks should be off the routine. Anything like walking backwards in the garden, cooking a new dish, speaking words in a backward fashion in a sentence, knitting with closed eyes are all ways in which you can test your brain apart from reading, concentrating and memorizing. Now that we have used these terms, it is the right time to understand the difference between information assimilation, consolidation and retrieval.
Assimilation: The brain receives information in form of electrical impulses through nerves. These nerves acquire these impulses from the sensory organs like eyes, ears, skin and tongue. The information is rapidly transcribed to electrical impulses and this travels up the brain where the information is processed further. However this would happen only if there is enough concentration and there is a will to sore and utilize this information in future. That’s why teachers yell at students to concentrate while studying. Otherwise information goes into the body through one ear and comes out through the other.
Consolidation:Once the impulses reach the brain, information is stored in short term memory at least. Now the brain can reproduce this information for the next few minutes at least. But if the information is to be used in the long term, more deliberate attempts have to be made to store it within the brain neurons. This can easily happen if there are associations to the information which the brain is more familiar with.
Retrieval:When you need to recall information, your brain has to activate the same pattern of nerve cells it used to store it. The more frequently you need the information, the easier it is to retrieve it along healthy nerve cell connections
In addition to exercising your brain, there are some basic things you can do to improve your ability to retain and retrieve memories: