How Does the Brain Remember Things

Published: 01st September 2010
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If you suffer from forgetting things whether itís paying bills, peopleís names or where you put your personal belongings, then itís a good idea to find out how your brain is reminded. Itís perfectly normal to forget but it doesnít make it less stressful.

Memory is triggered by personal experiences.

Certain situations are more memorable than others depending on the amount of emotion it brought to us. For example: if on a certain day you go to a park and break your leg, you will remember that event a lot more than if you went to that park and simply tripped. It may be that for the rest of your life every time you think of that park youíll associate it with pain.

This is how the brain remembers things: by revisiting the experiences and situations that weíve gone through. If you want to retrieve more information from your memory you need to concentrate on that event and try to relive it so that more facts will come to you.

Certain "cues" evoke emotions and this can help people remember.

The other way that the brain is reminded is through association. There are specific games where one person says a word and everyone else has to say all the words that are associated to that first word. These kinds of games are actually playing on factors that remind the brain. They're called cues. These are used a lot in marketing and in movies. Certain images, colors, sounds and words are connected to different things which bring out emotions in people. Unfortunately many times this information is used to "manipulate" others and influence them into doing what is not always in their best interest. However, we can use association and cues to help remind ourselves of daily tasks.

It's important to incorporate "cues" to help us remember things in our daily lives.

Here's a list of a few ideas for you to to be cued into remembering:
  • Tie a ribbon around your wrist or finger and associate that ribbon with something that you need to get done that day and can not be postponed.

  • If you work on the computer all day then place a post it on the right side of your monitor when you need to get something done.Don't forget to take down the post it after you have completed the task.

  • Call your answering machine and leave yourself a message so that you wonít forget to do something important.

  • Being organized is also a great way to stimulate memory.

    When there's a system in place, finding information is much easier. Categorizing is like building a pathway in your mind to facilitate the retrieval of the information. By being organized, incorporating personal experiences and cues into your systems, you will remember exactly where things are when you need them the most.

    Eren Mckay is a work at home mom to 3 boys. She loves to help others learn about goal based ethics and how to organize office files in order to have a more stress free life.

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