Building Your Memory Palace

I first became aware of the concept of keeping a memory palace during my first explorations into mentalism as a teenager. Since then, I’ve filed away a lot of memories and thoughts in a lot of rooms – and the same memory palace exists today, only on a considerably larger scale (and with a better filing system). 

Here’s how a memory palace can help you to achieve better recall.

First, What’s a Memory Palace? 

If you’ve never heard of a memory palace before, it describes a theoretical location – usually tied to a real one – that one walks through whenever you need to “jog your memory” about something, whether card playing concepts or a physical list of things to remember. 

Genetic History 

Genetic history has a lot to do with your likelihood of developing certain conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia. Whether you know of a potential family history or not, it’s worth having your genetics tested to find out what you might be at risk of. A simple genetic test can tell you you what changes to make in order to avoid your individual risk factors.

Starting Slowly

Memory palaces can be elaborate locations of the mind, but they don’t have to start out that way. When first constructing yours, start building it room-by-room and add objects that you can tie to certain memories or things that you need to remember. It helps if these objects are real, physical things that are familiar and/or already help to jog certain memories.

Choosing a Welcome Location 

Choose a location that you already know “like the back of your hand” as the expression goes. Many people choose a childhood home as the setting for their memory palace, while others choose a place they go to relax – or even their office building. 

It’s easier to recall small details (and the memories you tie to them) in places that you know by heart. 

Adding Familiar Objects

Adding familiar objects means finding physical things that you have ingrained in your everyday life or hardwired childhood memories to represent things you want to remember. The coffee mug you use every day is something you’ll be able to spot even in a line-up of a hundred different mugs: In a memory palace setup, familiar objects will help recall.

Feeling Sensational

Memory is a sensational experience.

Smells, sounds and textures go together. When your brain recalls a particularly vivid memory, it tends to recall it using all of these senses.

Viewing memory as a full sensory experience can help to boost the ability to recall. When trying to tie memories to something in the memory palace, try to remember other senses t

Does a good card have a different lingering smell? If it does, you’ll surely remember it easier. 

The Soundtrack of Your Mind

If classical music tapes aimed at babies taught us anything, it should be that music and memory remain intrinsically linked. A memory palace can be greatly aided by the use of music in the background: Where you want to remember something specific, tie it to a piece of music and recall the music when trying to remember the memory. Often, this association allows for faster, easier and more accurate recalling of information. 

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