How to Improve Your Memory: 15 Ways to Improve Your Memory
In this post, we will be talking about the various ways on how to improve your memory. But first, we should all take into account that it is human nature to forget every now and then; particularly as we age. However, while the incidence of not being able to remember where you left your keys or recalling the name of a new friend is regarded as normal, constant forgetfulness and the inability to improve memory, in the long run, can sometimes be an indication of an underlying medical condition, especially in terms of mental health. It is therefore vital to have a regular consultation with your physician.
Neuroplasticity is involved in the natural methods to improve memory. Also known as brain or neural plasticity, it is the brain’s ability to change and develop during the course of one’s lifetime. This is through the process of producing new neural connections, allowing the nerve cells to make up for any injuries in the process and making them well-adjusted to various environmental changes. Now, this process will be affected by your daily routines. Basically, if you give your brain what it needs, then expect it to perform well. Otherwise, if you abuse your body then you will surely reap the consequences. Listed out below are 15 undemanding ways on how to improve your memory, which includes consuming a balanced diet filled with memory-boosters and maintaining a healthy lifestyle free of potentially harmful habits. It is always easy to improve memory. But it takes time and patience, so do not forget about it.
Get Enough Sleep, Seriously
The first crucial step on how to improve memory is getting enough sleep, of which the lack thereof has always been linked to poor cognitive performance. Researchers discovered that significant brain waves produced during sleep transform short-term memories into long-term ones in the hippocampus to the prefrontal cortex. Poor quality sleep, especially among the adults, will get in the way as the brain stores and retains these memories, thus leading to forgetfulness and trouble remembering. It is therefore important to receive at least 7 hours of sleep each night, preferably by going to bed and waking up each morning at the same time every day. Try also to reduce your caffeine intake, as it may interfere with your sleeping pattern.
Regular Exercise, The Physical One
To improve memory is also to improve physical health, which can be done in part with regular exercise. A research at the University of British Columbia stated that regular exercise—particularly aerobics, which keeps your heart and sweat glands pumping, in contrast with muscle toning and resistance training exercises—can boost the size of the hippocampus that is responsible for memory and learning. Exercise triggers the release of growth factor which is crucial in neuroplasticity. It also directly increases oxygen to the brain; affects the health, survival, and abundance of brain cells; reduces the risk for disorders that can result to memory loss like diabetes, other cardiovascular diseases, and even dementia; and reduces stress and anxiety.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Keeping up an optimal physical well-being to improve memory also entails maintaining a healthy weight. Obesity, in particular, has been scientifically associated with cognitive decline. Aside from causing insulin resistance and inflammation that can negatively affect the brain, and changes to memory-associated genes, a study at the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine has found out that obese people, compared to those with normal weight, have 8% fewer brain tissues. That is a loss of 8 billion neurons out of roughly 100 billion we have! It also noted the 4% brain tissue loss among those overweight.
Eat a Brain-boosting Diet
Must-have inclusions in your daily diet are foods proven to be healthy for your brain. In particular are foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Famous examples are fishes like tuna, mackerel, sardines, herring, and salmon. You might also want to consider non-fish sources of omega-3 like seaweeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, beans, broccoli, and spinach. Try to be more careful with your calorie and saturated fat intake. Experts warned against overconsumption of foods high in saturated fat like red meat, and various dairy products such as butter and cheese; they all increase your chance of getting dementia, aside from impairing your memory and concentration.
Choose Anti-inflammatory Foods
Closely related above are anti-inflammatory foods that will help on how to improve memory. Consuming foods rich in antioxidants like fruits, vegetables, and green teas should lessen oxidative stress brought by free radicals, taking inflammation down in the body. An analysis combining nine various studies involving 31,000 participants stressed that eating more fruits and vegetables can lower the risk of having cognitive decline and acquiring dementia in contrast with those who consumed less. Berries are notable examples in giving flavonoids and anthocyanins. You could also include nuts and olive oil in your regimen. Top 25 Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Limit Alcohol Consumption
Too much alcohol and memory loss are always in a long-term relationship. The effects alcohol has on your hippocampus especially during binge drinking can cause blackout where you may wake up not remembering anything at all from the night before. The real impact though results to some level of memory loss and possible cognitive impairment particularly with those chronic heavy drinkers. In fact, a certain condition called Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, with confusion and impairment in mental activity that may progress to coma and even death as symptoms, is brought by a long-term B1 deficiency due to alcoholism. On a “lighter” note, the neurotoxic effects of alcohol on the brain can reduce memory performance.
