15 Brain Exercises & Memory Exercises For Rapid Remembering

Image of a brain filled with games and activities for the brain exercises episode of the magnetic memory method podcast

Lots of people do brain exercises and memory exercises, often in the form of brain games. 

You’ve probably even tried a few, right?

That’s all fine and dandy, but there’s a catch:

Playing mental exercise games on your “smartphone” is not necessarily brain exercise!

It might not even be mentally stimulating.

Not by a long shot. Even if it feels that way on the surface.

Worse, it can be harming your focus and concentration, instead of healing it. You might think that practicing remembering objects are hidden in a game, but often it’s actually harming your memory. And I can prove it.

But don’t worry.

I’m about to reveal some memory exercises and brain exercises that actually work.

That’s because the mental fitness routines you’ll discover on this page really do exercise your brain. I’ll show you how to put them into action and also help you understand why they boost brain health.

Why should you listen to me? As the author of the bestselling book, The Victorious Mind, I’ve been researching memory and brain exercise for over a decade. This work is an extension of my PhD research, which involved looking at the role of language learning in developing the mind.

To help you navigate this post, here’s a preview of what you’re about to discover:

  • Brain Exercise and Memory Exercise? – What Makes Them Good?
  • The 15 Best Brain Exercises For Memory Improvement
  • What Is The Best Brain Activity For You?
  • How To Stimulate Your Brain To Be Smarter and Faster
  • How To Improve Concentration And Focus

Brain Exercise And Memory Exercise? – What Makes A Mental Fitness Routine Good?

Let’s face it:

Smartphone-based brain games don’t exercise your brain at all. If anything, they yank your brain’s dopamine around.

Any exercise you get is quickly wasted on the ads you’ll be shown and tracking graphs that no robot can accurately help you understand.

Instead of helping you, brain game apps train you to get good at completing tasks within the world of those apps. This is called context dependent memory. Daniel Simons and his research team have found that there is no meaningful evidence supporting that any skills you gain from within an app environment transfer to other skills in life.

In other words, although you might remember where objects are located in a brain training app, there is no evidence showing it will help you better remember where you left your keys.

To give you a quick example of context dependence from the world of language learning, I used to go to a lot of polyglot conventions. I met many people who could win all the shiny coins and medals in language learning apps.

But actually speak the language? They could not. Their skills were “context dependent” on using the app.

So any mental fitness you enjoy from using any software rarely applies to the aspects of your life where you need to be sharp, such as during conversations or on the job.

The Real Definition of Brain Exercise & Memory Exercise

Context dependence means that if you want better focus and clarity, you need to be doing real brain exercises. You need to completing memory exercises that give your memory a real world workout. To do that, any routine you select needs to follow these four rules:

  • It always involves new learning
  • It is always reasonably complex (and sometimes unreasonably complex)
  • It is always varied and interesting
  • It is always engaged in frequently

Without following these rules, it is unlikely any exercise in an app will improve your memory.

But I promise you the brain exercises and memory exercises below will stimulate and grow both your  short-term memory and long-term memory. In case you’re wondering where I’ve drawn my own research from, here’s just a sampling of the research papers I’ve studied to discover what really works to improve your mind and memory. I’ll link other resources as we go through each of the recommended exercises below.


Let’s get started!

How to Exercise Your Brain: The 15 Best Brain Exercises For Memory Improvement

As we go through this list of brain exercises, there’s no special order of important. I recommend that you try them all.

In fact, by interleaving them, you’ll get even more benefits.

1. The 4-Details Observation Exercise

Memory expert Dr. Gary Small talks about memorizing four details of people you encounter out in public.

For example, let’s say someone is wearing a black hat, has blonde hair, a triangular ring, and a green sweater.

Illustration of the 4 Details Brain Exercise
Illustration of the 4 Details Exercise

The goal is to observe the details first and then recall them later.

No need for ancient memory techniques or anything like that. You just naturally encourage your brain to recall the details you selected earlier in the day.

Some scientists call memory exercises like the 4-details exercise “passive memory training.”

It’s passive because you’re not using any special memory techniques. You’re just asking your mind to do what it was designed to do: to remember.

Why does this matter?

It matters because we don’t ask our minds to practice observation enough.

