Keys, glasses, phones, where have I put them? Have you ever found yourself staring into the fridge just to wonder seconds later why you are there for? Well, not to worry. The truth is growing older doesn’t mean your memory necessarily has to be lousier. With some fun, simple memory tips, you can apply one of your most powerful secret weapons to go from absent-minded to present-minded almost immediately, and get a razor-sharp memory even in your 50s, 60s, or 70s. Let’s check them out below.
Your Powerful Secret Weapon
Visualization is one of your most powerful tools that can help make learning fast and fun. Even if someone is trying to stop you from doing so, they simply can’t. We don’t even need to take any memory-improvement pills for it to work. Because visualization happens automatically, it’s a natural phenomenon no matter what age you are.
Think of a certain song, when we hear the tunes and the lyrics, our minds almost instantly conjure up mental images of a specific person, a place or the time when the song was played. We feel like we live and experience those moments again. We think this has happened to all of us.
There may be a certain smell that can trigger an avalanche of nostalgia, taking you back to childhood camping, prom night, or an unforgettable vacation. We can see it as we write, and we’ll bet that you see your own version as you read.
When you are aware of your power, you can harness it and use it to your benefit. In this case, to improve your memory or just to remember more things and be less forgetful (like us, sometimes or many times). Because as Aristotle, a Greek philosopher, said:
In order to think, we must speculate with images.
And training your memory now helps the thinking process itself, giving you a keener sense of concentration, imagination, and observation. Now that you are aware of the potential you have inside, let’s explore some fun ways how we can put it into action.
#1 Giant them up
An easy way to remember where you put things is just to imagine gigantic versions of them. The sillier, the more impossible or ridiculous the image, the more memorable.
This may sound absurd to some. But let us ease you into it. So, for example, you’re writing at your desk and someone calls you. Now, you’re about to face a situation that you might have been in a thousands times, “Where the hell is my pencil?”.
You might have put it behind your ear. Before taking that phone call, take one clear second to think of a GIGANTIC pencil sliding not behind, but right into your left ear through your right ear, pointy tip first slowwwly. Feel the pain?
In this split second, you have forced your mind to be originally aware or in other words to be fully present. When you think of your pencil sometime later on, you remember where you have put it exactly. Yes, behind you ear! All it takes is one clear second without breaking any mental or physical stride.
Other classic examples are keys and glasses. You may have dropped your keys habitually on the kitchen counter, the couch or whatever. Take only one clear moment to make up a mental image of, for example, one million Godzilla-size keys standing on your kitchen counter jumping and yelling “I’m here, I’m here”. Later on, when you need your keys, off you go to get them on the counter.
What makes this work is just that one clear moment. We understand that, as we all live in a fast-paced world with very busy lifestyles, sometimes pausing for a moment can be challenging.
But if you can, just take one minutest fraction of the time to think of a clear mental image. This is important. Because if you don’t see it clearly in your head or you’re just laboring over one picture for too long, it’s going to be boring and counter-effective. So, remember, giant them up, one sec, and off you to to the next.
We are also applying this idea for normal, everyday items. But when we have more than one thing to remember, we might want to link them up using the pair method below.
#2 Pair them up
Pairing things up, no matter how impossible or strange the relationship, is not a very new concept. Ancient memory experts like Plato or Socrates understood and utilized it all the time.
If imagining giant things in our minds helps us remember one single thing or just highlighting it, making a mental connection between two can help us remember two or more things at once. This proves to be useful when we need to remember more things like the items in a grocery, a to-do list, or a list of flower names.
Say, you’re packing for your trip. And you don’t want to forget two mundane but important things to you: a lip balm because your lips get dried easily and your eye drops as you have tired eyes.
Okay, lip balm and eye-drop, lip balm and eye-drop. In one second, you can just think of a swimming pool of eye drops with lip-balm-shaped floats sending you air kisses and winking at you. The next time you’re halfway on the road, you won’t have to say, “Oh man, I forgot to bring THEM again!”
You see, the basic principle works just like the first method we saw. In this case, you’re just bringing two characters to the screen of your mind. One step, two steps. It really becomes powerful when we start making connections for more things on the list, a long page of script, or a speech that we prepare for our special someone.
If you don’t want to be in a situation like this guy,
My d-d-dear f-f-friends, before arriving here this evening, only G-God and I knew what I was g-going to say. N-n-now, only God knows.
Then read on.
#3 Link things together
When you begin linking thoughts or ideas together, it becomes really powerful—just like when you’re mixing different spices in your food or drinks to create an explosion of flavors.
You have one of the easiest and most effective places to use when it comes to linking thoughts and ideas, that is, your own house. This simple technique has been used by actors, speech makers, and story tellers around the world. Some call it the Mind Palace or the Memory Castle.
