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Awareness is really noticing what is going on around you
This part of the memory process is vitally important because there is no chance of
remembering something which you have never really noticed in the first place.
It is very easy to look at something time after time and never really take it in.
Take a few minutes to attempt to draw a diagram of the dashboard of
your car (if you are a driver) or the controls of your washing machine or video recorder
or hi-fi, just to see how much, or little, you have memorised just by looking at it from
time to time.
It is usually quite hard to do a good diagram,
as these are items you just use, often without looking at them too closely, in the case of
the car, and never think that you might be called upon to remember them at any time. It
illustrates well how little we notice and keep things in our memory unless we make a point
of doing so.
Many things affect our degree of awareness of what is going on around us:
- Motivation: If you do not care
whether you notice things, then probably you will notice very little and remember even
less of what happens to you.
So if you want to remember better and realise that you normally tend to go round in a bit
of a dream, be determined to take notice of your surroundings.
- Enthusiasm: Refuse to be bored by
life. Sort your life out so that if possible you spend more time on the things you
like, then it will be more memorable.
- Keeping Healthy: Make an attempt to get
rid of muzzy heads, headaches and other nagging health problems which take your attention
off your surroundings and what is going on. There is more information about health on
- Stress: Tension, anxiety and
stress, trauma and depression keep your attention centred inwards rather than outwards and
it is all too easy to go through life in a cocoon. Visit the Health page for suggestions which may help.
- Variety in your life: Try to vary your daily
routine from time to time so that novel situations and a variety of activities make your
brain forge new connections. You may only be remembering easily what you have done because
you are always doing the same things.
- Preoccupation: Modern life is often so
hectic that it is easy to be concentrating more on a problem in the back of your mind than
on what is going on around you. In such a case it is unlikely that you will remember
much of what you are actually doing.
- Concentration: The antidote for
preoccupation is to practise concentration.
|An exercise to help concentration: Pick
an object (anything will do) and study it hard for a few minutes, trying to remember as
many details as you can. Then shut your eyes and try to recreate the object in your
imagination. If your mind wanders, just bring it back to the job in hand until you
have remembered as much as you can. Open your eyes and see how much you noticed and
then repeat the exercise. After a few tries at the exercise you will find your