Because we don’t practice observation, we fail to observe and receive the memory exercise benefits we get from simply asking our brains to recall information.

We also fail to observe things that we aren’t seeing – making it impossible to make mental pictures of them. I teach you all about how to do that with these 3 simple visualization exercises

If you’d like to be a better observer of the world around you, noting and visualizing details will help far better than brain training software like Cogmed

It’s also scalable. You can start by observing just one person per day. Once you’ve gotten good at recalling four details of just one person, you can add more information or more people (or both).

You can scale this memory exercise even further by memorizing the details using a Memory Palace.

If you like, you can also notice details about buildings, cars, movies or series and foods that improve memory to boost your cognitive abilities.

But focusing on real people is the more potent memory exercise. Being observant of others around you is a great social skill.

2. A Number Exercise That Will Skyrocket Your Concentration 

I can’t emphasize the following point enough:

Numeracy is more than just a powerful skill to boost your cognitive abilities. It’s something I work on to boost logical thinking – both with and without memory techniques in play. And scientists have shown that lacking math skills limits the development of your brain. 

“Add 3 Minus 7” is a simply way to get started developing your calculation skills while you develop your mental muscles. It’s a fun numerical memory exercise you can try today. To get started, all you do is pick any 3-digit number. Then, add 3 to that digit 3 times. Then minus 7 from the new number 7 times.

Image of a calculator with brains in the display to illustrate the Plus 3 Minus 7 Exercise

Repeat the process at least 5 times and pick a new 3-digit number the next time. You can also take a different route and start with a 4-digit number and use other numbers to challenge your working memory further.

For example, you could start with 1278 and add 12, 12 times and minus 11, 11 times.

It’s up to you and the amount of numbers to dictate the level of challenge. Remember, this brain exercise strengthens your working memory because of the amount of detail you need to hold in mind to complete it.

3. Number Skipping

In a book called Happiness Beyond Thought, Dr. Gary Weber shares a powerful means of experiencing your conscious mind directly.

It sounds deceptively simple, but it’s actually quite a challenge.

To complete the exercise, you count from one to ten.

But instead of visualizing each number, you skip the even numbers on the way up.

By “skip,” you don’t count 1, 3, 5, etc.

You actually pause on where the even digits should be. But you actively try to not represent them.

There are a few variations on this technique, so if you want more nuance, give this tutorial a view:


Important Tip: Don’t make the memory exercise so easy that you get bored with it. We all need challenge from our brain exercises in order to grow.

You can also skip using the alphabet by exploring a Renaissance brain exercise called The Field. We’ll discuss it next.

4. The Field: A Renaissance Era Brain Exercise

We think of brain exercise as a 20th century need due to issues like digital amnesia.

But this is not the case. Aristotle knew his students needed his certain exercises, which is why he talked about mentally manipulating the alphabet. I shared his suggestions for doing this in “Aristotle’s Nuclear Alphabet.”

Over one thousand years later, Giordano Bruno expanded on Aristotle’s exercise and created an exercise called The Field:

It can be a bit difficult to understand, which is why I created the video above.

Basically, you create one row of letters in your mind, from A-Z. Then you navigate them forward and backwards.

Later, just as you did with number-skipping, you manipulate the alphabet by traveling the row by the odd-letters first, and then back along the even numbers.

Finally, you expand the field in multiple directions. If you want an additional level of challenge, you can apply the ideas to Hugh of St. Victor’s “Noah’s Ark” Memory Palace concept.

5. Repeat What People Say In Your Mind 

We all know in our hearts that no one is really listening when we speak. And that’s sad.

But here’s the good news:

You don’t have to be another person who is just nodding your head like a puppet while actually thinking about something else.

You can train your brain to focus on what people are telling you and remember everything they say.

It all begins by creating presence in the moment in an easy way:

Follow the words being spoken to you by repeating them in your mind.

For example, imagine that someone is saying the following to you:

“Tomorrow I want to go to a movie called Memory Maverick. It’s about a guy who cannot forget. He’s hired by a group known only as ‘The Agency’ to infiltrate a competitor. But once the hero learns the secrets, he doesn’t want to hand them over. But since he can’t forget, The Agency starts making his life miserable.”

