Have trouble recalling information when you need it, only to remember it hours later? This is a feeling we’re all familiar with. In fact, whether you are a student, a working professional, or a retired senior, you’ve most likely experienced a memory lapse at some point in time. Memory lapses can often be embarrassing (forgetting an acquaintance’s name) and frustrating (looking for car keys right before running out of the house). At other times, however, they can have a much more serious impact on your ability to perform well in school, at work, or even when carrying out day-to-day activities.
If you’re looking to improve your memory, there’s good news: it is possible for you to give your memory a boost. Before looking into how you can improve your memory, you need to understand what it is and how it functions. According to WebMD, memory is the “ability to normally recall the facts and events of our lives.” While most people associate memory simply with the process of recollecting information, it actually includes three stages. The first stage of memory, according to WebMD, is encoding, which involves taking information in. The second stage is consolidation, wherein the brain processes the information you’ve taken in and stores it in a certain part of the brain. The third and final stage is retrieval, which takes place when you recall the information stored in your brain. Stress, anxiety, depression, ADHD, and metabolic diseases can often disrupt this process of memory creation, storage, and retrieval.
People often ask Sadhguru how they can improve their memory and concentration. Below, we’ve shared an excerpt from one of Sadhguru’s live talks where he answers how you can improve your memory:
“Anything and everything that your five sense organs perceive is naturally recorded in your mind. you have no choice about it. Every sound, every smell, every taste, every sensation, every sight that you have perceived is there in your mind. The question is just your ability to recall it when you want it. For example, you meet someone you know well, yet when he is in front of you, you don’t recollect his name — such an awkward situation. Later on, at another moment, his name comes to your mind when it is of no use. Yes? Have you seen these things happening to you? When you need it, it does not come. When you don’t need it, it comes. That means your mind definitely has the substance, but it is just disorganized. It is disorganized simply because you are handling everything in a chaotic way.”
“When I say chaotic, the most chaotic way to live is to be anxious. Don’t be anxious to be focused. Learn to relax into life. If you develop a love for what you are doing, you will see that you will naturally grasp everything that you need to grasp. Rather than trying to concentrate on your study or work, if you see the usefulness of what you are doing, if you enjoy what you are doing, you will see that grasping things will come naturally to you. Everybody has the capability. When you try to concentrate forcefully, you will miss the most obvious things. When you are in anxiety, you have your car keys in your hand, yet you search for them all over the house. Has it happened to you?”
“The moment you create anxiety, there is chaos in the mind. If you go to a library with a million books piled up in one heap, can you find what you want? But if everything is catalogued and kept in the organized way that it should be kept, you can probably go blindfolded and find the book that you want. This organization is needed for your mind. Chaos has come to your mind only because of anxiety. You are anxious and you cannot help it because right now, your happiness is dependent upon what will happen in your life today. If you are happy, if you are a joyous person, there is no anxiety for you because you know that no matter what happens today, you are still going to be the same within yourself. Then, it is only your concern for the external which makes you do work. You are not trying to make your life through that.”
“So if anxiety has to go, first of all you need to learn how to be a peaceful and joyful human being by your own nature and not because of something outside of you. When you are like this, your mind is a beautiful instrument; it is a great friend of yours.”