Tips to Improve The Power of Your Memory
A strong memory to a large extent depends on the health and vitality of the brain; this underscores the need to keep the brain acute and active. Whether you're a student preparing for an important test, a specialist concerned about staying mentally sharp, or a senior interested in enhancing your brain power, there are specific things you can do to improve your mental performance and keep your memory robust for years to come:
1. Give your brain a workout
Over the years, your brain has established millions of neural paths that help you to process and remember info within a short period of time, complete familiar tasks and crack familiar problems, with the slightest of mental effort. However, if you don’t challenge your brain with new information, then you’re not giving it the stimulation it needs to keep developing and growing. Endeavor to do something that is mentally challenging — learning an instrument, working a crossword puzzle, etc. According to Peter Snyder, Ph.D. professor of clinical neurosciences “Such activities create fresh connections in your brain, which generates new cells in the hippocampus." Those new cells build mental reserves that are central to forming new memories and help prevent memory loss.
Basic elements of a good brain-boosting activity:
- It teaches you something new.
- It’s a skill you can build on.
- It’s challenging.
- It’s rewarding.
2. Get up and start moving
Physical exercise keeps your brain active and sharp. It also increases the flow of oxygen to the brain thereby reducing the risk for disorders that lead to memory loss, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. When working out, the nerve cells release proteins known as neurotrophic factors. A specific one referred to as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), stimulates the production of several chemicals that promote neural health, and cognitive functions by enhancing growth factors and triggering new neuronal connections. A 2010 study published in Neuroscience reports individuals who engaged in exercise experienced expansion and growth in the brain's memory center up to 2% in a period of one year.
3. Get more sleep
Getting sufficient sleep gives a significant boost to your memory, critical thinking skills and problem solving capabilities. The fact is that adults need between 8 to 9 hours of sleep every night to function at their best. Many studies have shown that restful sleep strengthens and consolidates memories. A study published in the JournalSleep Medicine reports that subjects that performed some memory tasks after taking a nap recalled more of the tasks they had performed compared to those who stayed up.
Keep the following tips in mind:
- Get on a regular sleep schedule.
- Get a good night’s sleep and take naps.
- Avoid all screens for at least an hour before bed.
4. Eliminate stressors
Try as much as possible to eliminate anything that causes you major stress, like anxiety or anger. Over time, chronic stress if left unchecked destroys the hippocampus (the region of the brain involved in the retrieval of old memories and creation of new ones) and brain cells. Researchers have also found out that depression elevates the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream, simultaneously increasing the cortisol levels in the brain. Increased cortisol levels in certain regions of the brain especially the hippocampus, can destroy the ability of the brain to remember anything new.
Tips for managing stress:
- Set realistic expectations
- Set healthy a balance between work and leisure time
- Take time to meditate
- Avoid multi-tasking
5. Eat a brain-boosting diet
Your brain needs fuel, the same way your body needs fuel. The quality as well as the quantity of food you consume daily, as well as the supplements and vitamins you take has a major impact on your brain health and memory. Your daily calorie should come from a diet based on whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Lean protein and “Healthy” fats (such as nuts, olive oil, fish) will provide lots of health benefits, and can also improve your memory.
A healthy lifestyle can improve your brain health and even stimulate your brain to grow new neurons. Lifestyle factors that may improve memory and promote neurogenesis include
- Eating right,
- Getting proper sleep,
- Playing brain games
- Eliminating stressors
The human brain has an amazing ability to adapt and change in new ways—even into old age. With the right stimulation, you can harness the natural power of the brain to increase your cognitive abilities, boost your brain power, enhance your ability to learn new information, and reduce your risk of memory loss.