All you would need to do to complete this brain exercise is repeat everything the person is saying silently in your mind. You’ll automatically boost your cognitive function and remember more by doing this.

It works because simply asking your memory to recall information exercises it. The more challenging the information, the more exercise your brain will get.

6. Visualization Exercise Secrets Of A Memory Maverick

To remember even more, you can practise creating pictures in your head.

But go beyond the visual. Also add in multisensory elements.

For example, using the sample conversation above, you might see an image of Mel Gibson as he looked in the movie Maverick trying to remember something. Imagine that you are trying to feel what this is like as if you were Mel Gibson yourself.

Or you might get a picture in your mind of an agency building and scenes of evil men in suits torturing the hero. Feel their clothes on your skin. Smell the air through their nostrils. Hear the world through their ears.

For more cognitive exercises on remembering what people are saying with visualization practice, check out this interview with Jim Samuels on the Magnetic Memory Method Podcast. He has some great ideas, and the benefits include:

  • Being more present.
  • Remembering more of what was said.
  • Showing people that you’re interested in them and their lives.
  • Easing conflicts when they arise because you remember the issues in greater detail.

As people speak, they “translate” their ideas into pictures, feelings, related concepts and even tastes and smells.

Take this training seriously:

You’ll feel better about your connection to people because you’re really with them. 

7. The Metronome-Clapping Exercise

Back in grad school, I had a great professor named Matthew Clark. For some reason, he told our class in Classical Literature about a great concentration exercise that I’ve practiced ever since.

It’s simple: You put on a metronome at a slow speed and then practice “covering the click.”

Such neurobic exercises can help us focus on things that our brains have been automated to perform. The increased focus that neurobic exercises develop helps you zero-in on your surroundings to boost your memory skills.

If you’d like a practical example of the metronome exercise on video, please check this out:

To be clear:

I don’t think this memory exercise helps memory in any direct way.

But it is excellent for improving concentration and presence.

Here’s why these mental states matter:

Both concentration and presence are cognitive skills we all need. The more concentration and presence we have, the more we can remember by default.

The better you get at this mind exercise, the longer the amount of time between clicks you should place. Accurately covering the metronome with a minute between clicks would be impressive!

8. Build & Use Your First Memory Palace

The ultimate brain exercise to boost overall cognitive function is also the easiest. It involves nothing more than a simple drawing that follows some simple principles.

What’s a Memory Palace?

It’s a mental recreation of a familiar location. You use it to chart out a simple journey that you can follow with your mind.

Then, using associations, you “place” mental images along this journey that help you remember things.

Why is creating a Memory Palace such a powerful memory exercise?

First, complete my FREE memory improvement course and find out for yourself:

Free Memory Improvement Course

Second, creating a Memory Palace draws upon your spatial and visual memory.

It’s also a great recovered memory and autobiographical memory exercise.

As far as mind exercises go, the Memory Palace training exercise works kind of in reverse.


Because you’re accessing visual memory cues that are usually blueprinted in your mind outside of your awareness.

Think about it:

You’ve rarely gone into a new home or store with the conscious intent of memorizing its features.

Yet, if you think back to the last home of a friend you visited, here’s a fact:

Most people can recall an insane amount of detail with visual memory. Creating a Memory Palace lets you exercise that inborn ability.

You can even use it for memory and learning stunts like memorizing all the Prime Ministers of Canada.

Second, creating a Memory Palace is creating a tool that you can use for life. Once you have one and you’ve mastered using it, you can create dozens more.

And if you can do that, you can do great things with your memory, like how Matteo Ricci learned Chinese in record time. You can also easily remember names at events and accomplish any memory-associated goal.

And what goal doesn’t involve memory?

9. Learn a Foreign Language

You’ve probably heard that bilingualism is good for the brain, right? 

It is, and one of the reasons why is that you are continually asking your brain to recall information. 

Take advantage of your brain’s neuroplasticity and learn a new skill at any age to keep it active and ticking!

This is a great brain exercise for people of any age because it keeps you talking with people.

Image of a frustrated language learner

Regular conversation also helps stimulate the production of healthy chemicals for better mental health. Ideally, you would have conversations about books you’ve read. That way you dig into memory at multiple levels, especially verbal memory.

