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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