Have you ever been on an amazing holiday but struggled to remember certain parts when you get home? What did the atrium look like? How did it feel when you first stepped onto that beach? What did their cocktails taste like?
Well, according to experts, constant photo taking on our phones could be the cause of our holiday memories fading faster than they should. It’s called Digitally Induced Amnesia and means that our holiday memories can fade in just two weeks as we’re relying on our smartphones to store the memories for us!
However, there is hope of holding onto those precious holiday memories and it’s inspired by a rare neurological condition called Synaesthesia. Synaesthesia is a condition that allows a person to see and experience colours, textures and shapes when listening, tasting or smelling – incredible! I’ve teamed up with TUI to see how we can use this new theory to improve our holiday memories through the power of senses!
“Scientific evidence is clear in suggesting the more of our senses we stimulate, the more robust the multisensory memory that is formed. Technology keeps our eyes occupied, but while it plays to our dominant visual sense, it fails to connect with our more emotional senses.”
– Oxford University sensory expert
Professor Charles Spence.
MY MOST MEMORABLE HOLIDAY
It’s not something I’d really thought about before now but it makes total sense (excuse the pun!). Some of the most vivid travel memories I have are from my trip to Lapland in Finland a couple of years back…where I didn’t use my phone. I was in Yllas and the surrounding areas during Autumn time, or Ruska as the Fins say, for work exploring nature and soaking up the Finnish culture. Usually on my trips (for work and pleasure) I have my phone glued to me at all times, flicking through emails in the quiet minutes or snapping photos at every opportunity. But on this particular trip things were a little frayed in my life back home so I left my phone in the safe each morning and actually experienced the new part of the world I was in.
I still to this day remember the warm sun beating down on my face as I stood at the top of the National park and the bite of the icy wind whipping past my ears. The gentle rush of the stream trickling under my feet as we hiked through the forests and the soft calls from the birds carelessly soaring above.
The clean smell of the crisp Autumn air and the thud of the oar on the side of our canoe as we meandered our way across the cavernous lake. And the feel of the reindeer’s soft and warm fur beneath my fingers as we said hello to a group who were minding their own business amongst the trees.
It was almost intoxicating how much I truly experienced on that trip when I let my mind go, put down the phone and was present with all my senses in those moments. And thanks to that, my memories of Finland stay so strongly in my mind and I get to relive them whenever I like, simply by closing my eyes.
How To Improve Your Holiday Memories
Apparently 3 out of 4 of us remember things better when we write things down, and when we draw we use a lot of our brain to think about colours, shapes and how things feel. By drawing on your holiday you can help make your memories last longer – really think about the colour of the sea, or the shade of green in the trees and get creative!
Put Down Your Phone
We really need to stop relying on our phones to remember things for us. Of course it’s lovely to have pictures, but by being more mindful of the photos we take will not only leave us with more storage left on our phones but we’ll also have the memories to go with them!
Close Your Eyes and Use Your Senses
Have you ever just closed your eyes and taken in the world around you without using your sight? The smell of the salty ocean, the sound of the birds above, the feel of the sand beneath your toes or the wind blowing through your hair? If you find yourself in a ‘wow’ moment, give this a go, and make your own wow moments too. Take a minute to build that sensory picture in your mind and see how long it stays! Take a look at the video above to find out a bit more on how to do this.
TUI have created a Synaesthesia quiz to help you find out how much you use your other senses and just how good you are at connecting them! I have to say I found the quiz quite fascinating – if not a little tricky at times! I hadn’t really thought about how my brain processes the different senses before but it seems I have a strong affinity to sound and smell, who knew!
And next time you’re away remember your senses…and ditch that phone!