But if you don’t like to talk, you can also sing. Or do both. For a double-whammy of health and brain benefits, singing has been shown by researchers like Gunter Kreutz to increase cortisol and other chemicals involved in healing.

For this reason, singing in a foreign language you’re learning can increase the impact and effectiveness of this brain exercise.

However, that isn’t all – you get more health benefits. 

Researchers conducted a study that found that learning a second language can delay the onset of cognitive impairment like dementia in Alzheimer’s disease by around 4-5 years!

The best part?

Learning anything new is good for your brain!

Whether it’s learning to play a new musical instrument or working with your non-dominant hand, new neural pathways will form – helping you boost your brain power.

10. Mind Mapping For Maximum Brain Health

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Tony Buzan’s approach to mind mapping.

And that’s because I used to mind map in ways that weren’t effective at all.

But after training with Tony and world mind mapping champion Phil Chambers, I discovered a new route and I’m way better at the practice and share it in real-time on my YouTube live streams:

Anthony Metivier with a Much Improved Tony Buzan Style Mind Map

What is mind mapping?

It’s a graphic means of brainstorming and planning. You can even use it for note taking and review.

The question is…

Why is mind mapping great for boosting cognitive function?

One reason Tony Buzan hints at is very compelling. The process reproduces the role of nerve cells on the paper.

Think it through:

Just as a brain cell has a central nucleus with synapses that flow outward like a river, the mind map has a central idea that feeds several streams with mental power. By creating mindmaps, you’re making it easier on your brain – thereby increasing its processing speed. Just like more water increases the flow of a stream.


Give these 10 mind mapping rules a try whenever you want a cognitive training workout.

11. The Memory Exercise Of Sports And Fitness

I love physical activity like aerobic exercise.

And not just to workout my muscles and boost my heart rate.

Physical activity is a great place for including a mental workout. And you don’t have to take my word for it. Dr. John Ratey is widely considered one of the most authoritative experts on making sure you include exercise as part of how you develop your brain and memory. He’s also shown how exercise helps us reduce anxiety.

I had his working in mind when I finally started getting serious about physical exercise in order to help me tackle brain fog. In fact, this is me at the gym, where I often combine physical fitness and memory exercise by using a PAO System to memorize my heart rate during certain routines, like deadlifting.

Image of Anthony Metivier performing deadlifts
Deadlifting helps improve my focused attention and memory. Do you go to the gym?

If you don’t yet have a robust memory system like the PAO, you can memorize the number of sets and reps you complete using the Major System. That’s where I started.

You can also rehearse the content in your Memory Palaces during and after your workout. I often recite memorized Sanskrit or perform number skipping while actually skipping at the gym.

It’s challenging, but bringing together physical exercise with memory is exercise works to exercise both your memory and your brain because of the challenges they propose.

12. Memory-Based Meditation

Did you know that you can clear out old memories that you’d rather not have?

You can even help reduce symptoms of PTSD and depression.

These outcomes are produced by creating a “Happy Memory Palace.”

I started doing this after reading Tim Dalgleish’s research on using the method of loci to help heal the mind.

For this exercise, you’ll need a Memory Palace and 5-10 happy memories. Then, along the journey, you’ll place each memory in a strategic location.

In my Happy Memory Palace, I used a small office I had when I was a graduate student. On the first corner, I placed a memory of when I graduated with my PhD.


Then, when I feel down, I revisit this Memory Palace and start feeling better quickly. The trick is to keep creating these Memory Palaces. When something good happens to you, the brain exercise is to transport it into a Memory Palace and revisit it often so that the memory sticks.

I also meditation as a good in itself. As the researcher Richard Davidson has shown, meditation is a key method for flourishing in life. I’ve seen greater flourishing happen for many of my students along with a reduction in anxiety. For example, Daniella Lopez wrote one of many testimonials for my teaching to say:

Another benefit I see from this course, and maybe this is a bit outside of your direct realm as a memory teacher, is that it has helped me direct my anxiety better. I am usually a bit of an anxious person – not always suffering, but just someone with a very chatty mind, I’m always thinking, and being able to direct this energy in a productive way is very appealing to me.

You can experience similar results too.

13. The Painting

Getting out to art galleries is a great way to improve your memory. In fact, there are 17 ways gallery visits boost recall and overall brain fitness.