An Added Dose of Cocoa
The cocoa powder yielded from fermenting and roasting cacao beans and is used to produce chocolates is an excellent step on how to improve memory. Flavanols, a class of flavonoids, contained in cocoa have been shown to improve blood circulation in the brain and trigger the development of blood vessels. In addition, one research study at the Columbia University Medical Center explained that the high levels of antioxidants present in dark chocolates can enhance the memory particularly of aging persons by about 25%. That would entail eating at least 7 bars each day though.
Maintain an Optimal Vitamin D Level
To improve memory, check your vitamin D level, as research said low vitamin D level is associated with memory loss and cognitive function especially in older adults. It might be due to vitamin D’s role in inflammation in the brain that could be a reason why people lose memory. What’s more importantly noteworthy is that the deficiency can also be a risk factor for developing dementia. This is generally common in places with colder climates and even in those with a darker complexion. Thus, better have your vitamin D level tested through a blood test to find out if you’re already experiencing deficiency. Vitamin D Deficiency? Top 20 Vitamin D Foods You Have to Try Before Supplements
Identify and Treat Health Problems
Aside from maintaining a healthy lifestyle to improve memory, having a regular consultation with your doctor is also advisable. This is not just for the overall physical well-being, since many medical conditions, especially mental disorders, and even certain medications can affect your cognitive functioning. Cardiovascular diseases, for instance, have been correlated to mild cognitive impairment. Diabetes meanwhile has a greater impact. Physical health is also tantamount to your psychological condition. Are you experiencing bouts of sadness that seem overwhelming at some point? Identify all possible health problems and treat them as soon as possible.
Keep Stress in Check
Stress is an enemy we could not really run away from. So try to minimize its effect as best as possible. Chronic stress if left unchecked can damage brain cells and harm the hippocampus. To better handle stress, and in turn, improve memory, strive to set a balance on everything you do, especially between work and leisure time, since everybody’s practically too busy now. Also, treat yourself with breaks in-between. Multi-tasking is also discouraged; focus on finishing one task at a time. Lastly, don’t bottle up negative feelings but learn to express them obviously in an appropriate way. Stress Effects On The Body
Do Not Forget to Socialize
Don’t ever think the ways to improve memory are only limited to exclusive devotion to crossword puzzles and reading books. It also involves spending pastimes with friends and families and just having a genuine and healthy socialization. Numerous scientific studies have linked cognitive health with the sense of satisfaction and happiness for the times you spend with friends. You could also join a club with unknown people to have a new circle of acquaintances or volunteer in an organization. All this will not only benefit your emotional health but also your mental well-being as a whole.
We all do have this habit of just doing things subconsciously that it often leads to forgetfulness. Practicing mindfulness means you are aware and focus on everything around you and most especially, your own thoughts, feelings, and mood. It will surely improve memory and concentration. It isn’t outright meditation (which you can also absolutely try as part of your regimen) since it is something you can incorporate into all your everyday activities. Doing this entails focusing on your breathing and paying more attention to whatever is happening in your present situation. Being mindful will only not make you more alert and active but will also enhance memory retention.
Laughter is Still, Probably, the Best Medicine
The old adage holds true for all future time. In fact, laughter stimulates multiple areas throughout your entire brain and broadens your thinking capacity. This does not only mean laughing at jokes or spending time with your playful friends. More importantly, laughter should teach us to take life lightly. It may not immediately solve your problems but at least, it would not cost you your peace of mind and overall mental health. Try to laugh at your humiliating moments, bear a childlike playfulness often, and surround yourself with things and people that will help you lighten up.
Learn the Techniques
There are practical steps to alleviate any difficulty in learning and improve memory. Running through information over and over again. Assimilating new information with old ones. Paying more attention. Analysing basic ideas to comprehend the complex one. All this are techniques you can rehearse. And of course, we have the so-called mnemonic devices to ease memorization. Techniques include 1) The Method of Loci, 2) Rhymes, 3) Acronyms, 4) Imagery, and 5) Chunking and Organization.
Train Your Brain
The last step on how to improve memory entails playing brain games in an entertaining yet challenging way. Word-recall games, Tetris, crosswords puzzles, Sudoku, and other brain teasers and training, with some even found in mobile apps, are all efficient methods at enhancing your cognitive functioning, including your memory. To use what brain-boosting activity best suits you, try to see if that certain game teaches you something you still didn’t know. Just make sure it is challenging, demanding strenuous effort at your end. Of course, it should also be rewarding to stimulate the reward system in your brain, further supporting the learning process.
Neurons are the only cells in our body that will last a lifetime as we do. So take good care of them, not just to improve memory but keep your overall wellbeing optimal as well. Now don’t forget to follow these steps faithfully.