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Tools and Tricks for Memory Retention
by Roger On May 24, 2017

So, your memory is no good. At least that’s what you learned last week, anyway. But, as promised, there are some helpful tools to improve your memory that we’ll go over this week. So put your thinking caps on, and get reading.

Not to beat a dead horse, but we know by now that rote memorization is an imperfect system. Simply going over information repeatedly isn’t going to help anybody in the long run. But what does work? Most people have an easier time remembering information if they associate images with that information. That’s because your brain processes an image much better than repetition.

Imagery and Memorization

Last week we did a little exercise by giving you a list and telling you to memorize all the things on it. Taking that same list, we’re going to split it up into four lists of five items, and number them.

| 1. a unicorn | 6. beer | 11. chopsticks | 16. candles
| 2. electrical outlet | 7. hockey stick | 12. roses | 17. wizard
| 3. tricycle | 8. spider | 13. black cat | 18. golf green
| 4. truck | 9. baseball | 14. gold | 19. sauna
| 5. hand | 10. dime | 15. dollar sign | 20. dartboard
Now, we’re going to do something a little different than last time. With each item, we are going to really focus on an image in our mind. Don’t just skim over these things, really take your time and you’ll get the best outcome. However, make sure not to study the list for more than 3 minutes.

1. See a brilliant white unicorn with his 1 horn.
2. See the beige electrical outlet with its 2 slots.
3. See the red tricycle with its 3 black rubber wheels and a 3 year old kid on it.
4. See the truck with its 4 wheels, its 4 doors, and the for sale sign in the window.
5. See your hand with its 5 fingers.
6. See that 6-pack of beer (you choose your favorite brand).
7. See the wooden hockey stick shaped like a 7.
8. See that big black spider with its 8 legs.
9. See that round baseball being tossed around by the 9 players on the field for 9 innings.
10. See that 10 cents, the thin, silver, shiny dime.

Now that we’re halfway through the list, take a little break. Refresh each of the images in your mind once more before moving on.

11. See those thin chopsticks that look like the number 11 being pulled out of their wrapper.
12. See those 12 beautiful red roses in a bouquet.
13. See that black cat on Friday the 13th.
14. Vividly see that 14-carat gold coin (or bar or nugget or ring; you choose).
15. Take the two digits of number 15 and squeeze them together into a dollar sign.
16. See 16 flaming candles on a birthday cake. Maybe even sing the song…
17. See that young wizard with the round glasses graduating from Hogwarts at age 17.
18. See that golf green with its perfectly cropped green grass on the 18th hole.
19. See 19 sweaty guys in that sauna.
20. See that round, light-up dartboard with the 20 scoring stripes and the number 20 on the top.

Now that you’re through the whole list, just take a minute to review. Now make a list 1-20 and see how much of the list you can remember. Better than before? It’s amazing how well your mind can retain information when you do it the right way! Even though some of the images weren’t directly related to the number, you were still able to remember them. For many more exercises just like this, check out my book Train Your Brain For Success.

Evaluating Your Memory
by Roger On May 17, 2017

Last week we talked about how we learn, and why it’s wrong. If you think your memory is bad and there’s no way to improve it, think again. Most of us have been taught to retain information by repetition. Looking at the information over and over again until we think it’s been memorized. But now we know, rote memorization is a faulty way to learn. Sure, the information you “memorized” will stick in your brain long enough to pass a test. Long term, you can kiss that information goodbye. There is a better way!

In this week’s blog, let’s really evaluate the way that our mind works. That way, you’ll really understand how your brain stores information. Plus, when we get around to new ways to memorize information it will make much more sense.

The Starting Point

To properly evaluate your memory, think about where you’re starting from. If you had a list of 20 different items, how well do you think you could remember everything on the list? Go ahead, try it out. Write out a list or use ours:

| a unicorn | chopsticks
| an electrical outlet | a rose>
| a tricycle | a black cat
| a truck | gold
| a hand | a dollar sign
| a can of beer | a candle
| a hockey stick | a wizard
| a spider | a golf green
| a baseball | a sauna
| a dime | a dartboard

Take about 5 minutes to slowly look over this list. Really study it and try to memorize all the things on the list. Don’t cheat, no writing things down. Use only your mind and take no longer than the 5 minute time span. Now, without looking at the list can you write everything down that you just studied? Probably not. Even if you didn’t do so well, don’t worry. This is simply a test to see where you started from.

