The Mind Palace is one of the most effective and powerful memorizing techniques that are used globally.
On top of that, Mind Palace is simple and fun to use. This technique can be successfully employed for dozens of small and big challenges, from preparing for an exam or presentation to learning a foreign language or memorizing a big chunk of information.
Find out what Mind Palace actually is and how to use it to achieve your goals.
What Is Mind Palace?
The basic principle of the Mind Palace technique is that the places you know very well can help you remember large portions of information. The Mind Palace is a collective name, but it can be any location you are familiar with. Many people use the image of a particular room in their home or even the route to their work they have been taking for the past few years.
Even if you’ve never tried the Mind Palace approach before, you have likely heard about it. For example, Dominic O’Brien, one of the world’s most famous mnemonists and memory contest champions, attributes much of his success to the Mind Palace technique.
Similarly, Hannibal Lecter, the Thomas Harris character, employs the same technique to memorize the records of his patients that span years and even decades back.
5 Tips for Using the Mind Palace Approach
Choose your location
The most important aspect of the place you want to choose for implementing the Mind Palace technique is that you need to know it exceptionally well. Only when you are able to mentally walk around that place and remember everything to the smallest detail, the Mind palace system will work.
The safest bet here is your own home, but if you are confident that you will vividly remember another location — for example, your grandmother’s house or your office — you can try using it for the Mind palace technique.
One of the best ways to make the Mind Palace approach even more effective is to imagine a route around your chosen location instead of a static scene. Mentally walking around the place will help you imagine a specific order of things, which increases the efficiency of the Mind palace technique.
Some of the best options for Mind Palace locations besides your current home include:
- Visualize the route you will take from your desk to the cafeteria, water cooler, or bathroom.
- A familiar route in the city. Imagine your route to your workplace, a coffee shop, or a local pharmacy, as long as it is the journey you take fairly regularly.
- If you currently go to school or have not graduated that long ago, you can use the walk to school or the walk inside the school building for the Mind Palace exercises.
- Imagine the walk to the nearest park or your frequent hiking route.
Pick the main features
The whole Mind Palace technique is centered around particular features you remember very well. After you have settled on the location for your practice, it is time to select the most noticeable features of the location.
As an example, let’s take the walkthrough in your office. The first major feature you will remember is likely the front door. Then you need to mentally enter the office and look around. You can look around the room from left to right, clockwise, or use your own technique.
What is the next thing you notice? Is it a cactus on your desk or a picture on the wall? Continue mentally walking around the room until you have taken notice of every noteworthy item. These items will later be used as slots for storing the information.
Imprint the place in your memory
The next important step in the Mind Palace system is to make sure the place you have chosen is 100% imprinted in your memory. People who are visual learners usually do not have any trouble with that step. If you are finding it hard to imprint the place in your memory, you can try the following:
- Name the features out loud when you are imagining a walk through the place;
- Write down the features as you imagine them and name them out loud;
- Always use the same position for looking at the features;
- Work on your visualization skills to make the imprinting process easier and more effective;
- Repeat every step as many times as it takes for you to be 100% confident you remember every feature to the smallest detail.
Once you can remember the location and name every feature without mistakes, you finally have your own Mind Palace. You can use it immediately, but it will also work great in your long-term memorizing plans.
Now that you can proudly say you are the owner of a Mind Palace, it is time to put your newfound skills to good use. The first thing you want to do is build the visual associations between the features and the information you want to memorize.
To do this, you will need memory pegs — the items you are using as features. Each memory peg needs to be associated with a separate item on the list of things you want to remember.
They key here is to build associations that are far from boring or banal. You will have a much harder time remembering boring associations and they likely will not stick around in your memory for a long time.
Instead, you should use associations that are unusual or even ridiculous; something that could never happen in real life. Creating these vivid images in your mind will build strong ties between the memory pegs and the things you want to memorize. Mentally associating images with items for memorizing can be used even for something as mundane as a grocery list!
Visit the Mind Palace
If you have done everything correctly in the first four steps, the memorizing process is completed. Now you can enter the Mind Palace anytime you want and the memorized things will be there for you. If you are not feeling 100% confident you remember everything, you can practice your walk several times more.
Walk into the Mind Palace, go from the beginning to the end of the route, remembering every single detail. You can make your memories even stronger by walking backward, paying attention to every feature you encounter.
While you are working on your Mind Palace technique, you can take some time to improve your visualization skills that will make the Mind palace system even more effective.
The Mind Palace technique has everything it takes to become even more popular than it is nowadays. It is undoubtedly effective, easy to use, and can be quite fun to learn.
It is the ideal memorizing technique for a variety of daily tasks, so if you often need to remember large portions of information, mastering the Mind Palace technique is one of the best things you can do!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Juan Koss is a school teacher with 23 years’ experience, Ph.D. and a writer at DoMyWriting. Writing articles has become his hobby. Most of his articles are related to education and parenting ideas.