Be it Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory, or Robert Langdon from the Dan Brown books, or the “lesser” known Batman from DC Comics- they all had one thing in common. They all possessed photographic memory, or eidetic memory if you may.
By definition photographic, or eidetic memory, is something of an ability to recall or recollect images with a vividness which borders on actual visual perception. (source: dictionary.com)
In simpler words, it means the ability to remember something completely in the manner as if you are viewing it right there and then.
Mind you, the popular misconception, courtesy Hollywood and television media, about eidetic memory is that you just need to blink at an image and everything that you see for a millisecond will forever be stored in your head with the ability to recall it to its precise detail- that is too much; which is why it’s called science fiction.
But what one can achieve is similar to that, minus the overblown and the bogus notions of photographic memory.
And of course, this ability, skill or ‘superpower’, if you will, is helpful either way. With that thought in mind, being a huge supporter for altruism, here are then techniques and tips to develop photographic memory.
You can thank me later.
Tip Ten: Sleep.
You might say- now that just sounds lazy! But it’s not. Trust me on this. Because research studies show that people were better able to remember new faces and names with a good satisfying eight hour sleep, as opposed to those who didn’t get a good enough sleep and were unable to remember the people they had just met. Sleep may make one lazy but it is important.
Fun Fact: Researcher-Psychologist Nicolas Dumay determined that sleep not only helps our brain to not forget memories but also helps in retrieving memories.
Get some good sleep, people; we have got our memories to remember!
Tip Nine: Exercise
Sigh. Sleep sounded interesting but exercise… Sigh. It is said, with proper research studies and all, show that exercise after four hours of learning something new helps in better retention. Mind you, it’s not that advisable to go grab your running shoes right after you had your learning regime.
Fun Fact: Exercise not only helps us stay physically fit but also helps in regulation of oxygen to our brain. And the more blood the better! It helps in large improvement in memory and better memory retention.
Let’s go pump some blood!
Tip Eight: Food
Ah, my soul reason for existence. Food.
But to be the king of memory and rule over brainland- like every mother/ doctor/ nutritionist/ fitness coach keep repeating over and over again -you need to eat healthy.
As not fun as it may seem, foods with unsaturated fats, nuts, seafood, vegetables, fruits and olive oil are linked with improvements in memory and low rates of memory decline. Whereas saturated fats and trans fat are linked to poorer memory.
So stay away from red meat and butter, people! It makes you forget.
Tip Seven: Write. Write. Write.
Keep your laptop, tablet and smart phone aside. It is better to write notes on paper with your hand rather than typing it out on keyboard. You are more inclined to remember what you wrote rather than what you typed.
When we are writing, our brain is more active recognizing each individual strokes of a letter, but when it comes to typing, every letter is linked to an identical key of the same size. Therefore, put away the electronics for the pen shall be the mightiest of all!
Tip Six: Share.
I don’t mean Facebook share here. I am talking about sharing what you learnt. Talk or discuss what you just learnt to someone who is interested in a similar or the same topic, or teach a skill to someone who wants to learn or is learning along with you.
Like the saying goes, ‘sharing is caring.’ When such an act of teaching repetition occurs, the brain is more prone to remember and retain the memory.
While this may help foster a better relationship with the person you’re discussing with or teaching to, it also helps your brain develop and helps you improve your memory. Two targets, one stone. Check.
Tip Five: Focus
Now not every little thing needs to be remembered. We’re not Sherlock. We don’t go around solving mysteries. So we don’t need to remember everything.
Which is why- focus on one thing.
So you focus on the things that need to remember and are important, you could let go of the irrelevant details that don’t concern you much. Like what your co-worker or classmate ate for lunch. Unless. It is super tasty and you need a bite.
Regardless, focus on the thing that is important. Let the little ones be bygones.
Tip Four: Meditation.
Take a deep breath, and shut your eyes. It’s time to meditate.
Meditation has numerous health and mental benefits. Some say it helps you sleep better; work better, reduces stress, keeps you in touch with your inner self or even helps you reach a step closer in your communion with the Almighty.
It helps you relax your mind, and the daily workings, basically you are training your mind to relax, which leads to better control of your mind and thoughts.
Meditation takes you a long way ahead to wherever it is you want to go.
Tip Three: Brain Games
As opposed to meditation, make your brain work. Make the brain workout. Like our bodies, our brains can get lazy too. You need to remind your brain that it is a magnificent thing that has been fascinating people for ages.
Make your brain exercise with fun and sometimes chore-like brain teasers and thinking games. It might be repetitive and might make you feel like an idiot, but it paves the way for a smarter mind and a smarter you.
Note: I recommend an app called Elevate that helps you in training your brain for a better memory, faster calculations and even improves your language and grammar skills.
Not only is it fun, and you can check your progress throughout the timeline. It reminds you of your daily workout and shows you your strength and weakness. It is available on iOS, Android and Lumosity website.
Tip Two: Practice. Practice. Practice.
Practice makes perfect. If you keep training your brain, and practicing these brain exercises- one day, it will not feel like a chore but it will be something that comes naturally. Remembering things will be a piece of cake, and forgetting will be out of the question.
Friends and family alike will commend you on your perfect company.
Tip One: Memory Palace
Anyone who has seen Sherlock can tell you what this is about.
It can also me called the Method of Loci, and can be traced back to the Roman Empire- which proves that it’s ancient, workable and completely effective.
It can get very complicated to the point that I fail to understand it, but in simplified words:
-You choose a familiar place to be called your Memory Palace (home, school, workplace, it can be anything)
-You pick a route that you’re most familiar with (like walking from your front door to your kitchen, then study and your bedroom).
-Pinpoint the starting point, which could be the front door, and then the ending point, which could be the bedroom. (It all depends on you)
-Now, close your eyes and visualise your memory palace. You walk in through your front door and you visualize what you see- it can be a wall painting, a phone, a rug, anything. Keep looking around.
-Then now’s the fun but most chore-like part. You link things you need to remember with your memory palace.
For example, you’re going out to buy school supplies and say you need a calculator, pencils and paper.
So you could visualize the front door as a big calculator which opens the moment you come close to it, and then when you proceed you can visualise the rug as a rug made with pencils glued to each other. For paper, you can visualise piles of paper raining down on you as you enter.
It doesn’t matter if it’s ridiculous and unrealistic. What matters is that you remember.
The more you do this, the more you’ll get used to it.
Like I said, practice makes you perfect!