Thursday, March 19, 2015

8 Ways to Improve Your Memory

Do you keep misplacing your keys? Do you go upstairs to get or do something and can't remember what? Did you forget the name of the person you just met?  

Even if you think your memory is too bad or it's too late to change, know this, the brain has an enormous capacity to adapt and change - even into your senior years.  Your brain is part of your body so it stands to reason that what keeps your body happy and healthy would do the same for your brain.  Here are some tips to keep your faculties at their best.

Sleep. Get plenty of sleep.  Sleep deprivation compromises all mental function, including key memory enhancing activity.

Physical Exercise.  Exercise increases oxygen to the brain, reducing the risk of diseases that can lead to memory loss and enhancing the effect of helpful brain chemicals like serotonin, noradrenalin, and dopamine.  Each of these chemicals is vital to a physically, emotionally and mentally healthy body.

Focus.  Pay attention and be patient.  It takes about 8 seconds to process a piece of information into memory.  It helps to make a connection between new information and previously stored information. I think this one could make the most difference because in our fast-paced lives we are just moving from one thing to another so quickly we are not absorbing the information.

Mental exercise is also essential for a healthy brain.  Like our bodies, our brain becomes used to the same exercises, so keep your mental exercises new, challenging and fun. Try working the Sunday crossword puzzle or play memory games, such as Lumosity, on the computer.

Nutrition.  We all know that eating a healthy, balanced diet with less fat, carbs and fewer processed foods, is supposed to keep our bodies healthy. The same applies to our brain health as well.  Try adding more whole foods to your diet including fatty fish (omega 3), colorful fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole grains and wine (in moderation, of course).

De-Stress.  Stress plays a large part in short-term memory loss. For improved mental function, try some form of meditation.  Meditation means awareness, so anything done with a single focus, blocking out all other distractions, is effective meditation. Notice that there is only a one-letter difference between meditation and medication.

Friend Therapy. Humans, being highly social animals, do not thrive in isolation. We need meaningful relationships for both emotional and mental health. Research has shown that the more active your social life, the slower your memory decline.  To stay socially active consider volunteering, join a club or church, get together with friends more often, and don't overlook the value of having a pet - animals are very therapeutic. 

Laughter. Laughter is the best medicine for brain and body alike.  It engages multiple areas across the whole brain. Focus on finding the funny in everyday life, hang out with fun, happy people, and surround yourself with things that evoke good memories and make you smile.

Keep in mind that there is a boatload of information and tips for healthy brain function and better memory. These are just few ideas to get you thinking, reading and becoming invested in yourself. 

How to Improve Your Memory
Brain Chemical Messengers
Memory Loss

Disclaimer:  For information purposes only and not to be taken as medical advice.

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  1. It has been on my mind to expand it and improve it.
    Every time I can't remember a name or something, I think the worst.

    1. Hi Christine, thanks for stopping by. It is never too late to make a change and perk up your memory.

  2. I almost forgot to comment. ;)

    1. Almost...but you made it. You must be doing something right. ;)

  3. Hi Linda - such good tips here ... and applying them all is so essential - we can help ourselves ...

    I need to settle into a better balanced life now the hip op has been done ... and not so spend so much time here!! Work another way of doing things .. cheers and great post to remind us to help ourselves - Hilary

    1. Thanks Hilary! Glad the hip is getting better. Spring is a great time to be able to get out and about. I hope you have some nice weather to enjoy.

  4. I REALLY like the friend therapy. What a wonderful point. My mom plays soduko and also does every single day's crossword puzzles. I don't know HOW she figures out those answers... they are HARD. But it keeps her sharp. I have been playing Wordbrain on my phone and I think that is helping me a bit. Although I still forget the name of EVERYONE I meet just seconds after they leave. Ugh!

    1. My hubby does soduko on his phone and carries on a conversation while doing it. I'm not a math person, except when it comes to sale prices, coupons and % off discounts.

  5. I like the laughter part. Speaking of laughter, I chuckled at Katherine's comments about names. I have the same issue, but, in truth, have had for years. Names go in one ear and out the other. My hubby is the same way. We're constantly trying to help each remember someone's name.

    My dad had the same problem. My mother used to coach him when they had parties. One time, they had a man coming to a party who was named, Mr. Bassett. He was evidently touchy about his name for whatever reason. When he was introduced to my father, Dad said, "I'm so glad to meet you, Mr. Hound!" My mother could have shot him!

    1. The story about your dad had me laughing. I am wondering if he really messed it up or did he do it on purpose to irritate your mother?


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