Once you get home, exercise your memory by recreating one of the paintings you remember in your mind. I’ll walk you through this bonus brain exercise here:

Not only will you get a great memory workout. Visiting an art galley gives you physical exercise too.

14. Learn Something New

As I age, I keep stacking on new things to learn. Sometimes they are simple things, like the cognitive needs pyramid.

Other times, I take on much more complex tasks. Like memorizing the key signatures.

Long term exercises like these keep the brain fit. But sadly, many people don’t see long term learning project for the true mental fitness routines that they are.

Don’t go for quick fixes. Think long term and enjoy the benefits of stacking together a number of learning projects.

15. Neurobics

I used the term “neurobics” above. Let’s look at them in a bit more detail.

They are routines like brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand, unlocking doors with your eyes closed and even pinching your ears while squatting.

This full video gives you more ideas too:

As with all forms of brain exercise, it’s important to be consistent to see results. Plan to practice a stack of routines for 90-days at least.

What Are the Best Brain Exercises for Memory?

At the end of the day, memory exercises are best when they’re linked to the daily problem-solving skills you need to enjoy a better life..

We all know that forgetting important details can turn our lives upside down. But being able to memorize information quickly and hold on to it relieves stress and helps boost over all health.

What matters above all is that the best memory exercises are the ones that you actually use. If sudoku is what works, then go for it. If it’s brain teasers – then that’s fine too. Consistency is the key.

Remember, you cannot get the benefits from them without consistent application.

How to Stimulate Your Brain To Be Smarter & Faster
With A Powerful Memory Loss Exercise

One last tip:

Document your journey.

Personally, I like to use a Snapshot Journal.

These are wonderful tools because you can keep them on your desk and see them every day. They remind you of your goals for you.

Original image of a 5 year snapshot journal
The Snapshot Journal I’m using

You just fill them out with what you’ve accomplished during the day. Over a five year period, each day gives you a reminder of how far you’ve come. You can see your progress for up to five years at a glance.

I haven’t missed a day and am in my fourth year now of the current Snapshot journal. It’s wonderfully fulfilling to see all of the many accomplishments build up over time.

And this form of self-help journaling is like a variation on the passive memory training we talked about above.

Summary Of The Most Potent Brain Exercises

  1. The 4-details mental workout is excellent for “passive memory training.” 
  2. Number exercises result in better working memory, an increased attention span and greater numerical memory skills.
  3. Repeat and Recall exercises also increase your concentration and ability to pay attention to others for longer periods of time. You’ll also remember more.
  4. Create images, associations and other related sensations as you listen to people speak. This will create intense brain fitness to reduce the chances of memory impairment.
  5. The Metronome exercise. This simple device can be found at any music store or downloaded as an app. “Covering the click” has many mental benefits and provides a fun challenge as a solo effort or group activity. You can perform such neurobic exercises several times a day.
  6. Create and use Memory Palaces. Both of these activities create a lot of mental exercise.
  7. Learn a language consistently over time. It might not feel like brain workout, but it is and the benefits of being bilingual provide ongoing mental benefits. These include helping with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and cognitive decline associated with brain age.
  8. Mind Map. There are many interesting rules you can follow to maximize the process. Following them is part of what creates the mental benefits of this creative brain game.
  9. Use memory techniques while getting physical fitness. Using your body and mind at the same time maximizes your time and is a win-win for total psychological and physical optimization. Don’t forget to sleep enough, though!
  10. Brain exercises must follow the four rules outlined above in order to qualify.

What are your thoughts about the brain exercise principles discussed in this post? Are these amazing, or what? 

Do you think these are activities you will bring into your life? Did you develop better memory? Is there anything I’m missing?

Let me know in the discussion area below and I’ll gladly respond and update this post.

49 Responses

    1. Thanks for this, Robert.

      That is absolutely true and an interesting comment to come in while I was watching a Kung Fu movie following my first Thai Chi class.

      Thanks again. I look forward to your next discussion post here on the site! 🙂

  1. I’m intrigued by these suggestions, but I have a question about exercise number 4 — i.e., the memory-clapping exercise. What do you mean by “covering the click”? Based on the description, I have no idea what this exercise really consists in, much less how to do it. Please explain.

