More than 2000 years ago, the ancient Greek poet Simonides of Ceos developed a strategy for improving memory, known as building a "memory palace."
Today, his technique remains a favorite among those who compete at the World Memory Championships, and according to a recent study published in the journal Neuron, it can benefit just about anyone. In fact, just a few weeks of daily 30-minute training sessions can have a dramatic, lasting affect on your memory.
"Not only can you induce a behavioral change, the training also induces similar brain connectivity patterns as those seen in memory athletes," says author Martin Dresler, assistant professor of cognitive neuroscience at Radboud University Medical Center, in a statement.
The goal of a training session is to memorize a list of words. The strategy is to walk around a familiar place like your kitchen or bedroom and imagine placing vivid objects that represent the words in specific spots. Mnemonic hints help, and the more bizarre, the better. If you have to remember the word "sun," for example, you could imagine a little sun over the heater. To remember "football" you could mentally place Eagles quarterback Nick Foles by your shoe rack.
Later on, you retrieve the list of words by mentally retracing these steps. The result, over time practicing this technique, is a stronger memory overall.