How to Deal With Goldfish Syndrome

February 16, 2017

SheBrisbane had a chat with Alex Williams of BizzMarkBlog about a strange disease that we all suffer with from time to time or if you’re like us maybe more often than not…

What is the goldfish syndrome at all?

Although, this may sound as a dangerous disease, it’s not. Actually, it’s not a disease at all, but an expression meaning that somebody easily loses their train of thought and forgets things, exactly the way a goldfish forgets things after only three seconds. Although scientists have proven that this is just a myth and that fish can remember for up to five months, this expression has survived. Be that as it may, let’s look at some useful ways in which we can deal with the goldfish syndrome.

Think positively

The first important rule is to stay positive. Even if you have a feeling that your attention span is like the one of a goldfish, don’t take it as a tragedy since that way, you’ll feel under pressure even more, and consequently only worsen the situation. People think more effectively when they are relaxed, so don’t be too harsh on yourself. Instead, do your best to improve your memory without having a constant fear of failure.

Use memory pathways

Using memory pathways basically means creating a story around the list of things you need to remember. This is a very popular way of dealing with the goldfish syndrome since it’s both efficient and very funny. You can connect the list of things any way you like. The more bizarre these made-up stories are, the more you’re likely to remember them. For example, if you have to make a grocery list of milk, eggs and flour, you can try something like this: “A couple of eggs wanted to take a bath in milk, however the flour arrived first and drank all the milk”.

Make reminders

Making reminders and sticking them all over your place can be extremely useful if you have to remember some important information. The only thing you need to do is to get amazing Sticky Notes. You can opt for different colours, which will additionally help you distinguish between different types of reminders (the ones regarding your job, house chores, grocery lists, etc). The best thing is that your peripheral sight will do its part of the job as well, since it has been proven that we can remember certain things without paying direct attention to them.

Repeat, repeat and repeat

You have probably heard the famous quote “Repetition is the mother of learning”, but have you ever thought about how accurate it is? We would say 100% accurate, since some information cannot simply be remembered after being heard only once; so, don’t blame yourself for forgetting them, but keep revising until you know them by heart. This is also a very useful technique for studying. The bigger the subject, the more you’ll have to revise it.

Chunking can help you a lot

Chunking is another amazing technique for dealing with the goldfish syndrome. It’s particularly useful when you have to remember long strings of numbers. Instead of trying to remember all the numbers separately, divide them into pairs or put a dash after every four numbers. This way, you’ll remember smaller groups of numbers together and then connect them in a longer string.

Meditation is the key

Another thing we strongly recommend that you try is meditation. This technique will make you relax and breathe more slowly. You may not see the connection between breathing and dealing with forgetfulness, but there is an important one. When we breathe slowly and relax, the electrical impulses in our brain switch to theta waves, which usually occurs when we sleep. Thanks to these waves, we’re more likely to recall something we forgot. So, once again you can see that being under pressure won’t lead you anywhere. Thus, stay calm, and fight the goldfish syndrome.

As you can see, dealing with forgetfulness is not that hard after all. You just have to develop techniques which suit you the most, and remember to stay calm.

Alex Williams

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