    1. Thanks for this question, Aaron.

      “Covering the click” basically means clapping at the exact same time in such a way that you don’t actually ear it. You’ve “covered” it with the accurate sound of your clapping hands. An odd brain exercise but one with an amazing feeling of accomplishment and will improve your concentration. It’s very meditative too.

      You can take to musical pieces as well. For example, if there’s a particular part of a song with a particular cymbal crash, you can work on listening up that point with the intention of covering it. For experienced musicians, this won’t be that difficult to do, but still a challenge. And very healthy to do. Just sitting and listening to music while deliberately observing it is an amazing brain exercise all around.

      Hope this helps and thanks for checking this post out. I look forward to your next comment here on the Magnetic Memory Method site! 🙂

      1. That was my question as well, all cleared up now. I can feel the potential benefits of the exercises immediately – though I just started reading your Memory Kit. 😉 I’m gonna try and apply these in daily life. Thanks, Dr. Metivier! That’s a lot of clear, constructive and quality information put out to the world !

        Do you know about any positive effects of active composing/playing music for cognitive improvement?



        1. Glad you’ve feeling the effects in advance, Matthew!

          About music and cognitive improvement and development, as often happens, a lot of the science is interesting but not entirely conclusive. We need to be really clear, for example, what exactly we mean by “cognitive improvement.”

          That’s said, it’s inarguable that learning music is a great brain exercise that helps, especially if you throw music mnemonics into the mix. I’ll be talking about that more in future episodes of the podcast, so please stay tuned.

          In the meantime, thanks for taking the time to comment. I look forward to your next post here on the Magnetic Memory Method website! 🙂

  2. Great (and fun!) exercises Anthony. I am doing the observation exercise for people and things, and I have another one I have been doing for a bit now.

    Whenever I see an automobile I try to memorize the license plate with a mixture of NATO phonetic alphabet (A = Alpha; B = Bravo, C = Charlie, etc.) and the Major Memory method. So if the plate is ABC 123 it becomes Alpha Bravo Charlie DyNaMo!). I also try to remember details like make, colour and model and state or province, etc. I try to do so as quickly as I can and then repeat as often as I can.

    Also, I like to memorize how much my meal at a café costs using the Major Method or codes of food items for the grocer. I can also associate the number to historical dates for example, 1789, French Revolution, French toast and eggs, coffee, bacon, etc.)

    It’s very fun and quite useful.

    Well Anthony, thanks again for your DyNaMo! tips.

    Kind regards

    1. That’s a very cool game with combining NATO with the Major Method, Alex.

      Remembering the cost of menu items is also a great idea for getting in some exercise. For people into math exercises in countries where tax is added later, it’s a great opportunity to practice calculation as well.

      Thanks for adding these great additions to this post and episode of the Magnetic Memory Method Podcast – much appreciated! 🙂

    2. I do something similar with the license plate but I use the Person-Action-Object memory technique for the numbers. For the letter, I’ve assigned superhero or cartoon characters for the alphabet. I use superhero & cartoon characters since they are colorful and full of action.

      Good tip about the remembering the description of the car. I hadn’t thought about trying that. I think that belongs in the ‘remembering a conversation’ & ‘four detail’ exercise..

      1. Excellent idea for the characters Ken.

        In fact, some of the Renaissance scholars would use images of Saints (their idea of superheroes I guess) to help with remembering texts and alphabetic characters.

        For example, if the word to remember is “ET” the suggestion was to have Eusebius talking to Thomas (Aquinas I guess if it has to do with Theology; or the Apostle if it has to do with Gospel?) If the word is “TE” they put Thomas talking to Eusebius. I hope they made them animated and strange, or after a while it might have gotten a little stale. 😉

        Another idea I like to use is Image letters; for example, the letter B could be symbolized a slice of toasted Bread & Butter, etc. As long as in image is dynamic, strange or offputting it tends to be memorable.

        Kind regards

        1. Having two characters per letter of the alphabet is a very useful idea, Alex. For a lot of my cards I have dual figures and find it helpful all the time because sometimes one option just isn’t enough.

          Plus, if you have two characters, it’s so much easier to see what they’re doing because it’s in motion. Fabulous thinking from the ancients yet again!

