Here are 5 best tips for memory improvement. Think fast: can you remember what you had for lunch? How about the last book you read? While these particular facts may not seem important, a strong memory is evidence of a healthy brain.
Luckily, even people with weak memories can hone their skills, thanks to the brain’s continual ability to develop neural pathways, an ability known as neuroplasticity.
These five tips–comprising both positive lifestyle changes and brain boosting activities–can help optimize memory and overall cognition.
1. Live Well
It’s no surprise that getting enough sleep is a critical part of daily functionality. The human brain doesn’t work well when it’s sleep deprived: both critical thinking and creativity suffer. Memory is also detrimentally affected.
Research has proven that sleep–particularly its deepest stages–is a critical component in the consolidation of memories.
Lack of sleep, meanwhile, limits the brain’s ability to form new memories, while simultaneously restricting access to old ones.
2. Laugh Often
We’ve all heard the expression, “Laughter is the best medicine.” When it comes to enhancing your memory skills, it’s no laughing matter.
A large body of research shows that meaningful human relationships lead to a myriad of cognitive benefits, including fostering creativity and enhancing memory.
Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health concluded that elderly people with active social lives experienced a slower rate of memory decline than those who spent more time alone.
If you’re looking for an excuse to pick up the phone for a chat with an old friend or to ask a coworker out for coffee instead of filing that last piece of paper, you’ve got one!
3. Feeding Your Brain
We often talk about the importance of fueling the body, but delivering sustenance to the brain is equally important. The term “brain food” can be interpreted literally: a healthy diet not only makes your body
stronger, but also gives your brain a boost, especially when it comes to improving memory.
Stick with a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats, such as nuts, fish and olive oils. These superfoods not only enhance your memory, but also lower your risk of developing dementia.
Specifically, omega-3 fatty acids, found in salmon, trout, sardines, halibut, tuna and other fatty fish, deliver amazing benefits. These not only bolster your immune system, but also decrease your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
If you prefer menu items from land over the sea, you can derive the same powerful benefits from eating flaxseed, squash, walnuts, broccoli and spinach.
But it’s not just what you eat; it’s also how much. Eating too many calories along with too much fat doesn’t just lead to extra inches around your waist, it also interferes with concentration and memory, while increasing your risk for dementia and cognitive impairment.
4. Go For That Drink
When it comes time to wash down these tasty foods with a drink, turn to green tea, regular consumption of which enhances memory and mental acuity while slowing the brain’s aging process. Don’t feel guilty about that post-dinner glass of wine, either. Red wine–rich in the blood flow-enhancing flavanoid resveratrol–has been proven to improve both memory and cognition.
5. Give Your Brain a Workout
While a healthy lifestyle is critical to beneficial brain development, there are also some strategies you can actively employ to strengthen your brain.
Experts suggest using mnemonic devices as one particularly successful technique.
These “clues” help you associate one thing with another, and are effective when trying to remember information. Whether visual or language based, such as acronyms and alliteration, mnemonic devices can help your brain take a different approach in storing and accessing the data.
In another technique known as “chunking,” users break large portions of information into smaller, more manageable components.
It can also be helpful to think of memorization as a multi-sensory process. The more senses you tie to a specific piece of information–from sights and sounds to tastes and textures–the easier it is to recall it later.
This ties into another strategy: it is far easy to absorb applicable data that is informed by your own reality than abstract information. By focusing on whole ideas and concepts, you can better understand and remember challenging content.
And don’t forget, as with most things in life, practice makes perfect. Pay close attention and repeat important information, such as names and dates, which vastly helps with retention.
By following these five tips, you can strengthen your own memory, or help loved ones strengthen theirs. Keep in mind, anything that requires active thinking can strengthen your brain, but you are more likely to pursue these activities if they are fun.
So take that French class you’ve always wanted to take, or give yourself an extra few minutes to finish that Sudoku puzzle. In the process, you’re giving your brain–and your memory–a beneficial boost.
Joanna Hughes writes on all subjects, from fashion and style to science and medicine. She enjoys keeping up on all of the latest news and technology, such as how familiarizing yourself with your online reputation can help enhance memory. She hopes you find these 5 Best Tips for Memory Improvement helpful.