Ready to go back to high school?

Marilu Henner and her brother, Lorin Henner, have a great exercise to try out today to see where you’re at with your recall skills. In their book,  Total Memory Makeover: Uncover Your Past, Take Charge of Your Future Marilu challenged her brother to list out his entire class schedule for all four years of high school (Henner 112). At first he was skeptical, but then as he started to recall certain events, such that his woodshop class was his first class, along with remembering the blocks of time for the classes he was soon on his way. Assisted with a photo of auditorium, he was soon able to put together the entire four-year schedule.

“No memories are gone forever,” says Henner, “they are all there waiting to be rediscovered,  (Henner 114). 

I once used the track strategy (discussed in yesterdays blog) before I even knew it was a track strategy. Late one night while Journaling, I followed a journal exercise listed in DavidRM Software’s The Journal, that takes you back to certain times in your life. In this one particular exercise I had to list every concert I’d ever attended. Within minutes I was not only remembering the concert, but the month and year, which ones I got offered weed at (declined of course), which ones I took a date too and which ones I got stood up for and even the kind of car I was driving at that time period (which may relate to getting stood up), and all sorts of other memories. I did the same thing with my favorite movies and soon found myself reminiscing and journaling about old friends, girlfriends, hobbies, classes, jobs – tracks are a great way to step into your past.

 “Memory is the diary we all carry with us,” Oscar Wilde (Henner 135).

Henner quotes Don Campbell who said: “The more connections that can be made in the brain, the more integrated the experience is within memory,” (Henner 139). And its important to remember again that Henner’s book is not about parlor tricks or short term memory strategies that are in many memory books – there are specific strategies that can be used for studying, remembering people’s names, remembering a grocery list, but these are all short term. Henner’s strategies are about improving your memory’s overall “fitness” level. So, get a journal and write down what you remember about:

  • Places you’ve lived
  • Schools
  • Jobs
  • Family events
  • Relationships
  • Marriages
  • Deaths
  • Divorces
  • Vacations
  • Pets
  • Spiritual experiences
  • Important realizations
  • Mentors
  • Important friends
  • Challenging rivalries
  • Any other special memory of an event, time or place

Have fun with this. Go back to high school. Remember the good times. Write down what you learned from the bad times and what actions you take, or can start taking today, to integrate those life lessons.

Tomorrow we put it all together.

Henner, Marilu, and Lorin Henner. Total Memory Makeover: Uncover Your Past, Take Charge of Your Future. New York: Gallery, 2012. Print.

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