The Rule of 7

Most people don’t have a specific system for remembering things. As a result, our brains can only remember about 7 things, (plus or minus 2). Sometimes, that number is even less than 7, around 3 to 5. When trying to memorize the list above, you may have noticed that you struggled around the 7th item or so. If you were able to memorize more, it’s likely that you were using a system other than rote memorization.

Primacy and Recency

When dealing with large lists of information, the brain tends to commit the top of the list and the bottom of the list to memory the best. The middle, however, doesn’t have the same luck. This isn’t a bad thing, primacy and recency are just the way that our brains naturally work. Knowing this we can manipulate it to work better for us. For example, take the list above and break the items into lists of five items. If you were to try and memorize the four lists of five items, I bet you’d have better luck this time around.

Now that you understand a little bit about how the mind stores information, it will be easier to do the exercises in the coming weeks.

How to Improve Memory Part 1
by Roger On May 10, 2017

Basically, everybody wishes they had the tools to improve memory. Think about it, we rely on our memory in various different ways every single day. Everything we know how to do is learned, even tiny tasks like eating a meal. As a species, we’d be nothing without our memory. How many times have you wished for a better memory? However, it’s not actually your memory that’s the problem but your ability to recall certain memories. Your brain records everything that happens to you, from books you’ve read to movies you’ve watched. The trouble is, sometimes it’s hard to tap into those memories.

But, there are ways to improve memory by training your brain to store information in the most efficient way. This week we’ll talk about the way in which most of us learn things and why it’s wrong. Also, we’ll go into depth about the teachability index and how to get your score.

Old School Learning

In order to better the way we process and store information, we need to be aware of how our brains currently do those things. The majority of the world remembers things by using what’s called rote memorization. This means that things are learned using repetition, aka going over information over and over again. The problem with rote memorization is that you retain information just long enough to take a test if you know it’s coming up. Eventually, you won’t be able to recall that information because that’s a faulty way of learning. Unfortunately, most of us have been using rote memorization since grade school.

Teachability Index

The information we provide on how to improve memory is great, as long as you are ready to learn and apply it. The teachability index is the way we measure how ready you are to learn. There are two parts of the teachability index, each ranked with a score of 1 through 10, with 10 being the highest. First, you rank your desire to learn which is fairly easy. Assuming you are interested in improving your memory, your score will likely be pretty high.

The second part of the teachability index is more difficult. This component is called your willingness to change and can be difficult to gauge. For the most part, we get into our zones of comfort and therefore don’t necessarily have a strong desire to change. But if you make a conscious effort to boost your number, you’ll get there. Rate your willingness to change on a scale of 1 through 10.

In order to get your teachability index, you simply take the two numbers and multiply them together. If either your desire to learn or willingness to change scores are low, your overall teachability index will be low.

The Best Apps for Boosting Brainpower
by On March 29, 2017

The Best Apps for Boosting Brainpower

Did you ever think that playing computer games could improve your memory and cognitive function? If so, you’re not alone. Studies have shown that with daily use, some apps may increase your brainpower. There are various different reasons why someone would want to boost their brainpower. For instance, keeping your mind sharp is a great way to reduce the chance of getting Alzheimer’s with old age. Boosting your brainpower won’t necessarily change your life, but it can improve your mental state and decrease stress. Take a look through some of the most popular brain boosting apps.

Lumosity

First of all, Lumosity may be one of the most well known and popular apps that claim to increase brainpower. The app itself is split into different sessions of games, which you can tailor to your particular goals. Some categories you can pick from are, memory, attention, problem solving and so on. Each game you play is against the clock and continually changes each time. Simply playing one session a day is said to improve your mental skills. Plus, you can track your progress and even compare that with other people.

CogniFit Brain Fitness

As the name implies, this app will help you enhance your cognitive abilities like memory and concentration. The games are designed by neuroscientists, but don’t let that scare you away. They are highly addictive, and super fun so you’re sure to boost your brainpower playing them. Plus, you can check in on your progress and challenge friends. In the beginning, you’ll take a quiz, so the games are geared towards your and your difficultly level.

