Brain Training Techniques
With brain training, it can be really hard to remember things (there’s a free brain training flash card at the end) …
I think you’ll agree with me when I say:
Remembering things like people’s names, is really hard
But, is it really?
Well, it turns out, with a little bit of practice and a few simple and easy brain training techniques…
Chunk It and Chew It
Sounds like eating a steak right?
Learning how to remember things is a lot like eating. Really?
A little bit at a time, and chew it well.
Break down what you need to remember into smaller parts, so that it is relatively easy for you to remember.
Chunking Brain Training Example
Here’s an example to memorize (chosen completely at random):
Break it down into chunks as below:
- The herd may graze where it pleases
- or stampede where it pleases
- but he who lives the adventurous life
- will remain unafraid when he finds himself alone
- Raymond B Fosdick.
If you were to repeat, or chew the first chunk until you remember, and then the first and second. And then the first second and third, and so on.
That would be an easy way to train your brain to remember this random phrase.
You read that, and thought, it’s devil’s advocate, right?
I did that on purpose.
If you need to remember the word associate, for example, you will remember the phrase “devil’s advocate”, and then associate it with the word “associate”.
Using association is a really easy way to help you learn how to remember things.
The reason for this is your brain works by association of facts.
This is also known as anchoring, and when I need to remember something, this is one of the most effective techniques.
The more associations, the better. More on that later.
You have to pick something as an association that works for you. For example, if I just needed to remember the word encroach – and I couldn’t for the life of me remember it, I could remember cockroach. Seems weird, but I have no problem remembering cockroach, and more often than not, encroach then just “pops into my head”.
Chewing the chunk – repeating it over and over.
That is important for brain training and recall.
If it doesn’t.
Associate Brain Training Example
An example of an association:
The first chunk – perhaps you find that the key work to help you remember is “graze”.
So, a graze is also like a cut.
“Cut” is arguably easier to remember.
Try to remember the chunk.
Then think about the chunk, and relate it to cut.
It may work right away, but we might need more associations to help it along…
For someone’s name that you just met. Is there something about them – a feature for example that you can associate and remember?
For Love Nor Funny
Sorry. Did it again.
For love nor money right?
But you will probably remember it because of the association.
If you can make the associations stand out in your mind.
Very effective brain training techniques.
The sillier, the better.
Let us look at our example.
Imagine a cow with grass in its mouth and a stupid look on its face.
The cow starts tap dancing, and starts grinning again.
The cow is wearing “budgie smugglers” (men’s swimwear – turns out the cow is a bull), and does a bungee jump.
The bull unties himself, and sits on the grass. Still relaxed, grinning, all by himself.
Don’t worry if this seems stupid to start with.
With practice it will help.
You won’t think of this silly scene of the bungee jumping, budgie smuggler wearing, grass munching, grinning bull will allow you to immediately remember the whole quote.
But it will give your brain somewhere to start.
We can reconstruct what each chunk had as a subject is.
With practice, remembering something silly will allow your brain to recall more and more information.
So keep practicing.
Memory Palace – Where Royal Memories Live
This is what memory champions use all the time.
Also known as “memory room”.
This is a key brain training technique for organizing facts.
They imagine a place they know well…
Like their house.
Or a palace.
Or their car.
It doesn’t matter.
And you move around the “palace”, placing objects in known locations.
Then continue to the next location.
And place something there.
So with the example above – we could use a house.
Let’s say we decide that the route through your house is:
Front door, Living room coffee table, Dining room table, Kitchen table.
And given our example:
Let’s imagine going to:
the front door of the house, with it close, and imagine that bull chewing grass with a silly look on his face.
the living room coffee table, the bull is tap dancing still with a silly look on his face
the dining room table, he’s in his budgie smuggler, a rop tied around his leg, and he bungee jumps off the table.
Drop A Rhyme
Ever noticed how sometimes you can’t get a certain song lyric or jingle out of your head?
Yep. Irritating isn’t it?!
That works because the rhyme is an association that allows word associations, and sounds like another word, which gives yet another association to recall something.
It works best with larger pieces of information.
You can relate words to a chunk, then make a rhyme.
Mnemonics (pronounced “nemonics”)
This is just a fancy name for tools that help you remember things.
And you almost certainly know one that you used at school.
“Roy G Biv”
That’s a mnemonic to help you remember the colors of the rainbow.
Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet.
I know that I never forgot it.
Also in trigonometry at high school we got told this one:
“SOH CAH TOA”
That means sine x = opposite over hypotenuse, cosine x = adjacent over hypotenuse, and tangent x = opposite over adjacent.
Never forgot that one either.
My math teacher in one year took this a step further:
“Silly Old Harry Caught A Herring Trawling Off America”
It’s the same mnemonic, but incorporates a bit of silliness, and give you an image to remember.
I didn’t forget that one either.
The second version always makes me smile, and the math teacher was an awesome guy.
Write as Rain
Okay. I’m sorry.
That’s the last.
To help remember chunks, write them down.
As a student I used this a lot.
I took notes, but…
I used to add doodles to them.
Some very boring subjects were easy to remember.
By recalling the doodle, I found I could remember most of what was on the page.
Actually that blew me away when I figured that out.
You should try it.
See if it works to help to train your brain to remember things too!
Want More Brain Training Tips?
Did you know that what you eat has a massive effect on how well you can focus, how quickly you can learn, and how well you retain what you learn? Read our post on brain food for more brain power, and potentially increase your IQ.
The Brain Training Guide
And here is the guide as promised (and go back through the post from the top to understand what these brain training tips mean and get a few awesome extra hacks):
Links to other content: