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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

How to Build a Memory Palace to Remember More of Everything

How to Build a Memory Palace to Remember More of Everything

With every advancement in technology, there has been a decline in something else. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but it’s the price we pay for convenience. To really show that, let’s take a walk down memory lane before we learn about the memory palace.

How many times have you gotten home from the grocery store to realize you forgot something? What about that new person’s name from work? How about the new words from your language learning class?

While these are all minor inconveniences, all these things have one thing in common: they rely on our ability to memorize things.

There’s nothing wrong with using technology to create lists to help us with our short and long-term memory, but it comes at a price as places, dates, specific items, and more become more difficult to remember without technology as an aid.

Thankfully, the memory palace is here to help. It is immensely powerful in unlocking memories and being able to retain them with ease. By learning what a memory palace is and using the technique, you can change your life and remember more of what you need to.

What Is the Memory Palace?

Another name for this technique is the Method of Loci or the mind palace, though most people will call it the memory palace. It’s a memorization technique that was first developed in ancient Greece. Back then, paper was expensive and limited, so people relied heavily on their own memories to retain and recall information.

You can see an example of how this method works below:[1]

The Memory Palace for a recipe

    Going further into the technique, many people see a memory palace as a metaphor for any sort of place that you can visualize. It’s essentially a place you can go to to recall vivid memories and then apply them in the real world.

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    Does It Really Work?

    Short answer: yes. Extremely well.

    One example to look to is Dominic O’Brien[2]. He was an eight-time world memory champion who used this method. Through this method, he was able to memorize 54 decks of cards in sequence while only having seen each card once.

    That’s 2,808 cards that he memorized.

    Another worth noting is the memorization of Pi.

    While this is a number without end, many people memorize the numbers for fun. But that’s not the case for a man in India.

    On March 2015, Rajveer Meena was able to recite 70,000 decimal places of pi[3]. That feat is only overshadowed by a Japanese man who memorized 111,700 decimals.(The Guardian: He ate all the pi: Japanese man memorises π to 111,700 digits)).

    “But these are all extreme cases,” I hear you saying. Yes, they are.

    But these individuals all started somewhere, and that somewhere is the memory palace.

    As I said, a memory palace is a place to house vivid memories. However, under the right circumstances, you can leverage it for a wide variety of things. One of the most common is obviously to memorize patterns.

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    5 Steps to Build and Use the Memory Palace

    There are many practical methods for a memory palace outside of setting world records. You can use this technique to recall long to-do lists, grocery lists, names, a foreign language and more.

    Here’s how to build a memory palace to use in real life.

    1. Select Your Palace

    Before even starting, you need to have a place in mind that you are familiar with. This technique works best if you can mentally see and walk around the area effortlessly. It’s why I suggest your office, home, school, or a familiar route you walk every day.

    You should define a particular route within your memory palace. It’s helpful to keep the route simple, by going from room to room, for example. Or if you are in one particular room, going around the room to familiar objects.

    2. Identify Distinctive Features

    Once you have a palace, you need to pay especially close attention to the features. For example, if you used your home as your palace, distinctive features could include the front door, basement, kitchen, office, etc.

    If you choose to stick to one room, find distinctive objects. For example, if you want to use your bedroom as your memory palace, you can use your bed, dresser, TV, closet, etc. as the distinctive features.

    The idea behind all of this is to create memory slots. These are clues that will contain a single piece of information to help you jog your memory. By paying close attention to the actions and details around the area, you can create more memory slots.

    3. Imprint Your Palace

    For this to have any effectiveness, you need to have both the place and the route 100% imprinted in your head. For those of you who are exceptional at visualization, this shouldn’t be a huge struggle.

    However, for those who do, consider these tips:

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    • Walk the actual route physically when possible, and repeat out loud the distinctive features when you see them.
    • List the selected features on a piece of paper and mentally walk through them.
    • Always look at the features in the exact same direction.
    • Understand visualization is a skill and takes practice.

    When you think you have your memory palace memorized, give yourself a break and go through your memory palace a little later.