Personal Zen

Sometimes, boosting your brainpower isn’t all about solving a series of puzzles. In Personal Zen, you follow the story of two cartoon characters. One is a happy go lucky character, while the other is angry. Interestingly, this app was developed to train your brain to focus on the positive and reduces anxiety. Especially if you’ve got a stressful event coming up, this app could be very useful.

Brain Trainer Special

Next, Brain Trainer Special helps with memory. In fact, the games are very similar to those in Lumosity and focus on memorizing sequences and solving math problems. There are different degrees of difficulty, which can range from pretty easy to omg that’s difficult. An added benefit is that this app can be downloaded for free.

Happify

Now, this is an app I can really get behind! Research has shown that certain activities can actually help you to lead a happier life. The goal of Happify is to teach users to conquer negative thoughts through games, quizzes, and a gratitude journal. Plus, they boast a whole community that focuses on positivity.

Tips to remember what you read
by On November 3, 2016

The most frustrating thing about reading is forgetting something you’ve just read. Despite how much you enjoy reading something, if it’s forgotten the next minute it can disappointing. Reading and not retaining any information almost makes it pointless. When you read something to gain knowledge, it’s important to store the information.

THREE MEMORY COMPONENTS

To any reader, there are three memory components that are the most important. If you want to retain information after reading follow these suggestions. According to specialists, memories are built on repetition, association and Impression. These three components are responsible for memory retention. This is because they make it easier for people to memorize information. When used together, the three components give the reader an effective way to retain information after reading.

Impression. In life, impressions last longer than words. When reading, try and picture the information. Create an impression of what you’ve just learned.  When you watch a movie, visual images are hard to forget. Most people remember movies scenes vividly. While it’s almost impossible to narrate a scene from a book. To create an impression while reading, create a mental impression for the material.

Repetition. The best way to remember things is repetition. Creating powerful images while reading, consistently, is an exercise worth doing. Go back and re-read important information, to insure it really sticks. When an exercise is repeated more often, it becomes second nature. Re-reading important sections makes it easier to retain less important sections too.

Association. Association is an easy way to retain information. When you come across a foreign concept, relate it to something you’re familiar with. This is a technique that makes it difficult to forget information.

NOTE TAKING

There are some basic reading tips that we have all learned. One of those being, the importance of jotting down key points when reading. Taking notes will enhance memory retention, and make things easier to remember. You could also highlight bits of information you find useful.

INTRODUCE MATERIALS TO OTHERS

Nothing helps create an experience when learning quite like sharing with others. Talking to people about a particular topic is an effective way of remembering information. In a conversation, one has the chance to address the topic with a level of enthusiasm that goes a long way in creating a lasting impression and creating memories. When we share with others, we explain the meaning of what we’ve learned. This will makes you understand exactly what you read and create longer lasting memories.

FAMILIARIZE WITH THE TOPIC

You cannot just pick up a book and get straight to reading. First, you will need to gather some background information on the topic. When you have a basic understanding of the topic, then it will be easier to understand the reading. Researching a topic first is an important tip to remembering information. Your level of education doesn’t matter, if you’ve never read about a topic before.

SKIM THE MATERIAL

Before you start reading, it’s important to pass through it first. When skimming, you’ll get an idea of the topics and keywords. This will help you retain information while reading.

FOCUSED READING CULTURE

Try to focus on what you’re reading, and block out any interruptions. Read everything from beginning to end, and don’t skip anything.

Brain Training App that Really Work
by On October 21, 2016

In this digital age, technology can be used for just about everything. One of those things is training your brain. Brain training is meant to boost mental muscle and improve memory and concentration, among other things. Brain training has risen in popularity, with some mixed results. While some people saw no improvements, others saw a significant change in cognition. A 2015 study of online brain training in people over the age of 50 saw a significant cognitive benefit. There may even be a benefit in video games. Playing any kind of video game has proven to have cognitive benefit.

The question is whether you should begin training your brain. There are many benefits of brain training. Even a placebo effect has shown positive results. People in a study who were told they were participating in a brain training study performed better on intelligence tests. Brain games have shown to help cognitive function in individuals with schizophrenia. There are really no downfalls of brain games. Either your brain gets a little exercise or you improve your memory and concentration. So really you have nothing to lose. Like regular exercise, brain training is something you have to stick to for results. Here are some apps great for brain training.