          Images for the letters is great too and that has so far been my go-to for memorizing spellings in a Latinate alphabet. I might follow up on Ken’s suggestion, however. I’ve never learned the NATO phonetic alphabet because it seemed too abstract.

          Another “system” I have to the alphabet is a simple story that combines the concrete with the abstract. I won’t repeat it here because it’s in the back of most of my books and one of the video courses. This story has also changed over the years, but one thing for certain about it is that I’ve seen rooms of people use the basics of it to memorize the entire alphabet backwards in just a few minutes flat.

          That’s not the most useful skill in the universe to have, mind you, but it does demonstrate how quickly and easily mnemonics can be used to revolutionize your mind. And when people get just a simple taste like that, they often become fans for life.

          Thanks to you both for the excellent conversation. I can’t wait for your next posts! 🙂

  3. Hey Anthony,
    I am moving to a new flat and it seems that my practice with real Memory Palaces helped me a lot with arranging, buying, discussing and so on all the necessary tasks.

    I have quite clear picture of it and I only have seen it two times yet. This is a huge improvement for me!

    It would be nice to have simple web app for the add/minus game.

    bis dann

    1. That’s so great to hear, Bjoern! It’s amazing how much better we can recall locations if we just pay attention to them in particular way. Did you sketch it out or just review it in your mind?

      Please say more about the web app you’re imagining. In principle, the point of brain exercises like these is to do them in your mind without external assistance. But perhaps if I know more about what you’re thinking, I can find someone to help create it. Look forward to hearing more! 🙂

      1. Of course I needed the layout for my furniture and so I did some measurements. But I had the layout in my mind (from my first visit). I’ll send you an E-mail with my ideas.

  4. I have been using your memory palace technique to memorize a few of the Psalms, now with that success I would like to try for all 150. What suggestions do you have to associate meta data (such as the number and a brief idea or picture like a shepard) with each one. And is there a method that you would suggest to be able to go different ones in any order other than sequential numbers?

    I really appreciate your postings.

    Now lets see if an old man can achieve his goal (well maybe not the really, really long one.)

    1. Thanks so much for taking a moment to comment, Frank. It’s much appreciated! 🙂

      Adding data such as verse numbers is easy with the Major Method.

      I’m not sure what you mean by going through the Psalms in any order, however. Do you mean through any line in an individual Psalm in any order, or through any of the entire Psalms in any order?

      In the first case, if you’ve carefully memorized one line per station, you should be able to navigate them on a line by line basis without needing to start at the beginning. I can do this with most poetry I’ve memorized.

      For entire poems, if they’re carefully organized one poem per Memory Palaces, this should also be a breeze.

      I hope his helps and look forward to your next post here on the Magnetic Memory Method site. 🙂

  5. Thank you very much, Anthony, for keep delivering high-quality information. I really appreciate it. You are helping me a lot and I will not hesitate to recommend you to other people if they wish to improve their memory.

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words and for helping this mission by spreading the word. That is much appreciated and I look forward to serving you further for many years to come through this blog, the podcast and videos.

  6. Thanks Anthony! I am glad I found this content. I will surely let you know how it works with me. In first attempt, number exercise made me come out of my comfort zone.

    1. I’m glad you found this as well.

      Getting out of one’s comfort zone is key. I’m now progressively memorizing Sanskrit phrases and am up to 45. Even just getting started was out of my comfort zone, and adding everyone helps keep me out of it.

      Hope to see you more often on the Magnetic Memory Method blog!

  7. The metronome clapping method is very interesting to me, because I developed a meditation technique similar to this that has always been one of my favorites. I essentially combined a generic meditation technique that didn’t work for me with a technique that wasn’t even considered as meditation by the teacher, which actually did produce all the benefits of a truly great meditation technique.

    Essentially it’s like this: I take a simple, multi-syllabic mantra… and then separate out the syllables. In the beginning (or as a beginner, really), I mentally say the first syllable, wait 1 or 2 seconds, and then mentally recite the second syllable. And I continue until the allotted meditation time is over. Gradually over time, as my mind becomes more quiet, spacious, and clear I lengthen the time between syllables. This, for me, has the benefit of increasing even more the quiet, spacious, clarity and sensitivity of mind, which produces a joy I find relishable. The “mantra” I use, is “i am”, but I’ve tried it with others both longer and shorter, exotic and familiar, and it doesn’t seem to really matter.

