There are two ways to learn. One- rote memory and, two-associative memory. There’s no right or wrong answer. But in the West we, Americans, tend to favor associated memory. Why? Because it fits our national fiction of creativity, freedom, democracy, non-conformity, individuality, so on down the list. But if you analyze both these types of memory skills, there is really no strong advantage of one over the other.
Although some economists would argue that an economy founded on creativity is more elastic, more flexible and more likely to pioneer the next generation of technological innovations, this is open for debate. The Japanese, for example,have for the longest time been thought of by Americans as not being particulary original or creative. But when you look at the huge patents in Japan, they atually do a lot of innovations. They don’t focus on basic research or breakthough technologies per se. But a lot of their patents is on process technology -how to produce things faster, how to produce things better, how to miniaturize things, and so on and so forth. And these patent pattern is evident in China, Taiwan and other Asian countries. These Asian countries, unlike Western societies, focus on rote memorization.
There’s a standard formula and the students are supposed to memorize the formula over and over again. Regardless of where you fall in this debate, improving your memory is essentially the same, regardless of whether you favor associative memory or rote memory.
First, you have to be well rested.Your ability to retain material is reduced if you don’t get that much sleep. If you’re constantly stressed, if you only sleep a few hours a night, your body is going to give out.As much as your mind wants to absorb things, if the body that it’s mounted to can’t absorb things, you’re in a lot of trouble.
Second, you have to feed yourself right.Healthy food like vegetables, fruits and nuts and lots of grains with high fiber help keep your body healthy and most importantly, help optimize blood flow. Your brain needs a lot of blood. It’s mostly water and needs a lot of blood and oxygen. So, good nutrition helps improve blood circulation to the brain which helps improve memory function.
Finally, exercise is crucial. Exercise is all about increasing the level of oxygen in your blood. Highly oxidized blood enriches muscle tissue and also boosts brain functions. You are able to think clear, think more effectively, and focus more. These are the key elements needed for optimal memory.
If you sleep right, eat right and exercise right, you are going a long way in boosting your memory functions.
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