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6 Ways to Enhance Memory
You’ve heard the saying, “Use it or lose it?” Well, when it comes to brain power, this is true. Scientists now know that the human mind is ‘neuroplastic,’ meaning it can change and adapt. The brain can actually be trained to remember more and for longer amounts of time. This guide allows you to discover ways to improve your memory, enhance cognition, and become a better thinker. If you have been wondering how to enhance memory, try these 6 ways today and start making memories.
1. Don’t Skimp on Sleep or Exercise
Two things the brain needs for optimal memory is sleep and exercise. For sleep, researchers found that the magic number for sleep is 7 ½ hours each night. Any more does not help, and less causes thinking problems. During sleep, your mind rests and recharges for the next day. Exercise, on the other hand, gets the blood pumping and oxygen flowing to the brain. Increased oxygen allows you to problem-solve and critically think. Try to get 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three or four days each week for good brain health.
2. Foster Health Relationships
Humans are social creatures. Isolation leads to memory loss and decreased cognition. Relationships stimulate the mind and provide boosts to emotional well-being. So, have some friends over and play Charades, Scrabble, or Pictionary. Also, volunteer, join a club, or take a class. The Harvard School of Public Health researchers recently found that participants in their study, who had the most active social lives, had the slowest rate of memory decline.
3. Laugh a Little
You may have been told that “laughter is the best medicine.” Well, when it comes to brain health, this is true! Psychologists found that listening to jokes and comprehending the punch lines stimulate the areas of the brain responsible for creativity and learning. In his book Emotional Intelligence, psychologist Daniel Goleman reports that laughter helps people “think more broadly and associate more freely.” So, go ahead, laugh it up.
4. Don’t Get Stressed
It’s difficult to avoid stress, especially if you have a career and family. Experts warn, however, that chronic, prolonged stress injures brain cells and damages the hippocampus, the portion of the brain involved with memory. The best way to combat stress is to meditate. Meditation wards off many chronic diseases like heart disease, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Scientists also found that meditation changes the actual brain structure. MRI images show that steady meditators have more wave activity in the left prefrontal cortex, the region of the brain associated with happiness and equanimity. Another benefit of meditation is that it increases the thickness of the brain’s cortex which in turn enhances mental clarity and memory ability.
5. Eat Brain-Boosting Foods
Think of your body as a Corvette and your brain is the engine. Just like a well-built car, your brain needs fuel. Researchers found that for brain health and fitness, you should eat foods with omega-3 fatty acids. These are found in fresh water fish like salmon, sardines, trout, mackerel, and tuna. In addition to enhancing memory and improving cognition, eating fish lowers your risk for Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new research study. Another great product for your mind is green tea. Green tea contains polyphenols, antioxidants that protect brain cells against free radicals. Finally, for mental energy, eat complex carbohydrates and proteins. These foods prevent against blood sugar drops that can leave you feeling irritable and confused.
6. Workout Your Brain
Memory is much like muscular strength. It requires you to exercise or you lose mass. This is why exercising your brain is vital for memory enhancement. Some things you could do include crossword puzzles, memorizing a poem, learning a new language, or taking an educational class. The more you use your mind, the better your memory gets.