    Just figured I’d throw this on here, since you mention presence as important in combo with mental development.

    1. Hi Mark,

      Thanks kindly for adding another brain exercise to this page – that is much appreciated.

      It’s true that presence is so key to… everything really.

      Your exercise also relates to something I’ve been doing a lot with a similar set of mantras. For example, I’ve memorized 32 passages of the Ribhu Gita and the Upadsa Saram. As I recite them, I change the speed, rhythm and emphasis on different syllables. (You can see a recitation of the Ribhu Gita if you search that text and my name on YouTube.)

      However, I haven’t done it in quite the structured manner you’ve described, so I’m going to give that a try. It sounds very powerful, especially in combination with the sounds of Sanskrit.

      Thanks again and look forward to your next post! 🙂

  8. Valuable tips and resources. Thank you for sharing.

    You can also improve your memory, concentration, logical thinking and deductive reasoning skills as well as math addition and multiplication with games like Sudoku. Have you tried it?

    1. Thanks for mentioning Sudoku, Yama.

      Like crossword puzzles, Sudoku has different benefits than the kind of direct brain exercise I suggest people get into. It isn’t that there aren’t benefits from games like those, but they rely on external elements that interact with our minds and memory in ways that risk the kinds of learned helplessness we’re trying to avoid. Hence the brain exercises shared on this page.

      Thanks for making this suggestion, though. Ultimately, people are best served by engaging in a variety of mental activities that have differing levels of challenge.

  9. Great suggestions! The older we get, the more important it becomes to do whatever we can to keep our cognitive skills sharp.

  10. The things I stumble upon on my day off!!!!

    I just now saw this page. Just in time. Lately, I’ve been asking myself if a subscription to Luminosity is worth it as I have to watch my pennies. And then this page popped up. I was thinking that maybe I could buy one of these babies and train while driving…. Yet again, you make sense. I totally agree with you about the various brain training exercises being games. Back in the day when I was a dedicated ’60 Minutes’ fan, a segment about a man training his brain was shown. The camera panned the many brain improvement cassette, video tapes and DVDs he used at home to achieve his goals. It was interesting but the contents are lost in time to me. And then there is your method which is the best of all worlds. And make the most sense.

    Oh … I am not doing anything while driving now as a deer ran out in front of my car. TG a police officer shot it as it was a severely hit and it still tried to get up and run. I only drive now … in silence.

    1. Thanks, Rose.

      If you search the site for context-dependent memory, you’ll see that so-called brain training apps can have a positive effect, but typically only in the app environment.

      Plus, if you listen to the interview on my podcast with Dr. Christine Till, she has found that when these kinds of programs work, the results only tend to be substantial with some kind of personal coach or trainer involved.

      But that’s not what we want.

      We want to train our minds in the mental environment and in ways that tie to the real world as we perceive it. True, all manner of brain improvement cassettes, video tapes and apps are now out there. But each person needs to look at their goals and exercise radical honesty on one simple point:

      There’s a difference between activity and accomplishment. If the activity isn’t itself an accomplishment, then it’s not really brain exercise.

  11. Anthony I tried to put the memory palace into practice, I can see that it works from experience, but negative feelings start to appear, an emptiness in my chest, a twinge in my stomach and bad thoughts, I don’t know why, it made me discouraged from putting it into practice. practice, I’m trying to put the mental model my mind is a flowering garden, if you can give me tips to try to lessen these bad feelings, thank you

    1. Sorry to hear that you’re having these experiences, Mari.

      Have you seen my TEDx Talk?

      If not, you might want to look that up. The simple technique I teach there has been very helpful to a lot of people when it comes to helping unwanted mental states resolve themselves.

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Anthony Metivier is the founder of the Magnetic Memory Method, a systematic, 21st century approach to memorizing foreign language vocabulary, names, music, poetry and more in ways that are easy, elegant, effective and fun.

Dr. Metivier holds a Ph.D. in Humanities from York University and has been featured in Forbes, Viva Magazine, Fluent in 3 Months, Daily Stoic, Learning How to Learn and he has delivered one of the most popular TEDx Talks on memory improvement.

His most popular books include, The Victorious Mind and… Read More

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