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A Practical Introduction Into Mind Mapping And Memory

Can you train to get a photographic memory? 

Is such a thing even possible? And how can mind maps help you to improve your memory?

These are all interesting questions. Especially for people who have a lot of information to memorize.

A Practical Introduction Into Mind Mapping And Memory

Let me share with you my thoughts on the combination of memory and mind mapping. You also learn about why you don’t need perfect mind maps for memorizing information. 

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The Connection between mind maps and memory

Mind maps are amazing tools to create visual notes. Tony Buzan outlined the concept of mind mapping in the 1970s and he popularized them. The reason they work so well is that they mimic the way our brains work.

A mind map shows your topic in the middle. Around it, they have branches with information related to this topic. For example, when the central topic is BOOKS, the branches could be CHAPTERS. The next level in the map is PARAGRAPHS and then DETAILS

map with 4 layers

According to the mind map theory, your center would be a central image. The central image is a picture of the topic you are working on. The branches are filled with keywords, not full sentences. Using the right keywords helps you to keep the map clear. 

Mr. Buzan said you should only use a single word on each node. For my own maps, I don’t mind using more than a single word. A mind map is all about giving clarity to (a lot of) information. When I need many words in a branch, I’m fine with that.

Back to memory…

The reason a mind map is a nice tool for your brain is that your brain loves images and clarity. You should feed your brain easy-to-digest information. 

So working with a central idea, and radiating keywords around it are easy to use for your brain. You offer new information in a simple way to your brain. You can focus completely on memorizing your information. No need to find out what it all means again.

This is different from the way you try to feed normal linear notes to your brain. In traditional notes, you have no real structure. And often most of the information is highlighted. When you have your entire document deemed important… How does this help your memory process? How do you create mental notes? How can you get a clear image of your information?

How to use a mind map to help with memorization

Have you ever heard there are memory techniques? There are many ways to memorize information. There is for instance a method called the Major Method (or Major System). In this system, you convert numbers into consonants. Add vowels and you can create words. 

Words are easier to remember than numbers (for most people). This system offers you a way for memorizing numbers. 

And what do you know already about a memory system called a memory palace

A memory palace is also called a Roman Room, or the Method of Loci. This method uses a familiar room, building, or route. It allows you to store information to locations. When you want to recall the information, you step into the room. You have a look at the specific location… and you find your piece of information. 

A memory palace is one of the memory techniques that are easy to use and which is very powerful. It is not only helpful for your short-term memory! It can store information for decades to come!

How do I know you can do this? 

Think back at you sitting at your desk at school when you were 8 to 10 years young. Can you see this in your mind’s eye?

If so, you found yourself inside a long-forgotten memory palace. I am sure you can see other people sitting around you. You can see your teacher. All kinds of information can back into your mind. 

You may not have thought about this scene for many years. Still, it is in your memory. 

When you look at your brain cells, they look like a simple mind map. In brain cells, you have the neuron or cell body. Out of that, you have dendrites and axons. These communicate with other neurons. 

A brain cell

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuron#/media/File:Blausen_0657_MultipolarNeuron.png

In a mind map, there is the central concept (the brain cell or neuron). This connects to other pieces of information using dendrites or branches. 

When your brain’s connections are strong enough, you can remember information. In a mind map, the connecting lines are your strong connection between information.  

The mind map outlines a complex process. It gives you a visual outline that is simpler and better to understand. 

In fact, a mind map resembles a sweet little memory palace!

You have specific locations where you have information stored. 

So there you have it. When you have a book, or you do a brainstorming session, you outline information in a mind map. 

This map adds order to the information. It creates a visual reminder of your information. When you use colors and images, your mind will be able to recall the information even better. Remember going back to when you were 8 to 10 years young? You instantly saw an image of your classroom! Your brain loves images. A mind map uses this knowledge.

Store your mind map branches in your own memory palace.

Or use the mind map itself as a memory palace!

Or even more powerful… use a single point in your own memory palace, and connect the entire mind map to that location!. This way you only have to visit one location to trigger all the information in your mind map!

Use a memory palace when you have to store large quantities of information. It is a very powerful and fun way to store and recall your information. 

What if your mind map isn’t perfect?

Don’t worry! 

Most mind maps are not perfect. Most memories are not perfect. Create a daily schedule or daily reminder to train your memory. 

The less-than-perfect map can still help you memorize your information. It is all about memorable content. The map itself isn’t the most important. 

Create a good story from your information. Add that to one or more locations in your memory palace. You will be fine!

And even if you don’t recall everything the next time you test yourself… know that it is all a matter of using strong visual images. Your brain loves images. Feed your brain what it needs!


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To conclude

Make sure you improve your memory skills. We can store information on phones, computers, and anywhere else. Our mind is still a very important resource. Don’t neglect it and keep training it!

You have to be able to memorize and recall information without going to a computer first. A better memory is never a waste!

If you need any mind mapping help, let me know. I am here to assist you. 

Oh… the memory palace is also discussed and used in the “Studying Made Easier” home study course. When you want to learn more about that, look at the links above. 

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