Posted on Jan 29, 2015
Concentration is closely related to memory. Being able to concentrate or focus, on the current moment can vastly improve memory. As the brain ages, it needs more time to process information and is also more easily distracted. Have you ever read something and not been able to recall what you just read? Did your mind wander while you were reading or was there background noise or other distractions? These things all impair our focus and memory. How do we improve our ability to concentrate and thus improve memory? Start with these actions…
- -- Focus on the task at hand: If talking with someone: ask questions; if reading a book or a report: ask yourself how you would summarize what you just read to a friend or to your boss.
- -- In general, avoid and/or eliminate distractions. Tune out everything else. The harder the task, the more important it is to tune out distractions.
- -- Do not try to double-task, this will increase your errors and divide your attention. Attention is limited. When you try to do several things at once, you necessarily have to divide your attention and thus concentrate less on each individual tasks.
- -- Use meditation. Several studies have shown that meditation can be a good brain training tool that affects especially attentional / concentration skills.
And since concentration and memory go hand in hand, use these tips to improve memory…
- -- Pay attention and concentrate! (see above)
- -- Relate to the information you are learning. The more personal the information becomes, the easier it is to remember it. Ask yourself how it makes you feel. Ask yourself where else you have heard this. Ask yourself whether there is something in your personal life related to this piece of information.
- -- Repeat the information: Come back to it more than one time. This has been found in tons of studies: repeated information is easier to recall. Spaced retrieval (a method with which a person is cued to recall a piece of information at different intervals) is one of the rare methods that show some results with Alzheimer’s patients.
- -- Elaborate on the information: think about it. Things that are concrete and have a clear meaning are easier to remember than abstract and vague ones. Trying to attach meaning to the information you are trying to memorize will make it easier to recall later. Your brain will have more cues to look for. For instance, try to picture the information in your head. Pictures are much easier to memorize than words. To remember figures and percentages it is much easier to picture these in a graph for instance. Relate the information to something you know already.
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Source: Dr. Michelon, Pascale.Mar1, 2007. How can I improve concentration and memory?. Retrieved from: http://sharpbrains.com/blog/2007/03/01/how-can-i-improve-my-concentration-and-my-memory/
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