    One study from Purdue University found that quizzes spaced out over periods of time improved retaining information[4]. This same principal applies to the memory palace as you’ll be quizzing yourself later on the sequence of steps you memorized earlier.

    Once the palace is imprinted into your mind, you can then start to leverage your palace.

    For more visualization techniques to practice, check out this article.

    4. Begin Association

    Now that the palace is in your mind, and you can recall the memory slots, you can now start to fill those memory slots.

    All you do is take a known image—otherwise known as a memory peg—and place it with an element you wish to memorize.

    Where exactly do these go?

    These go with the particular features that you selected in the memory palace.

    To see this in practice, let’s go with a simplistic approach. After all, while we can use this palace technique to memorize a lot of information, it’s better to start small.

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    Say you’re memorizing a grocery list. For the sake of the argument, let’s say you chose your house as your palace.

    Need to pick up some apples? Visualize the apples sitting on your bed.

    How about ground beef? Visualize ground beef filling the bathtub.

    All of these things physically wouldn’t happen and can serve as mental cues. They give you pause and remind you to pick up those specific items as you walk through each room of your memory palace at the grocery store.

    5. Visit Your New Palace

    The last step is to spend some time in the palace. If this technique is new to you, going through it once may not be enough for you. That’s not to say you need to do this a lot, but doing quick rehearsals and repeating the journey a few times definitely helps.

    This technique demands a lot of visualization, and rehearsing in of itself is developing those skills, too. The better you are at visualizing, the more relaxed you’ll be, and the easier it’ll be to memorize things in the future.

    And if you want to upgrade your learning ability in addition to building a memory palace, I recommend you take a FREE Learning Fast Track Class offered by Lifehack. It’s a 20-minute intensive class called Spark Your Learning Genius, and will surely upgrade your learning skills right away. Find out more about it here.

    Final Thoughts

    The more we grow older, the more important it is for us to retain memories. If we do not exercise our minds, we risk exposing ourselves to more and more inconveniences.

    Like your body, make a habit of developing your mind. The memory palace could be just the thing you need to get started.

    More Tips on Enhancing Memory

    Featured photo credit: Kat Stokes via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Developing Human Brain: Method of Loci
    [2] Peak Performance Training: Dominic O’Brien
    [3] Guiness Record: Most Pi places memorised
    [4] American Psychological Association: A powerful way to improve learning and memory

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    Leon Ho

    Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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    Published on March 18, 2021

    7 Best Brain Supplements that Actually Work

    7 Best Brain Supplements that Actually Work

    As important as it is to look after our body, it’s also important for us to be looking after our own mental health. Doing daily exercises, eating plant-based or organic meals, amongst other activities are a good way of promoting our brain health. But for many other people, they feel that they can be getting more out of it.

    There is a tonne of top brain supplements available for you to look out for. With plenty of brain supplements available on the market, we wanted to pick out the ideal supplements for you to purchase. As such, the ones we recommend offer the following:

    • Nootropics – Every one of these supplements is a nootropic, meaning that they are drugs that have a track record of improving cognitive function.
    • Science-backed – One of the big problems with brain supplements is that there is no oversight. The best memory supplements, therefore, are the ones that have been researched and have studies to support the use of them.
    • Price vs. Value – All of these nootropics are able to work on various parts of the brain, offering plenty of value at a reasonable price. They’re one of the best memory supplements and can stave off age-related brain problems such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.

    Below is a list of the best brain supplements to improve your memory, sharpen your focus and grow your brain further.

    1. Blended Vitamin & Mineral

    When it comes to supplements, it’s hard to find a supplement that offers a blend of vitamins spread over many vitamins. This isn’t the case when you’re purchasing from the Infuel brand. Infuel Focus Boost offers a great blend of vitamins and essential nutrients that can help in whatever you hope to achieve.

    The vitamins, which include Vitamin A, B complex, C and D, that Infuel Focus Boost provides will allow you to stay focused and sharp throughout the day. You’ll also find that your energy levels, memory retention and overall clarity will be increased with this brain supplement.

