Someone recently told me that my memory is not as good as it used to be. I can’t remember who said that to me. Guess I should keep reading!
There are many components of a good memory. The health of our brain is among the most important. It’s natural for memory to decline with age, but there are many ways to slow that decline.
Poor memory can be frustrating for everyone involved. There are simple steps we can take to enhance our memory at any age.
1. Change our diet. Research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids and an anti-inflammatory diet can enhance memory. Our diet affects all aspects of our body. Alter our diet and we alter our ability to store and retrieve memories.
There are several versions of anti-inflammatory diets. Experiment and see which works best for you. Find some suggestions here.
2. Manage stress. Stress is hard on your body, brain, and memory. Stress has been linked to decreases in memory. Set reasonable expectations for our life. Learn how to relax and avoid stress. Ensure that we’re getting enough leisure time.
3. Get enough sleep. Scientists are still confused about what happens while we sleep, but it has been established that our brains don’t work as well when we’ve been deprived of sleep. One late night on the town will prove this fact to anyone. Get enough sleep and your memory will be enhanced.
Stick to a regular sleep schedule.
Try taking a nap for a middle of the day pick-me-up.
4. Use repetition. It’s much more effective to expose yourself to something repeatedly than to attempt to learn it in one sitting. If you’re trying to learn French vocabulary words, six 5-minute sessions will be more beneficial than one 30-minute session. The popular flash card program, Anki, uses spaced repetition to aid memory.
5. Keep your mind active. Do something each day that requires a lot of brain activity. Reading, crossword puzzles, chess, and various brain teasers are effective at keeping our minds active and sharp. Avoid relying on just a single activity. Mix it up and hit our brains from every angle.
6. Be creative. Creativity uses different parts of the brain than the more analytical functions we typically perform. Paint, draw, learn an instrument, or write. Anything requiring creativity can be useful.
7. Exercise. Moving blood through our body and brain can boost memory. Obesity can lead to blood sugar and circulatory issues. Both can impair memory. We don’t have to pretend we’re training for the Olympics, but get our hearts pumping for a few minutes each day.
8. Write it down. It’s easier to remember something if you write it down, instead of just hearing or reading it.
9. Say it aloud. Use all of your senses. Say it so that you can hear it. If you write it, read it aloud, and imagine it, it will be much easier to remember. Expose yourself to the information you wish to remember in a variety of ways.
10. Maintain healthy relationships. Some memory experts believe that relationships are the key to keeping your brain healthy and active. It has been discovered that those with the busiest social lives have the slowest declines in memory.
Spend more time with family and friends.
Make some new friends or join a club.
Even if we believe we’ve been plagued with poor memory, our memory can be enhanced. Minimizing stress, challenging our brains on a regular basis, and getting sufficient sleep are a few of the steps that can be taken to improve memory function.
It’s never too late to pay attention to our memories.
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