Free Memory Tips, March 2015 Issue

Below is the March 2015 issue of Free Memory Tips. To learn more about this free email newsletter, or to start receiving it, please visit the Subscription Page. I send out the newsletter about once a month. You can unsubscribe at any time.

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So much to remember, so little time
So much to remember,
so little time

Welcome to the MARCH 2015 issue of my free Memory Tips email newsletter. Below are powerful strategies for improving your memory. Ready to boost your brain power?

Below are powerful strategies for improving your memory. Plus I've included links to free online brain games that can strengthen your thinking skills.

In this issue:

  • Candle Concentration: An Exercise to Boost Attention & Visual Imagery Skills

  • Memory Technique Example: The 10 Elements of Paleo

  • Grow Your Vocabulary with a Personal Running Word List

  • FREE Brain Games: Improve TIME MANAGEMENT Skills

If you like this newsletter, "pay it forward" by sending this to a friend. If someone did forward this to you, and if you like what you read, please subscribe by visiting the Memory Tips subscription page.

My goal is to help you learn faster and remember more. That's why I created and this email newsletter.

The secret to a more powerful brain is two-fold: 1) improve your brain health, and 2) learn memory techniques. This can lead to more success and fulfillment in life!

Candle Concentration: An Exercise to Boost Attention & Visual Imagery Skills

Want to boost your concentration and memory power? Stare at a candle flame.

candle flame

This is "candle concentration" training. The burning candle has been used for decades, if not centuries, to strengthen a person's ability to 1) concentrate and 2) visualize clearly.

Boosting these two mental skills is an effective way to increase your overall brain power and memory.

Here's how to do the two-step candle exercise, as described in the book "Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming," by Stephen LaBerge (1990):


"1. Watch a candle flame
Place a burning candle in front of you. Seat yourself about three or four feet away from the candle so that you can see the flame easily. Look steadily at the flame. Do this for as long as you can, but not so long as to tire your eyes.

"2. Rest when you need to
When you begin to feel eye strain, close your eyes and sit quietly for awhile, picturing the flame before you. Practice this regularly, and you will soon increase your power to focus for indefinite periods of time."

You don't even need a real candle. There are many free virtual candle apps in Apple's App Store and the Google Play store.

The advantage of a candle app, besides not having to light a real flame, is that you can practice "candle concentration" anywhere, anytime you have a few minutes and some peace and quiet.

Concentration is the power to focus your attention. Strengthen it through deliberate practice, and you will remember more of what you read, see, hear, and experience.

Visualization engages the right brain's visual imagery to boost your memory of non-visual information. This is the door to yet another powerful way of strengthening your memory.

If you normally struggle to stay focused, or don't have strong visualization skills, you can improve these brain abilities through the candle concentration training described above. Give it a try!

Memory Technique Example: The 10 Elements of Paleo

Mental visualization is my go-to tool when I need to commit information to memory.

Combined with memory systems like the Peg technique, right-brain visualization is an incredibly powerful memory aid.

If you don't have experience with visualization techniques, they may seem unnatural, slow, and awkward at first. That's why I never tire of providing examples to help you.

Here is another example from my own life. I recently began following the paleo diet and lifestyle. Paleo is focused on natural foods and healthy living.

lift heavy things

As a beginner, I needed to become familiar with paleo's principles. So I decided to memorize the list of 10 basic paleo concepts, as listed below.

After the list, I'll explain how I used the rhyming peg visualization system to quickly set these items in my memory. You can use the same method to memorize any list that is important to you.

Primal Blueprint - 10 Rules of Paleo Living:

  1. Eat lots of plants and animals.
  2. Move around a lot at a slow pace.
  3. Lift heavy things.
  4. Run really fast every once in a while.
  5. Get lots of sleep.
  6. Play.
  7. Get some sunlight every day.
  8. Avoid trauma.
  9. Avoid poisonous things.
  10. Use your mind.

To use the rhyming peg memory technique, first select a keyword or keyphrase that represents the main idea each item in the list. Second, create a mental image linking that keyword/phrase to the standard rhyming peg image for that number in the list.

The standard rhyming pegs are: 1-Sun, 2-Shoe, 3-Tree, 4-Door, 5-Hive, 6-Sticks, 7-Heaven, 8-Gate, 9-Vine, 10-Hen. You can see images for each of these on my website.

Repeat the rhyming pegs to yourself a few times out loud. If you don't know them already, you should find them fairly easy to commit to memory.