ELEVATE

Elevate has become a popular brain training app. The app uses real-world tasks in their training. The app has 35, fun games that are meant to train your brain. Elevate is an app with a more practical approach. Their real world approach might have a better effect on the brain, as these are the tasks we perform daily.

Peter Zogas, the Director of Educational Content for Elevate states their games target specific problems that people may have. It focuses on problems such as calculating how much to leave for a tip or simply sending an important email. They lock in on one specific task, offering solutions and instructions on task performance improvement. The app focuses on subjects like reading, writing, and math. It also targets speaking and listening. You have the choice to personalize the app to the areas you find you need the most help in.

PEAK

If you are more of a game person, Peak is a perfect app for you. With this app, you don’t feel like you’re training your brain. This app is geared more towards training memory, attention, problem solving, mental agility, language, coordination, creativity, and emotion control With Advanced Training Programs that focus on training specific skills. Peak develops games with Cambridge and Yale. It has 40 different games for you to play. A popular feature on Peak is the Coach feature. With this feature, you get personal coaching during your training. A coach helps you by giving you tips on improvement. It evaluates your progress and shows your ways to improve, or gives you games that fit in your time Schedule.

LUMOSITY

Lumosity is perhaps the most well-known brain training app. It is the oldest of these apps. Lumosity has over 50 games and has been around for about 9 years. They work with scientists from over 40 universities and has more than 50 in progress studies to further research the effects of brain training. Lumosity lets you play a couple of games a day and gives you a daily, weekly, and monthly performance report.

Lumosity focuses on speed, memory, attention, flexibility, and problem solving. It gives you an index score of your games and helps you improve your weak areas in each category. When you sign up for Lumosity, you are given a simple test to see where your cognitive need improvements. It then create a training schedule to help you with those improvements. Lumosity also lets you compare your cognitive results with other people in your age bracket.

Training your brain doesn’t have to include difficult tests, or impossible tasks. These simple and fun apps develop your brain while letting you also have fun. With the exception of Lumosity, which can be also found on the web, these apps are available in the Android Play Store and the Apple App Store. Happy training!

Feed Your Brain For Success
by On August 15, 2016

We’ve been taught for years that your mind and your brain are much like a muscle. The better you exercise and feed it, the stronger it gets and the longer it stays healthy. There’s an enormous body of research that now explains why and how this works. Here we’ll discuss 5 foods that have a positive impact on your brain health.

FISH

Salmon, mackerel, tuna, and other fish are rich in brain-healthy omega 3 fatty acids, including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Omega- 3 fatty acids are important to your brain because they essentially insulate the electrical circuitry in your brain.

NUTS & SEEDS

90% of Americans are not consuming the recommended amount of vitamin E, a vitamin that corresponds with less cognitive decline as we get older. Being so, doctors suggest implementing a higher amount of nuts and seeds into your diet, which contain high levels of the vitamin. Sunflower seeds, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds and nut butters such as peanut butter and almond butter are all awesome sources of vitamin E and should be added to your diet on a daily basis.

AVOCADOS

Avocados get a lot of flack simply because they’re high in calories and fat. However, they’re high in monounsaturated fat, which contributes to healthy blood flow. Healthy blood flow equates to a healthy brain! Adding just 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 an avocado to one of your meals as a side dish should be enough for your brain to absorb the effects.

BLUEBERRIES

This fruit is so important for your brain, that many doctors have started calling them “Brainberries”. Researchers have done studies that show blueberries help protect the brain from oxidative stress and may reduce the effects of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. Similar studies have shown that aging rats that have been fed blueberries have significantly improved both their learning capacity and motor skills, making them mentally equivalent to much younger rats.

BEANS

“Beans, beans, good for your heart. The more you eat the..better your brain also feels?” Beans are great. They stabilize glucose levels. The brain is dependent on glucose for fuel. However, the brain is incapable of storing the glucose so it relies on the constant stream of energy that the beans provide. Most beans will get the job done, but doctors have especially suggested lentils and black beans.

There you have it. 5 foods that you can start adding to your diet today to start feeling the impact on your mental health. You can learn more about these, and so much more, in my book “Train Your Brain For Success”, available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble!