It’s been 15 years since the tragic events of September 11, 2001, but the images of that day remain clear. Two planes were flown into the World Trade Center in New York and a third into the Pentagon in Virginia. Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives. Because of the actions of 40 passengers and crew aboard the fourth plane, Flight 93, the U.S. Capitol was saved. In New York, Virginia, Pennsylvania and across the country, people will gather today to remember the depth of our loss and the strength of our resolve. By visiting these places and hearing their stories, those who were taken will never be forgotten. Photo from the Flight 93 National Memorial by Tami Heilemann, Interior.
Mind mapping is one of the best ways to capture your thoughts and bring them to life in visual form. Beyond just note-taking, though, mind maps can help you become more creative, remember more, and solve problems more effectively. Whether you’re new to mind maps or just want a refresher, here’s all you need to know about this technique.
A mind map is basically a diagram that connects information around a central subject. I like to think of it like a tree, although it has more of a radial structure. In any case, at the center is your main idea, say, poetry, and the branches are subtopics or related ideas, such as types of poetry, famous poets, and poetry publications. Greater levels of detail branch out from there and branches can be linked together.
Mind maps can be more effective than other brainstorming and linear note-taking methods for a number of reasons:
It’s a graphical tool that can incorporate words, images, numbers, and color, so it can be more memorable and enjoyable to create and review. The combination of words and pictures is six times better for remembering information than words alone.
Mind maps link and group concepts together through natural associations. This helps generate more ideas, find deeper meaning in your subject, and also prompt you to fill in more or find what you’re missing.
A mind map can at once give you an overview of a large subject while also holding large amounts of information.
It’s also a very intuitive way to organize your thoughts, since mind maps mimic the way our brains think—bouncing ideas off of each other, rather than thinking linearly.
You can generate ideas very quickly with this technique and are encouraged to explore different creative pathways.
Because Mind Maps are so easy to do and so natural, the ingredients for your “Mind Map Recipe” are very few:
Blank unlined paper
Colored pens and pencils
When you use Mind Maps on a daily basis, you will find that your life becomes more productive, fulfilled, and successful on every level. There are no limits to the number of thoughts, ideas and connections that your brain can make, which means that there are no limits to the different ways you can use Mind Maps to help you.
7 Steps to Making a Mind Map:
Start in the CENTER of a blank page turned sideways. Why? Because starting in the center gives your Brain freedom to spread out in all directions and to express itself more freely and naturally.
Use an IMAGE or PICTURE for your central idea. Why? Because an image is worth a thousand words and helps you use your Imagination. A central image is more interesting, keeps you focused, helps you concentrate, and gives your Brain more of a buzz!
Use COLORS throughout. Why? Because colors are as exciting to your Brain as are images. Color adds extra vibrancy and life to your Mind Map, adds tremendous energy to your Creative Thinking, and is fun!
CONNECT your MAIN BRANCHES to the central image and connect your second- and third-level branches to the first and second levels, etc. Why? Because your Brain works by association. It likes to link two (or three, or four) things together. If you connect the branches, you will understand and remember a lot more easily.
Make your branches CURVED rather than straight-lined. Why? Because having nothing but straight lines is boring to your Brain.
Use ONE KEY WORD PER LINE. Why Because single key words give your Mind Map more power and flexibility.
Use IMAGES throughout. Why Because each image, like the central image, is also worth a thousand words. So if you have only 10 images in your Mind Map, it’s already the equal of 10,000 words of notes!
Do you ever wonder whether people would like you more or less if they could see inside you? …I always wonder about that. If people could see me the way I see myself - if they could live in my memories - would anyone, anyone, love me?
Studies have shown that exercise can boost memory and brain power. Dr Hillman found evidence that walking around for 20 minutes before an exam can improve performance.
Read Out Loud:
It can be surprisingly efficient; with some claims that it increase chances of recollection by 50%
Teach the Material:
This is one of the best ways to test if you understand something; if you can’t teach it, you don’t know it. Don’t worry you don’t have to teach it to real people, you can pretend (e.g. teddies) or just imagine and talk aloud to yourself.
Watch a documentary / video:
They make the topic interesting while also reinforcing key details.
Use your senses:
Chew a strange flavour of gum, or spray a perfume while you’re studying and use it again during the exam; it will make things previously associated with that sense easier to remember.
The brain of Henry Molaison, commonly known as Patient HM. Complications from surgery to cure his epilepsy led to the development of severe anterograde amnesia. This means that he had lost the ability to form new memories. Later, he would describe his condition as being “like waking from a dream…every day is alone in itself”.