Strengthen your memory, boost your mood? A specific memory strategy called the “method-of-loci” technique helps depressed people recall positive memories—something associated with easing depressive symptoms—better than other techniques, finds new research published in Clinical Psychological Science.
Here’s how the method works: Associate a good time (like a big win in your pickup b-ball game) with a completely random object (like a coffee shop on your way to work), and it’s easier for your brain to summon that memory. Every time you see the shop, you’ll retrace the good memory.
The technique simplifies the process of remembering things, says study author Tim Dalgleish, Ph.D., of the Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit. This is crucial since depression can reduce cognitive resources, making it harder to remember the good times, he says.
And as bizarre as it sounds, the more you connect the two—picture the shop selling basketballs, not coffee—the better you’ll be able to connect the memory to the place, says Dalgleish.
Strange enough for you? Sometimes it’s the silly things—like writing down your negative thoughts and throwing them away to beat a bad mood—that work. Not sold yet? Just smile—it could make you happier.
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