Memory Improvement and Recollection

by Cathal O’Briain

Time and time again you hear people say, “I’ve got a poor memory,” or “I can’t remember anything these days.” One thing that you should never tell yourself is that you have a poor memory. Always suggest to your subconscious mind, “I have an excellent memory,” or “I find it easy to remember.” By telling yourself you have a good memory, while also practicing some simple memorizing techniques, you will notice a vast improvement in retention. You may also find it easier to move information from your short-term memory into your long-term memory, permanently.

Your brain receives both internal and external information and stores it in short-term memory. If you want to retain something, the secret is to move it from short-term into long-term memory, so that you can retain it for longer than a few minutes. Normally with memory retention, you lose much of the information you take in after just five minutes. Two thirds of it vanishes after an hour. After a day, almost all of it fades through forgetting. You can reverse the process of forgetting; but first you must have a desire to remember. With a desire to remember, you can store information in your long-term memory by using a simple recall technique involving your senses. The more senses you involve in retaining something, the better your memory of it becomes. For example, if you want to memorize a paragraph for a speech:

First write or type it.

Then say it out loud while you read it (involve your senses).

Now imagine what you’ve read as clearly as possible in your mind’s eye.

By involving the senses, while being focused on what it is you wish to remember, you turn the process of forgetting into remembering. The more you recall something, the quicker you help that information move from short-term into long-term memory. This next technique will help you memorize and recall. It’s all you will ever need to have an excellent memory, besides telling yourself and others, “I’ve got an excellent memory.”

The Recall Technique

Take in the information.

After 5 minutes recall and revise what you are remembering.

After 1 hour do the same.

After 3 hours, do the same.

After 6 hours, do the same.

Recall it once again before you go to sleep.

On the second and third day, recall it 3 times to your memory.

You now have this information stored in your long-term memory, forever. Repetition increases retention and is vital for improving memory. Practice the above technique in its entirety. After a few weeks it will amaze you to discover how easy it is to access large amounts of memorized information. I now suggest that you memorize these next few suggestions using the recall technique. Be sure to involve your senses and imagination when using the recall technique.

“My subconscious is extremely capable. It is very adaptive because it learns quickly.”

“My memory is excellent. I find it easy to memorize words, thoughts and images.”

Forgetting and Repressing

Forgetting is a natural occurrence and happens when the mind fails to retain a memory or impression. It also happens when your mind deliberately creates a psychological block. This is known as repression. It comes about when you have a motive for not remembering information you wish to hide from yourself. It also happens when you give your subconscious a command to forget it. These memories, although lost to conscious recall, are never truly forgotten. Your mind just hides them away to protect you, but their content remains, lying somewhere between subconscious and deeper unconscious thought. An event that feels too traumatic to remain in normal conscious thought is automatically and deliberately passed down to deeper thought where it can remain hidden from consciousness. Although hidden, it still poses a threat to mental and physical health. Memories of a painful nature significantly affect the mind and body in the form of symptoms. When left repressed and unexpressed, their content has the ability to be relived over and over again in the subconscious, eventually causing trauma in the mind. Symptoms often appear to keep anxiety in check. If removed without first seeking out their root cause (for example, repression in the memory), they can result in the individual taking on a new and possibly worse set of symptoms. Every symptom has a cause, which in turn creates an effect. So by getting to the root cause of a problem, you remove its effect in the present. Analytical Hypnotherapy achieves this goal, because the therapist works directly with the subconscious, where the root causes of symptoms have their origin.

Letting Go of Past Hurt through Forgiveness

Forgiving others for past hurts is easier said than done. But when you forgive, it helps you to let go of the emotion attached to memory. To not forgive is to suffer for what others have done. By refusing to forgive, you remain the victim, because it keeps you locked in the struggle, a kind of prisoner to your own past. It’s fair to say that you may never forget certain wrongs done against you, but you can choose to forgive. Forgiveness benefits you and not the other. As life goes on, from time to time you will recall the hurt and may even have to forgive it again and again. But over time the vividness of these memories will fade, because through forgiveness they cannot remain where the perpetrator owns you. Forgiveness is not an act of surrender, but rather it is a desire not to hold resentment in the act of self-interest. Holding anger and resentment against those who have hurt you by not forgiving them, means you are bound to them by an emotional link. When you forgive, the link is broken and you are free. Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

Ending Self Punishment through Self-Forgiveness

Sometimes we are more forgiving of strangers than we are of ourselves. Making mistakes is a part of life. When you don’t see a mistake as something to learn from, it can be perceived in the mind as something for which you must be punished. In the past you may have sinned in your own eyes, but instead of forgiving yourself, you may have deliberately repressed it. In hiding this memory that made you feel guilty or ashamed, your mind was probably doing what it thought was right for you at the time. But in trying to forget it, all you actually accomplished was to allow punishment to happen at a deeper level. When punishment happens at a deep level, it produces symptoms. There are times when you even have to forgive yourself for things you have not done. In the earlier stages of life, sensitive children direct blame inward for the actions of others. So now you must also learn to forgive yourself for holding onto this self-blame for so long. What others do to us is often the cause of our own self-punishment. What you really need is less self-punishment and more self-forgiveness. If you find it hard to forgive yourself, start by forgiving yourself for not being a good forgiver. This in itself is forgiveness, and you have already taken the first step.

The self-forgiving person is not a selfish person simply because they chose to let go of self-punishment. On the contrary, the one who remains unforgiving in their world of self-doubt and persecution is more likely to lead a selfish life. Self-forgiveness stops us from constantly internalizing with critical judgment and helps us to keep moving forward. If an individual hurts you in some way, you have a risk of harboring thoughts of hate towards that person. Such thoughts are natural and understandable, but should not be left to grow inside. In the end, these thoughts will only leave you feeling angry and guilty. This is because they make you feel that you are bad for having a desire to hate or even harm the perpetrator. Here you have a choice: you can go on hating and feeling resentment towards this person, allowing them to destroy your self-image, or you can forgive yourself for having such thoughts, thus letting go of them completely. If you choose the latter, then the memory of them hurting you, as well as the emotion of you hating them, will no longer have substance through resentment; instead they will find release through forgiveness.


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