Memory Spring Monthly

Reduce Your B.S.O.S. to Improve Your Memory!

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ConfusedIn today’s multi-stimuli environment most of us struggle with B.S.O.S. or Bright Shiny Object Syndrome. A million things distract us including texts, emails, coworkers, family members, signs, our screen saver, and many others.  Heck, we even distract ourselves with our thoughts allowing each thought to bounce around in our heads free associating with everything else which distracts us from our original goal. Consequently, we lose focus and reduce our ability to store information in our memory. 

Focus also known as concentration is linked to memory performance.  With focus we are able to store information in a way that it is recallable.  Without it our minds drift, never allowing our brain to encode the information in a way that we can access it later.  Recalling vital facts, people’s names, things we read, even just getting stuff done can all be improved with better focus. 
 
Can we improve our focus to improve our memory? Absolutely!  Here are a number of things that you can do to improve your focus.
  
Surround yourself with the colors red or green. Recent studies have discovered that the colors red and/or green improve concentration. Some experts advise framing a red or green piece of paper and putting it on your desk or changing your computer background to red or green. Other experts recommend adding those colors to your wardrobe and other areas of your life.
 
Reduce clutter. It has been found that clutter is a huge distracter for our brain. Our brain works better with structure and organization. Everything that is not in its place sidetracks our brain with new associations and ideas.  If we walk into our office or our home and there are many different things laying around (clutter) our brain tends to see each item and then rolls down a new thought trail.  Our brain can get distracted hundreds of times a day just from the clutter in our lives.
 
Create a special spot dedicated to studying/working.  Providing your brain with a routine maximizes its performance.  Finding a secluded/clutter free spot to do your most important work or studying maximizes your productivity and also trains your brain. The trick is to make sure you only work/study in that spot. Get up and leave that spot if you choose to do something else such as looking at fun web-sites or having non work conversations.  Studying or working in bed is a “no-no,” primarily because your body is trained to want to sleep once you get into bed. Oh, and did I mention that you should turn off or mute your smart phone when you’re in your special spot?  That would definitely help!
 
Chew gum. Recent research has revealed that chewing gum can help you stay focused for longer on tasks. In addition, research has shown that chewing gum can improve concentration in visual memory tasks. Some experts are even recommending gum (sugar free) as a healthier alternative to caffeine since it has been shown to have similar brain sparking effects. In many of the recent studies, gum chewers and non gum chewers were put into environments containing distractions such as loud noises.  Even in those distracting environments, the gum chewers out-performed the non chewers.  So chew away!
 
Train Your Brain to Stay Focused using the Five Roads Exercise. Knowing that one distraction leads to another distraction and another distraction, the Five Roads exercise is designed to re-center you using five questions (roads).  When your mind wanders into an association, make it come back to that selected object before it wanders again by asking yourself the five questions about it. The five questions include the following: 1) What Class does this belong to? (People, animals, things or ideas that have a principle characteristic in common with the object.); 2) What are some Specific examples of this? (Concrete examples of the object or idea in real world applications.); 3) What are the Parts of this? (Describing its structure.); 4) What are its Qualities? (Descriptive judgments about its appearance, sensations, functions, usage and value.); and 5) What Goes With this? (For instance: what goes with a bat? A ball). Doing this exercise forces your brain to think through what it is working on.  Repeat the questions until you have exhausted all your thoughts around each.  The result will be increased focus, better thought through ideas, and increased discipline of thought. Click here for more information on the Five Roads Exercise.
 
These are just a few of the many things that you can do to increase your focus and reduce your Bright Shiny Object Syndrome (B.S.O.S.). Implement some of these steps today and you’ll definitely get a lift in your memory. For more information on improving your focus contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it."> or (530) 297-6464.