If you’ve lost your keys, you’ll most likely be pacing up and down in a desperate attempt to remember where you put them.
Forget retracing your steps – barking like a dog is the secret to stop losing your items, a human behaviour expert has claimed.
Making the unusual sound when you first put them down will help you remember exactly where they are later on.
Jez Rose, an award-winning author and renowned speaker, has also recommended drinking a cup of tea if you misplace your keys to help you relax.
Making the unusual sound, which would get you strange looks from those around you, will help you remember exactly where it is later on
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 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.’
Despite the common myth, retracing your steps is ineffective unless you have been making mental ‘markers’ throughout the day, he added.
Mr Rose, working alongside My Nametags, also revealed women are more effective at finding things than men as their brains are better at multitasking.
WHAT TO DO WHEN SOMETHING HAS GONE MISSING
1. 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.
2. Blare out some Bach
Classical music is proven to have a positive effect on finding lost items due to its calming effect.
3. 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.
4. 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.
6. 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.
Jez Rose, an award-winning author and renowned speaker, has also recommended drinking a cup of tea if you misplace your keys to help you relax
What happens to the brain when we lose something?
Mr Rose advised drinking a cup of tea and sitting down when searching for a lost item because it will help adults to relax.
This will then allow them to keep control of the situation.
He said: ‘When we realise we’ve lost a treasured item our ability to think straight is immediately impaired.
‘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.’
He added that these hormones, along with the urge for the brain to search itself for answers, can create confusion and make it impossible to recall lost items.
Who is better at finding lost items?
Mr Rose also revealed that women tend to be better at finding lost items because they are ‘natural multitaskers’.
And he said children are ‘well suited’ to finding lost possessions because their ability to recall is often ‘significantly better’.
HOW TO AVOID LOSING THINGS
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.