Build your own memory palace by remembering the forgotten

Meaningful mental spaces steer us into nourishing sharper memories. Don’t believe it? Try the Memory Palace technique.

Do you remember the memory game we played with friends at birthday parties, trying to put down all the items displayed for a few seconds, in a basket? Cut to the pandemic-weary, brain fog-pulverised mind in 2022. The occasional forgetfulness has given way to an annoying fumbling and bumbling with recollecting names, forgotten numbers, and misplaced faces—we’ve met at some point in our lives, wherever. Your memories are less accurate than you think. The Memory Palace (MP) technique wings into your rescue, thankfully. 

The most common type of memory palace is a location you are well conversant with, visually. Possibly your childhood home, current place of residence, your workspace, a friend’s house you frequented aplenty while growing up it could even be a fictitious location, or something conjured on the basis of your consumption—like laddering up The Faraway Tree in the Enid Blyton books or the baffling maze of alleys you love in your favourite screen game.

Whatever your pick, enjoy unfurling the location slowly in your mind as you begin to store mnemonic images while making your mental journey through it. Moving along, there are specific locations that you always visit in the same order. This forms the pivotal part of propping retention in your memory palace. The different locations in this journey that you associate objects or information with are called loci (Latin for locations), making this a Method of Loci.

Explains Dr Chandni Tugnait, psychotherapist, life coach, healer, Founder and Director, Gateway of Healing, “This is an ancient technique that utilises the space inside your brain to fill up with memories. When you designate a place to an object, it adds to the value. The same fundamental works with memory. When you place it in a particular location, it gets fixed. There exists a Memory Palace in your brain that you just need to fill with what you need to keep in your memories forever. This theory involves meaningfully placing information into mental spaces that already exist inside your brain.

When you associate something with a fond memory that already exists in your brain, it becomes easier to recall it. For example, if you wish to remember that you are to pick up some grocery items on the way back home, you can associate it with perhaps your mother making a special dish with them in the kitchen. Or, you have to call someone at a specific time, imagine yourself chilling and chatting with that person in the backyard over coffee.”

Shilpi Madan for Sunday Standard

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