Who remembers mind-mapping? Those clouds that led to free-thinking ideas were meant to help you unlock creativity and remember ideas and concepts more effectively – helpful for exams.
Now researchers have found that mind-mapping (or retrieval practice) can be an effective way to not only help you plan a happier, more productive mid-life but preserve memory and even build new mental pathways.
Mind maps are visual representations of ideas. The act of creating them engages both sides of the brain and works to create new neural pathways, improving your memory by up to 15%. Whilst there are tons of apps to help, most experts suggest old-school pen and paper is the best way to benefit (woohoo).
To start, simply grab some pens and a big sheet of paper and start with your central theme in the middle. This might be a career, holiday planning or any (or indeed all) areas of your life causing friction. Former Google expert Jenny Blake even uses it to plan whole years.
So, say you want to visualise your 50s and what they might hold for you. You’d draw a cloud with turning 50 at the centre and then branch off all the areas that might be affected – health, home, family, career, appearance, dreams, relationships.
From there, you put in all the ideas, suggestions, hopes etc. you want for that area of your life during this time. You can then go into more depth for each area, branching off, again and again, to really explore what each of those issues means to you.
mind-maps improve your memory by up to 15%.
It can also be a way of tackling problems. Say you’re suffering an awful menopause and you want to get it under control. Start with menopause at the outside and then go around with all the symptoms causing you trouble. From here you can look for suggestions to support each one and break them down into what you need to resolve the struggle.
It’s also a fab way of remembering things during the menopause when your brain fog takes hold and remembering your name seems like a nightmare.