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    2. Fish Oil

    Another one of the best memory supplements to consider is fish oil supplements. Fish oil supplements provide a rich source of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

    These types of omega-3 fatty acids have been tested thoroughly and have been linked to several types of health benefits. One such improvement is brain health.[1]

    Out of the various supplements available, Nature’s Bounty is an ideal pick. They are softgels which means your body will be able to absorb all the nutrients. The company also prioritizes purity so you can expect no filler or unnecessary ingredients in these pills. Paired with the fact they are trusted by wellness experts is enough to say this is a quality brand.

    3. Resveratrol

    Resveratrol is a type of antioxidant that occurs naturally in the skin of purple and red fruits such as grapes and other berries. You can also find this in red wine, chocolate and peanuts.

    Even though you could get resveratrol from those sources, health experts still recommend supplements to ensure you get higher doses of it. Studies show that taking resveratrol is able to prevent the deterioration of the hippocampus,[2] the part that is connected to our memory.

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    One brand that caught our attention for providing this supplement is Toniiq. The company takes pride in their 600mg capsules providing the highest quality of resveratrol you can find. Better yet, they are ethically sourced and cultivated using an extraction process that ensures a 98% purity. While it’s not 100%, it’s a big stretch as other brands that produce resveratrol tend to contain 50% or less purity.

    4. Phosphatidylserine

    Also known as phospholipid, it’s a type of fat that our own brain has right now. That said, because our brain will deteriorate with age, taking supplements of this type can actually help in preserving the health of our brain.[3] By preserving your brain, you’ll be able to keep up with typical brain functions as you would normally.

    Out of the various best memory supplements available, Double Wood’s phosphatidylserine was a notable one. It’s made in the USA and tested for purity. It’s non-GMO, soy-based, and the capsule is gelatin.

    5. Acetyl-L-Carnitine

    Acetyl-L-Carnitine is an amino acid that our body produces ourselves. But like many supplements on this list, boosting its production with a supplement has proven to be beneficial for us. In this case, this is one of the ideal focus supplements to go for as studies show taking these supplements to boost focus, improve memory and slow down age-related memory loss.[4]

    Out of the various top brain supplements available, our pick is the NaturaLife Labs supplements. They are GMO Free, and Vegan friendly. Beyond that, these supplements are highly potent at 1500mg. It’s also made 100% pure acetyl-l-carnitine so you shouldn’t expect fillers or binders when taking them.

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    6. Ginkgo Biloba

    You probably haven’t heard about Ginkgo Biloba much because it’s actually a herbal supplement that stems from the tree of the same name.

    Think of it as a supplement hidden in plain sight as it’s incredibly popular amongst people who look past the unique name and figure out what it does. Research shows, taking these supplements increases blood flow to the brain which in turn improves brain functions of the brain.[5]

    Nature’s Bounty offers these top brain supplements too and is a great brand to purchase from. Similar to what’s mentioned above with the previous supplements, these are pure and high-quality supplements.

    7. Creatine

    Creatine is the last on our list and is something that you might be familiar with. After all, it’s commonly found in protein powders, meats, fish, and eggs too. Creatine is also found in our own bodies and plays an important role in our energy levels and metabolism.

    That said, not every person is big on eating those kinds of foods. As such, supplements provide a good way to get the creatine your body needs. Not only does creatine help with energy levels, but also sharpen our brain – namely an improved memory and thinking skills.

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    You can look to protein powder for creatine, but you can also consider capsules as well. With capsules, you don’t have to think much about adding liquids. Optimum Nutrition’s Creatine capsules are a notable option as they provide 2.5 grams of pure creatine per serving. They’re also easy to swallow making it an ideal supplement to try out.

    Bottom Line

    When looking for brain-boosting supplements, you don’t have to look far. Paying attention to your diet can help you out in keeping up your brain functionality.

    However, adding one or two of these supplements into your daily supplement routine would help you in boosting your brain functionality, memory, and stave off the various age-related brain problems.

    Featured photo credit: Sharon McCutcheon via unsplash.com

    Reference

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