Having a sharp memory is incredibly useful for everyone, whether you are a student, working professional or a senior citizen. It is one of those ordinary superpowers that can turn up your productivity from 0 to 100. We all have to deal with moments of forgetfulness once in a while, particularly when we get swamped with work. But having poor memory all the time can be quite a problem. It not only lowers your performance but also takes a serious toll on your memory later in life.
With age, it is entirely normal for people to notice some changes in their ability to remember things. Maybe you went into the kitchen and couldn’t remember why or you struggle to remember a familiar name during a conversation. You may even unknowingly skip an appointment because you didn’t remember it. Memory lapses may occur at any age, but as we get older it becomes more problematic because they can be a sign of dementia, or a loss of intellectual function.
Most of the fleeting memory problems that occur due to age reflects normal changes in the function and structure of the brain. These changes lead to the slowdown of certain cognitive processes, which makes it a bit harder to learn new things quickly or to ignore distractions that obstruct with memory and learning. But decades of research on the subject have given us various strategies that can be used to protect and sharpen our minds.
Memory loss is not preventable, but using some simple methods you can protect your brain against the cognitive damage that comes with age. The following are some simple tips that can improve your memory naturally.
1. Mindful eating
Unless we’re dieting, we don’t pay much attention to our eating habits. Many of us often skip meals or eat too much oily and spicy food. All these things play their part in triggering memory loss later in life. Skipping meals may not seem like a big deal, but it actually has a huge effect on your mental health. So, make sure to add more colourful fruits and veggies to your meals. Fruits and veggies have an abundance of nutrients and antioxidants that help in fighting free radical damage. Also, including blueberry, tomatoes, spinach to your diet is a great option.
2. Stay active
This does not necessarily mean that you have to hit the gym. All you need to do is keep yourself active. Play some sports, go out for a walk, do yoga or try other things. Keeping your body moving is very beneficial for a healthy brain as it improves the blood flow, metabolism, brain structure and function.
3. Keep learning
It’s not enough to just be physically active, you also need to keep yourself mentally active. They are both very important for a healthy life. Try out new things that challenge your brain. If you keep going in a routine, doing the same things you’ve always done, you are depriving your brain of the stimulation it needs to grow and develop. Challenging your brain with mental exercise activates processes that help in maintaining individual brain cells and stimulating communication among them. Many people have mentally taxing jobs but pursuing hobbies or learning new skills can function the same way. Make reading goals; join a book group; play chess; write a journal; do crossword or jigsaw puzzles; take a class; pursue music or art.
4. Repeat what you want to know
If you want to remember something you’ve just heard, read, or thought about, write it down or repeat it out loud. This will reinforce the memory or nerve connection in your brain. For example, if you want to remember someone’s name, use it while speaking to him or her: “So, Rekha, where did you meet Rahul?” If you placed something of your like your keys or remote somewhere other than its usual spot, repeat to yourself out loud what you’ve done. This will help you remember the location later.
5. Sleep quality is important
It is especially important to give your brain an ample amount of rest for your mental health. This means both physical and mental rest. Stop stressing yourself excessively as the stress hormones cause damage to the hippocampus (memory centre in the brain) that causes memory loss. Having a good sound sleep of seven to eight hours is very important for the brain and the body. You can also do some meditation to relax your body.
6. Space it out
If you want to learn something, then time your repetition. This means don’t revise something many times in a short period, like cramming for an exam. Instead, do your revisions after increasingly longer periods of time — once an hour, followed by every few hours, then every day. This timed revision strategy is particularly valuable when you are trying to master complicated information.
Stay healthy, stay safe 🙂