Whether you are a young adult in your 20s, approaching middle age in your 50s or creeping into your older years in your 60s or 70s, it is never too late to start improving your memory. Memory is something we often take for granted, as it seems to always be there when we need it, except when it’s not. Everyone experiences those pesky memory glitches that can often be excused away by a lack of sleep, hunger or even simple distraction. But, when memory begins to fail, it can become problematic. So, your best course of action is to work on improving your memory now, so it does not fail you down the line when you really need it. Here are some great tips on easy ways you can improve your memory.
Stay Physically Active
Your physical wellness has a lot to do with your mental wellness. So, it is crucial to stay physically active to help your memory stay healthy. Physical activity promotes blood flow throughout the body. So, the more you move, the more blood flows everywhere, including to your brain. It does not take much effort to get enough exercise to see a benefit to your memory. According to the Mayo Clinic, 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week should do the trick. If you cannot squeeze in a whole workout, try taking a brisk walk around the block.
Stay Mentally Active
Finding ways to keep your mind active will help with your memory as well. Mentally stimulating activities will keep your brain active and can keep memory issues at bay. There are many ways to keep your mind active, so you can choose one that best suits you. If you love words, try to do a crossword puzzle every day. If you are a lover of numbers, Sudoku might be right up your alley. Jigsaw puzzles are great for helping you keep focused and using your logic skills. If you do not have the time or inclination to sit for any of these activities, try taking an alternate route to a familiar location the next time you have to go there. Making that simple change will keep your mind actively engaged. Other great options for keeping your mind active include playing card games, learning to play a musical instrument and volunteering at a local organization.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is crucial for revitalizing our bodies and minds. Not only does your body need the downtime, but when you sleep your memories become consolidated, which helps you recall them when you need to. If you do not get sufficient sleep, these memories can be difficult to get back. So, make sure you get enough sleep by listening to your body. Go to sleep when you are tired so your body and mind can get the rest they need.
Be Socially Active
Making time to be with your friends and family is crucial for improving your memory. Humans are social animals and we need social interaction to feel complete. Interpersonal relationships help to stimulate our brains in a special way. Of course, these relationships help us emotionally, but they also keep our brains from declining mentally. Studies have shown that people with the most active social lives had the slowest rate of memory decline. Stay in contact with your friends and family. If you do not have anyone close to you, consider volunteering or joining a social group. You can also consider adopting a pet. Having another heartbeat in the house can be theraputic on many levels, even if it isn’t from a human.
Manage Your Stress Levels
Stress can be damaging in many ways. It can take an emotional and physical toll on you. It can also negatively affect your memory. Over the long-run, unmanaged stress can damage your brain cells. It can also have an adverse affect on the hippocampus, which is the area of the brain that is involved with creating new memories as well as retrieving old ones. Stress can also lead to memory loss. To prevent these negative results of stress, you need to properly manage it. Here are some easy tips for doing so:
- Set realistic expectations for yourself.
- Take breaks throughout the day.
- Do not bottle up your feelings.
- Develop a healthy work/life balance.
- Avoid multitasking and instead focus on one task at a time.
Laughter is great for improving your memory. Although it is seeminly just a natural reaction to something funny or amusing, laughter has many benefits. Laughter engages multiple areas of the brain. So, every time you let out a hardy chuckle, your entire brain gets to work. Another great aspect of laughter is that it gets your mind working on a different level. When someone tells you a joke, your brain automatically starts to think about possible punchlines, which spurs learning and creativity to engage. So, every time you laugh, you are doing good for your entire brain, including your memory.
Choose Your Foods Wisely
Certain foods can help stimulate your memory. Similarly, some foods can have an adverse affect on your memory. So, if you are looking to improve your memory, it is crucial for you to know which foods to eat and which to aovid. Here is a short list of each type of food:
- Foods That are Good for Memory
- Omega-3s from fish like salmon, tuna, halibut and trout.
- Omega-3s from non-fish sources like seaweed, nuts, flaxseed, beans and spinach.
- Fruits and vegetables.
- Green tea.
- Red wine or grape juice in moderation.
- Foods That are Bad for Memory
- High-calorie foods with saturated fats should only be eated in moderation.
- Excesive amounts of alcohol.
Treat Health Problems
Various health problems can have an adverse affect on your memory. If you notice that your memory has suddenly gotten worse, check to see if there is an underlying health issue as the cuase. Some health issues that contrubute to memory loss include:
- Alzheimer’s disease.
- Heart disease.
- High cholesterol.
- High blood pressure.
- Hormone imbanances, particulalry estrogen, testosterone and thyroid.
- Prescription and over-the-counter medications, especially cold medicines, allergy medicines, sleep aids and anti-depressants.
Additional Ways to Support Your Memory
Besides these great tips, there are some other simple steps you can take to keep your memory sharp and help to improve it if you have started to have memory issues:
- Pay attention – If you are having trouble remembering something, intently focus on it for at least eight seconds. It will help to imprint it into your brain.
- Involve as many senses as possible – Think about what something smells like, looks like, tastes like, etc. The more you can involve your senses, the more you will be able to remember it.
- Relate it to information you already know – Building on previous knowledge helps to solidfy it in your brain.
- Focus on the basics – If a topic is complex, focus on just the basics until you have it commited to memory. Then, you can move on to the minute details.
- Use mnemonic devices – Mnemonic devices are designed to be used as memory aids, so use them to your advantage. You can use existing ones like “every good boy does fine” for rembering the notes of the trebel cleff or make one up yourself however you need to.
Having a strong memory is an asset at every stage of life. The more you work on it when your young, the better your memory will be as you age. If you find yourself losing your memory, adopting these practices will help you retain it longer and gain some of it back. Take care of your mind just as you take care of your body. You will always be thankful that you took the effort.
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