Mindful memory

Bali beach

Our memory is being eroded in the modern society. We have smart devices that help us to remember things from phone numbers, addresses, and birth dates to any small notes we care to enter in our preferred note-taking app. Our brain has less work to do nowadays.

An important part of our memory is to build an information storage with details. By remembering certain details, our brains are able to connect the dots and help us to memorise a bigger picture. Yet with the fast pace in the modern world where content creator fight to capture our attention in seconds, our attention span is a lot shorter than it has ever been.

Slow down

It is important to be mindful. Slow down and pay attention to the things around us. Be aware of the things that are happening to us too. I highly recommend Thich Nhat Hanh’s “How to” series of books. They touch on how to be mindful when doing simple things like eating, sitting, and walking. These are tasks that we do without thinking.

“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child—our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

When you slow down and pay attention during these mundane tasks instead of distracting yourself with music, podcasts, or even staring at your phone, you become aware of a lot of details that you previously missed or took for granted.

I enjoy people watching when I’m out. This habit to seek out details is partly because details help a lot in my creative process when it comes to writing and creating content.

The only way to create realistic human interactions and characters is through observing people and how they engage with others.

Clear your mind

We miss the details if we are distracted by the phone or laptop. You don’t have to be actively scrolling your feed or checking emails. Your mind might linger on a reply someone sent, or a news headline you saw earlier.

You need to clear your mind before you can truly be receptive to the small things that happen around you. I found meditating a great way for me to empty my head.

“Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

It just takes a minute to do so. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Take deep breaths. Your lungs expanding as you inhale, and how your muscles squeeze the air out as you exhale. Do this for a minute, or about 10 breaths. This makes you aware of yourself and of your body as it does something as simple as breathing. You become mindful of your surroundings.

This awareness helps you to improve your short-term memory. A mindful state makes you more receptive to imprinting new memories.

There are many studies and discussions on the link between mindfulness and memory. I would love to hear from you if you practice mindfulness.

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