Here are the mental associations I thought of for my paleo list. Using visualization, I mentally link the rhyming peg word to the main idea of each item in the list:

One-Sun: A hot sun burns so brightly that all the animals and plants are running for the shade

Two-Shoe: Me in a pair of gigantic shoes walking on and on

Three-Tree: Me lifting a tree trunk over my head (see Three-Tree image above)

Four-Door: Me sprinting through a door

Five-Hive: Me sleeping in a giant bee hive, with bees trying to sting me

Six-Sticks: A friend and I throwing sticks to each other, as a game

Seven-Heaven: Me peeking above the clouds to see the bright sunshine

Eight-Gate: Me walking through a swinging gate that has sharp metal teeth on the side

Nine-Vine: Me walking past a rattlesnake hiding within some vines

Ten-Hen: A chicken with an enormous brain

I then spend some time reviewing the images until I see them as clearly as possible in my mind.

Recall is then easy. I simply go through the rhyming pegs, one by one. The power of the peg method is that the associated images pop into my mind automatically; and those images remind me of the actual list item.

For example, saying or thinking "Nine-Vine" reminds me of the rattlesnake. Thus I easily recall that "Avoid poisonous things" is the ninth paleo principle.

It may be hard for you to imagine this process simply by reading my description. So I recommend you try it for yourself.

The peg method and other memory systems are visual systems. That means you need to practice them in your own mind to really understand and appreciate how effective they are.

Grow Your Vocabulary with a Personal, Running Word List

In the February issue of the Memory Tips newsletter, I gave you suggestions on how to increase your vocabulary.

Knowing a large repertoire of words is important for recalling what you read and what people say, because it's much more difficult to remember what you have not first understood.

So I thought it might be helpful to show you the easy way I track my progress as I learn new words myself.

word list

Very simply, I keep a running list of new words as I encounter them. When I see a new word in a book I'm reading, for example, I'll look up the meaning in a dictionary, memorize it using the keyword memory technique, and add the word to my list.

Here's an excerpt from my running list. I learned most of these recently while reading the novel "2312" by Kim Stanley Robinson.

As I've discovered, Robinson revels in calling upon esoteric words to convey an exact meaning.

  • chiaroscuro
  • inuksuit
  • exergasia
  • frisson
  • goldsworthies
  • Sol Invictus
  • abramovics
  • speciate
  • Olmec spheroid
  • prognathous
  • Gobekli Tepe
  • Tintoretto
  • dolmen
  • langur
  • brahman

Notice some of the terms are proper nouns. Don't neglect to learn such concepts as well when you encounter them. For example, had I not looked up and learned "Tintoretto," a minor subplot in 2312 would not have made sense to me. Wikipedia is your friend!

For convenience, I type my list in a Memo app on my phone. It's a simple notepad app with no frills. Writing your word list in a notebook also works for this purpose.

I review my word list once a day, usually in the evening before I go to sleep. This is to verify that I recall how to spell each word and can recite the definition from memory.

If I can't remember a definition or the spelling, I'll take a moment to look it up again to refresh my memory.

Maintaining a running word list may seem time consuming. Most of the time, it isn't, actually. But either way, it is well worth it. Your vocabulary, and thus your ability to remember what you read and hear, will greatly improve over time if you make this a continuous habit.


There are 256 free online brain games on my website, You can play them online anytime.

No restrictions, no logging in. Just pick a game, go to the game page, and start playing.

Below are links to three of the online games that train time management, an important brain skill. Plan, prioritize, and accomplish objectives by selecting and utilizing the right resources under the pressure of time.

Play these free games now to give your brain a boost:

penguin diner 2

Penguin Diner 2. Manage your own restaurant chain in Antarctica. Serve penguin customers, collect their payments, and clean the tables. Be quick and efficient so your diner is a success.

goodgame bigfarm

GoodGame BigFarm. You inherit a small farm that includes a small plot of land, a few seeds, and some chickens. Wisely manage your farm and help it grow into a profitable business. This is a very detailed game.

mega miner

Mega Miner. Dig deep for minerals and gems, and then sell them for a profit. Use your income to buy mining upgrades, and complete mining "missions" for extra cash.

That's all for now, and thanks for reading. For lots more tricks and strategies to improve your brain, visit the Get a Better Memory page on my website.

If you like the website, tell your friends and family about it. And please click the Facebook "Like" and Google +1 buttons on my site. Every vote of confidence helps. Smilie

Best regards,
Douglas Jobes
Home of over 200 free online brain games

Memory Tips newsletter Back Issues page:

  1. Home
  2. Better Memory
  3. Free Memory Tips
  4. March 2015

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TIP: The HTML5 brain games do not need the Adobe Flash Player. They work in modern browsers automatically.

If an HTML5 version is available, "HTML5" is shown on the game page, under the picture of the game.

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