We all have trouble remembering things. Hundreds of different reasons exist for memory—stress, fatigue, age, maturity, distraction, and so on. In its most rudimentary form, your memory must encode, store, and retrieve data. When you encode data, you must focus on what’s important and tune out distractions. In this article, you will learn about four ways to improve your ability to encode your memories.
Dr. Douglas Mason, also known as the Memory Doctor, has described four ways to improve your ability to encode your memories using his RARE© method. In this method, you can boost your brain’s ability to encode memories by:
- Relax. According to Dr. Mason, relaxation techniques (deep breaths, meditate, clearing your mind, taking a brief walk) physically prepares your for the mental activity of encoding a memory. He encourages deep muscle relaxation or mini-relaxation sessions throughout the day.
- Attend. When the time comes to encode a memory, you need to attend (or really focus) on the material you want to remember. You want the details of your memory to “stick out” more than other pieces of data. Eliminate distractions and attend to what is important.
- Rehearse. Rehearsing is similar to memorizing. You repeat something over and over. Say something three times, then sing it three times, and say it another three times. The repetition helps you to encode the memory for later recall. Mentally, you force yourself to pay attention to the memory.
- Envision. When you elaborate a memory, you make it come to life. Consider using visual images to creative a dramatic or humorous picture. You want to combine trips to bank, post office, and grocery store. You envision a postal worker at your bank’s ATM located in the grocery store.
The RARE© method is a great way to help you encode memories. The next time that you need to remember something important be sure to follow these simple steps. Relax. Attend (or focus on the details). Repeat the details to encode the memory. Envision the details doing something dramatic. When you need to recall those details later, you will be more successful.