How’s your memory? Concerned that you may be more forgetful? Have you experienced a “senior moment?” There are several things you can do to invigorate your mind’s inner workings and, in turn, experience life in the way you want. How do you keep your brain healthy?
Move Your Muscles.
Exercise is just as important for brain health as physical health, likely because of its positive effect on cardiovascular function.
Don’t Stress, Get Some Rest!
Stress can cause memory problems. When people have too much on their mind, sometimes their mind just throws it all away in one fell swoop, rather than dealing with one thing at a time. Think of it as you spinning in a circle repeatedly with each part of the circle being one thing on your mind. By spinning in this “circle” for too long and too fast, you become “dizzy” and fall down (your brain slows down). Ultimately, this invites the stress hormone called cortisol. So, how can you prevent this from happening frequently? Get some sleep.
After a good night’s sleep, or even a quality nap, not only do we become refreshed and recall our memories more vividly – we also think about them in a more structured and orderly fashion than we do when we are stressed. If you’re having problems sleeping, talk to your doctor, as you may need to be checked for medical problems.
Stay in the Social Fray.
Interacting face-to-face with friends, family or anyone at all puts your memory into working gear. It requires the brain to “jump around” by taking an active role in a conversation where it has to form new thoughts constantly in order to respond to the other party. So the next time you are chatting with somebody and it seems so casual and easy, just remember that for your brain it’s quite a dance to keep up with this conversation. It stimulates your memory function so much more than you realize.
Projects and Games…But Not All the Same.
Are brain intensive games and projects good for keeping up memory? Yes, just don’t spend too much time on any one. It has been found that the first five to seven minutes of a brain game or activity are the most effective, and from there the benefits go downhill. A multitude of websites exist which allow you to play these games.
Also take into account how familiar a game is to you and how much you enjoy it. Studies show games that you are least familiar with and enjoy improve memory most. This also applies to projects you may begin, such as:
- Learning a musical instrument
- Taking a course at your local college
- Cooking a new food
- Driving somewhere you have not driven before
You are maximizing the extent to which you are able to stretch your mind by taking part in something that gets you both curious and passionate.
Want to be as Sharp as a Snake? Watch Your Intake!
What we take into our bodies plays a role in memory retention.
- When it comes to food, there are ways to keep our brain cells fresh and prevent them from “rusting.” The ideal way is to stick to the classic Mediterranean diet, which includes fruits, vegetables, fish, healthy oils (e.g., olive oil) and modest amounts of alcohol (particularly wine). These ingredients tend to positively impact our cardiovascular health which, in turn, improves memory. The main thing to avoid taking in is an excess amount of calories and sugar.
- Drink some but not too much alcohol. One or two drinks with dinner is fine, especially if it’s red wine, but exceeding this could contribute to loss of brain cells.
- Smoking can set brains up for trouble. It can lead to vascular disorders, which can cause stroke and slow down the flow of oxygen to the brain.
Now That You Know, Don’t Let Your Mind Go.
One more strategy we have not yet touched upon is using mnemonic devices to remember things – acronyms are extremely helpful mnemonic tools, as are rhymes. Notice how we subtitled each section of this article with a rhyme? This is to help you better easily recall the information after you are done reading.
Join the conversation. Share your experiences, your advice or anything brain-stimulating! Bring our tips into your own life or into the life of someone you are close to. Do it today so that tomorrow, you will remember the joys of yesterday.