With each thought, you link it to a specific location in your house. For example, your front door. Moving on to the next one, you can pair it up with the couch in your living. Then, the table in your kitchen. Next, the window in your bedroom, and so on.
It’s so easy because the house is familiar to you and you remember the different locations well even with your eyes close. This is why we see in some speeches, people say in the first place, in the second place, and so on. When they become bored with familiar places, they actually cruise around or wander around new places or neighborhoods to find new anchors and inspiration.
Being a proponent of memory system himself, William Shakespeare might have built memory aids like these inside the Globe Theater to help actors remember their lines. It’s the doors, the color of the doors, the columns, windows, exits, and even the paintings on the ceilings. Although much of this is still supposition, we have a good amount of documentation that the talented playwright was indeed interested in these techniques.
But the connection is not limited to things only. You can use people, body parts, zodiac signs, or things that you already know and remember well to be anchors and build new knowledge on.
For example, here’s a random list of 10 things to try just for fun:
- Gold coins
You can try this however you like. One step at a time, and then pair them up, and connect them with each other. Here’s what we think about it:
A girl with giant earring made from pepperoni. The pepperoni is breathing out big bubbles. Inside those bubbles are fish. Then, we catch the fish with some bucket. Two strands of thick black hair are holding onto the bucket. Between the hair is a giant balloon head. It flies up high into the sky and hits a pointy star. It bursts into a thousands of gold coins. The coins raining down creating a curtain of coin shower, closing our mental image.
You guys, we know this may sound insane. But it really works. What’s cooler is that you can even do this list backwards, we mean, in reverse. The image actually sticks. As you can see, each thought takes only one quick, clear second or a snap of a finger. Then, we move onto the next using the same techniques and build up from there.
When you are willing to put in some effort, all it takes is 10 seconds or a tiny bit longer for new folks to remember 10 items for a long period of time ahead. This means, less head scratching, less frustrating “where-the-heck-is-the-whatever” treasure hunt, and more time to enjoy life.
#4 Make it rhyme
Rhyming has never lost its effectiveness throughout ages. Rhyming words are not only persuasive, they are also memorable. That is why we may see many advertising slogans, campaigns, or jingles use rhymes. Make America great again! Beanz meanz Heinz (Heinz canned baked beans). You only get an “OO” with Typhoo (tea company). There’s so much more and musicians, poets, and speech writers know this best, but you get the idea.
We don’t need to be the best poets to apply this technique to improve our memory in our day-to-day lives. Some fun, simple lines that even our little kids can enjoy and have fun making are good enough. Actually, kids can be great at this. For example:
Go to WalMart
Get some tart
And a card
For dad dad
Go to WalGreens
Get some beans
Plus, three Twixies
Pick Ava up at 4
Pick aunt up at the airport
Go back to the store
Arrange soft drinks based on colors
Go home and snore Z..z..z
It’s really going to be different for different people with different lifestyles. But again, if it makes sense to you and helps you or your loved ones remember better, then go ahead and do it your own crazy, creative ways. Again, when you combine this with some of the above techniques, you’re really giving your memory muscle a nice work-out.
#5 Do a little bit every day
Like any other muscles on your body, the memory muscle gets stronger and firmer the more practice you give it. Don’t do anything too overwhelming. Start nice and easy. Then, work it up step by step from there.
The really nice thing about these tools is that once you’ve gained some mastery or simply you’ve got a clearer, better memory, you may not even need to rely some of the tools anymore.
It will become like second nature to you. At first, remembering 10 things seems overwhelming to you. But now, you’re more familiar with this and you can even challenge yourself to remember more than 10 items.
A little bit every day and every day a little bit. This helps keep the momentum going. It doesn’t make you feel demotivated when you haven’t got it yet or complacent when you’ve achieved some level of success. If you can’t do 10 minutes, then 5 is good enough. If you can’t do 5, then only 1 minute a day will suffice.
The message you can take away is that it is no longer acceptable to accept a bad memory as we grow older. Everyone has the capacity to learn and grow even in the golden years of 70s or 80s. In fact, some of the great guys like Albert Einstein or Robert Frost had done some of their most outstanding works with agile minds even when they were well in their 80s. So, you have nothing to worry about if you just forget one or two things.
Remember what we just went over:
- Imagine a GIANT mental image
- Pair them up using the most ridiculous ideas
- Link them together using familiar places as anchors
- Create some fun rhymes
- Do a little bit every day
Personally, we also find that these mental push-ups help us really stay in the present moment. It helps keep the monkey mind more concentrated on the task at hand and not jumping around from branch to branch to different thoughts. We thought you might give them a try and hopefully this was helpful to you and your lifestyle. If you have any cool ideas, please let us know and cheers!
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