Use This Technique to Improve Your Short-term Memory

Short-term memory loss is frequently associated with old age. As you get older, your body and brain changes. It’s an inevitable part of life. In fact, 40% of individuals 65 years and older have a memory impairment.

However, today’s society is facing a different kind of dilemma related to memory loss. The overuse of technology is leading to digital dementia — and it’s not a problem limited to older adults.

Recent market research states that the average adult spends 3 hours and 25 minutes on their mobile phone every day. And this doesn’t include time spent on laptops, tablets, or T.V. According to these trends, experts say that the average time an individual spends on their mobile phone will increase by 11 minutes every year.

This increasing reliance on technology leads to cognitive dysfunction — including memory loss. Thus, short-term memory loss is no longer just an age-related problem. It’s becoming widespread.

The good news? It’s entirely reversible. How? Many experts suggest simply using your brain more.

Enter: The Method of Loci

Do you need to memorize a list for that next big exam? Or are you struggling to rehearse your speech via memory? The Method of Loci may help.

The Method of Loci has been around since ancient times. It originated — like many things — from the Roman Empire. The poet, Simonides of Ceos, was the first person to recognize the capability of this memory recollection method. Simonides survived a building collapse. Surprisingly, he was quickly able to identify the dead based off of where each person had been sitting for dinner. Afterward, Simonides wondered if there were similar instances where the location could trigger memory recall. Could others use it? And how?

Shortly thereafter, Roman and Greek orators began using the Method of Loci to memorize speeches. It became a powerful mental tool.

Essentially, the method uses visualization and spatial memory to organize and store large amounts of information. You choose a familiar area and associate it with the items you need or want to recall later. It further engages the senses. In fact, the more senses you engage through the process, the better.

How to Use the Method of Loci

How does it work? It’s fairly simple.

Use the following steps to apply this mnemonic method to your life.

Step 1: Pick a place you are familiar with — somewhere you know well. For instance, you could use your apartment or home space to remember your grocery list.

Step 2: Associate each item on your list with a specific location in your familiar space. Do this in a logical order. Let’s say your list consists of eggs, milk, oranges, vegetable oil, sugar, and bananas. Imagine walking into your apartment or house. You open the door. Now imagine breaking the eggs open on the keyholder or shelf in your entrance way. Walk through to the next room and imagine pouring milk all over the floor by the doorway, and so on. Use a route that makes logical sense through your spatial area.

Step 3: Engage as many senses as possible through this process. Think about how gooey the eggs feel and how it feels and sounds as you crack them open one by one. Visualize yourself sliding through the milk mess on the floor. How does that feel? You can even imagine the smell of the milk here as well. Once you’ve slid through the milk, imagine throwing oranges at a target in the room. Feel the weight of each orange in your hand. And imagine the smell of the orange as you throw each one. You turn and walk into your bathroom. Visualize pouring vegetable oil into your hands and spreading it across the bathroom counter. You would continue down your list as you go through your spatial area — associating each space with an item and involving as many senses as you can. Try to think of the most outrageous scenarios — you’ll remember them better.

Step 4: These familiar spaces re-jog your memory. When you want to remember your grocery list, you simply imagine going through the familiar spatial area. You’ll be able to recall items easier, and you might even be surprised with the long lists or points for a certain speech that you can remember.

Try The Method of Loci Today

The Method of Loci has been used for thousands of years. And surprisingly, this method doesn’t only improve memory — but it has the potential to improve overall brain functioning. All it takes is practice!

Try this method next time you need to remember something — whether it be a grocery list or a big speech. Unleash your potential brain power. What can you remember?

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