Keep losing things? Barking like a dog could help

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    Keep losing things? Barking like a dog could help
    (Picture: Mmuffin/ Metro)

    We all know the frustration of losing something.

    But did you know that instead of frantically turning your room apart, there could be a simpler solution?

    Don’t bother trying to retrace your steps – the key could lie in barking like a dog.

    Yep, really.

    Barking like a dog when you put something down that you need, such as your car keys or glasses, can dramatically reduce the likelihood of that thing getting lost, according to new research published by My Nametags, alongside human behaviour expert Jez Rose.

    If you’ve found yourself asking why it has to be so extreme, Jez says ‘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 truth is, we all know where our lost items are, we just don’t know how to access the information in our brains, and this is a skill that can be taught.

    ‘Simple memory training techniques can work wonders for improving your memory and help you to find lost items quicker, or even better, stop you losing things in the first place.

    But if you’re too embarrassed to bark (and who could blame you?), having a cup of tea or listening to classical music when looking for lost items could help you to find them thanks a calming effect.

    How to avoid losing things

    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.

    Why is it that we panic when we’ve lost a treasured item?

    Jez says: ‘Our emotional attachment to that item means we’re unable to deal with the situation rationally, we get swept up by the emotion of losing it.

    ‘We are often inclined to panic and adrenaline and cortisol, the stress hormone, are produced.

    ‘These hormones, along with the urge for the brain to search itself for answers, can create a confusing sensory and information overload, making it impossible to recall where we put our item.’

    Oh, and children should be roped in if you’ve lost something.

    That’s because their ability to recall is often ‘significantly better than their adult counterparts. Optimum cerebral development, including the capability to remember information, lasts from around 5-9 years old and starts to drop significantly the older we get.’

    MyNametags and Jez also have practical advice on what to do when something has already gone missing to help find it quicker.

    Here’s hoping you’ll never lose anything again.

    What to do when something has gone missing

    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.

    Meditate

    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.

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