8 Tips for Memory Enhancement Part I

July 27, 2016 by  

Memory is the mental activity of recalling information that you have learned or experienced. It is also a complex process that involves many different parts of your brain and serves you in disparate ways.
There are different aspects to your memory…..there are both short and long term memory centres in your brain which vary in how they operate and what they store for future use.

Short Term Memory is how your mind stores information for a few seconds or a few minutes: the time it takes you to dial a phone number you just looked up or to compare the prices of several items in a store.
This aspect of your memory is fragile, and it is meant to be that way. Here is why; your brain would soon read “disk full” if you retained every phone number you called, every dish you ordered in a restaurant, and the subject of every ad you watched on TV. Your brain is meant to hold an average of seven items at once, which is why you can usually remember a new phone number for a few minutes but need your credit card in front of you when you’re buying something online. Many of you can likely remember your Social Insurance Number because it is set up in groups of three digits, so even though that is actually nine numbers, due to its structure you can probably remember it.

Long Term Memory, on the other hand, involves the information you make a conscious or unconscious effort to retain, because it is personally meaningful to you.

For example: birth dates and anniversaries of family members and friends, work related procedures that you require to do your job well, or information you are studying in order to do well on a test. In addition, if an incident or experience made an emotional impression on you, such as a riveting movie, the first time you ever caught a fish, or the day a special relative or friend died, you are likely to retain this information.
Some information that you store in long-term memory requires a conscious effort to recall, such as episodic memories, which are very personal experiences you have had at specific times and semantic memories, which are certain factual data you have accumulated that are not bound to a specific time or place. Those memories can be anything from the names of the planets to the color of your child’s hair.
Finally, another type of long-term memory is procedural memory, which involves skills and routines you perform so often that they don’t require any conscious recall.

Just like muscular strength, your ability to remember increases when you exercise your memory and nurture it with a good diet and other healthy habits.

There are three stages that the brain goes through in forming and retaining memories.
I Acquisition: This is how new information enters your brain along pathways between the neurons (nerve cells) in the appropriate area of the brain. The key to encoding information into your memory is concentration; so unless you focus on information intently, it goes “in one ear and out the other.” This is why teachers are always nagging students to pay attention!
II Consolidation: If you have concentrated well enough to encode new information into your brain, the hippocampus (which is a small structure located in the centre of your brain) sends a signal to store the information as long-term memory. This happens more easily if it is related to something you already know, or if it stimulates an emotional response
III 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.

One more thing to understand…..your brain is designed to create new brain cells (neurons) as long as you are alive, but only if you challenge it to do so but learning new things and thereby opening up new neuropathways in your brain. In other words, always doing things in exactly the same way, rather like a robot, is not very healthy for your brain. Being curious and exploring alternate ways to conduct your regular activities or daring to learn new skills, even at an advancing age is the best way to keep your brain healthy. And a healthy brain will have better memory retention.

Now that you understand a little more about how your brain deals with memory retention, let’s explore the habits you can espouse that will enhance that retention.  In Part II of this blog I will give you the 8 Tips to enhance your memory.

8 Great Blogging Tips

July 19, 2016 by  

If you are a regular blogger, you will find these 8 tips beneficial if you sometimes find yourself struggling to find new topics to write about.

  1. Research Current Industry Issues: Many industry news sources can prove to be innovative resources for regular bloggers. You can explore what others in your industry are blogging about and see if any of those topics are in areas of your expertise or if they spark possible directions for a new piece. Consider what your followers may be looking for to help them be more successful in their work. Finally, be sure to include valuable, up to date tips, or suggestions that will be beneficial for your readers.
  2. Invite Colleagues & Friends to Participate as Guest Bloggers: You may now be a respected expert in your field; however, others may have truly valuable experiences that would broaden what you can offer to your readers. In addition, those contributions from other experts, could lighten your load and provide you with more time to research other material or take care of other business responsibilities. Finally, fresh, new perspectives will keep your blog interesting and attractive to your audience.
  3. Develop a Different Direction to a Topic from Someone Else’s Blog: Sometimes when I read the blogs of my favourite writers, it sets my creative juices flowing and a new idea arises that allows me to create a new blog using theirs as a “jumping off point” or even an opposing point of view
  4. Inspiration Can Come from Any Experience: Sometimes an idea can be stimulated from an everyday occurrence. In fact, when I exercise, I do a lot of “free thinking” and often something unique will pop into my mind. Sometimes, listening to music, viewing art, or even attending a play, can spark something new or even a new angle to an “old topic”. Don’t be afraid to be surprised and capitalize on something a bit unusual from time to time….it could garner new interest in your blog.
  5. Try Creating Unique Combinations of Some of Your Favourite Concepts: Sometimes putting two entirely different concepts together can result in an entirely new approach…..like some different ingredients in an old recipe. This new combination might prove to be valuable, unusual, and even clever, so again, do not be afraid to try something new and different to keep your audience interested in what you will write about next.
  6. Think KISS….keep it simple, stupid: Sometimes the most outstanding, ingenious pieces are the simplest ones. Sometimes just going back to basics can prove to be the best approach and more valuable of blogs. Consider developing a “how-to” article that clearly and simply explains exactly how to accomplish something that your followers might normally find to be complicated or convoluted. Don’t forget that some of your followers may know as much about your topics as you do, so you still need to take a unique approach even when getting back to the basics.
  7. Consider Topics You Have Written About Before: If like me, you have been blogging for a while, you likely have written about most of your areas of expertise already. Nonetheless, that does not mean that you cannot write on any of those topics again, this time expanding the material in a new direction or offering elements you have not shared in previous articles. There is always more you can expound upon in your various areas, and your readers will benefit from the new tips.
  8.  Include a Variety of Content Formats: A blog post doesn’t always just have to be text-based….you can add graphs, charts, pictures, etc., to better illustrate and reinforce your points in a more visual manner.  You can even introduce a short video or insert a mini slide deck.  In fact, some blogs I have seen are just short videos. The key is to be original and creative, as it can make blogs more interesting for your readers and more fun for you!

Remember….life is too short not to enjoy what you do, so share your passion in your posts, your readers will be the beneficiaries!