A behaviour expert has suggested that barking when you put something down can stop you from forgetting where it is.
Have you ever put your keys somewhere that you thought was safe just to realise an hour later you can’t find them? Creating ‘mental tags’ might be the way forward.
Jez Rose is a leading human behavior expert and thinks that mental markers are the answer, he said: “By consciously carrying out a significant action when you put something down, you are creating a mental tag on that moment.
“Barking like a dog when you put down your car keys is an extreme example, but the more unusual the action, the more likely you are to remember that moment.”
The favourite retracing your steps is likely to be ineffective unless you have been making mental ‘markers’ throughout the day.
What should you do when you’ve lost something?
- Keep calm and snack
Snacking on your favourite food or sipping a cup of tea will help to relax you and put you in a calmer state of mind which will help you make connections quicker in your mind when recalling markers.
- Blare out some Bach
Classical music is proven to have a positive effect on finding lost items due to its calming effect.
- Be patient
Allowing your brain time to relax, and for the initial panic to pass, will allow you to look for your item in a more focused and reasoned way.
- Ask a woman or child to help
There are a number of different traits that make a person a good candidate to help you look for your lost possession. People who are particularly logical (for example, people who are very good at puzzles) are proven to be good at finding things. Women and primary school children’s brains are also more suited to finding lost items.
Meditating will help you to relax and think more clearly about where you left your item.
- Put pen to paper
Drawing and subliminal art therapy unlocks subconscious activity in the brain. Use a blank piece of paper and a pen and start drawing. Letting the pen flow can help to unlock the memory.
Best ways to voice losing things in the first place:
- Bark like a dog
Barking like a dog every time you put your item down will make you more consciously aware of the moment in which the item left your hands and help prevent you forgetting where you were when this happened.
- Pinch your arm
A simple physical action like pinching your arm when you put your keys down will help act as a mental marker, making you more cognitively aware of the action and therefore more likely to remember where you were when you misplaced your keys.
- Stick a label on it
Put a name label in your item and handwrite a number on it. When leaving the house, run through the numbers of the items you should have on you and you are less likely to lose them. Labelling your items will also help ensure they are returned if they do go missing.
- Compliment your possessions
Give the item a funny sounding name or pay it a compliment every time you put it down. For example, “I’ll let you sunbathe here by the window, Percy the Pen”. The bizarre behavior will help you consciously remember where you left it behind.
- Become a creature of habit
Put things in obvious places, not unusual places thinking that it’ll help you remember where they are. Placing items in the same place will form a habit and make it easier to find, using muscle memory. The human brain quickly establishes a pattern when we place things in the same place without having to think about it, which is why we always reach to the same cupboard for a mug when making a cup of tea, for example.
- Colour code
Our attention and behaviour can be affected by colour. Choose a colour you don’t like and attach something of that colour to the item before you put it away. You are much more likely to remember a colour you don’t often, than one that you like and is probably all around you.