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Crossword puzzles, sudoku, chess and other such games may or may not help your mind to function.
But ultimately you are simply getting familiar with the game itself. This is another habit and will of course help your memory... in that narrow area of practice.
Another common memory aid is the memorisation of trivia or general knowledge. Why bother? It cannot be used in everyday life and is another end in itself.
Do not force
Instead of trying to remember, just let your brain do the job without interference. When you try to force a memory to emerge, it is the problem-solving facility that dominates, not memory.
Revision is an essential memory tool. Renew your awareness of the basics. Refresh the precepts, the principles, the original purpose.
A student who works through a list of exercises on a training handout regularly at home will find themselves referring to the handout less and less.
Eventually, they will know the order and the list becomes unnecessary. If this doesn't work for you, buy a class DVD.
If you stop exposing yourself to gossip, trivia and information that has absolutely no bearing on your day-to-day life, your brain will shed the clutter. Bring your racing thoughts back home. Meditate.
The simple movements of qigong are not mentally demanding at first. But you do need to pay attention.
As your understanding deepens you begin to notice complexity within the apparent simplicity. Muscle memory helps to make the patterns familiar.
If you can remember fairly easy qigong movements, you can employ them in everyday life and improve your fitness.
By starting modestly, your brain is not overwhelmed by information. Your memory improves.
Tai chi helps
Tai chi takes the simple qigong movements and explores them in fascinating new ways. Not only must you remember, you must also combine, vary and change the basic movements.
This requires more than just memory.
There is quite a lot of partner work in tai chi. It helps to provide valuable biofeedback. Your physical sensitivity and bodily awareness improves. Your nervous system can discriminate more finely.
You learn how to move without thinking - without deliberately, consciously accessing your memory.
Taoism is the art of living. It is not a religion. The insights pertain to pretty much all aspects of life and can help you to see things in a new way. You may even come to regard memory differently.
Help your brain
There are many ways in which you can help your brain remember things:
Summarise your notes later
Make bullet points
Re-read your notes in the future
Re-evaluate your insights in light of newer training developments
Write down quotes or passages that are meaningful to you
Keep a journal
Create a blog and document your journey
Eat nutritious, varied, healthy food
Drink plenty of water
The only drawback with taking notes is that you are writing down things that seem pertinent to you now. As your grade and understanding grows, other concerns will take precedence.
This is why revision and refinement is essential.
Last of all, remember the obvious: we remember the things that are most relevant to our day-to-day activities.
Switch off the media. Avoid the accumulation of worthless information. The less junk you put in your brain, the less cluttered it is and the better it will work.
18 March 1997
Last updated 21 February 2018