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How to Increase Memory Power: 6 No-nonsense Brain-boosting Techniques
For whatever reason, we all want our memory to always be in tip-top condition. That’s why it’s so common for people to find ways on how to increase memory power—most even resort to falling prey to modern-day snake oil salesmen who peddle “magic pills” for memory enhancement. But while these “pills” may be of dubious benefit to our brain and memory, the following six sure-fire tips to enhance our ability to retain and retrieve stored information have been proven to work wonders.
1. Watch what you eat
On one hand, the brain needs and uses fuel—lots of it. On the other hand, not all types of food are equal in terms of providing ample nourishment to the brain. There are those that contain nutrients that sufficiently feed the brain, while there are those that contain substances that are not only useless, but are also harmful to the brain. Generally, any diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables (the more colorful, the better) and nuts are great. The Japanese keep it simple: they make it a point to have five colors of food on their plate to ensure a completely nourishing meal. Drinking green tea is also good. On the other hand, keep your consumption of saturated fat or any high-calorie food as minimal as possible—such foods have been linked to cognitive impairment in older adults.
2. Sweat it out
When you exercise, you pump more blood—and oxygen—to the brain. Physical activity—even the moderate kind—can also cause the release of a number of pleasure-inducing neurochemicals, all of which serve in one way or another in enhancing our brain’s processing capabilities and memory retention. Well, aside from keeping our memory in good condition, exercise can also keep other dangerous diseases (such as diabetes or heart disease) at bay.
3. Sleep on it
Remember those times when you couldn’t solve a puzzle or find a solution to a problem, only to find the right solution occur to you during breakfast, akin to a light bulb lighting up in your head? Sleep works wonders on your brain and memory—not getting enough sleep can seriously degrade your brain’s ability to process and retain information, so much that even if you chug down as many “memory enhancing pills” as you can, they still won’t work as effectively as having enough sleep.
4. Have fun
Make friends, go out with people you like and who also like you. Healthy interpersonal relationships have been shown to have a great effect in the maintenance of mental health, mainly because human beings are essentially “social animals”—in isolation, disconnected from others, our faculties tend to wither away. No less than the results of a study from the Harvard School of Public Health show that those who are most active socially have the slowest rate (if there’s any, at all) of cognitive decline. To jumpstart on acquiring more friends, join a club, volunteer. At least get a dog—having a pet also helps, too.
5. Laugh a lot
When we laugh, our entire brain is engaged. In fact, if you’d look at the neuroscan of a brain of a person laughing, the brain’s internal reaction is comparable to that of a Christmas light. Of the many methods on how to increase memory power, having and enjoying a good laugh is probably the easiest—you can pop in a hilarious movie in your DVD player, for starters. Or visit a local stand-up comedy bar. When it comes to seeking out sources of laughter, we actually have many modern options. At the very least, you can order a streaming video of the latest episode of Saturday Night Live.
6. Practice meditation
Engaging in meditation, at least a few minutes each day, can also greatly enhance your memory. In fact, in most of the “how to increase memory power” guides you’ll find everywhere, you will almost always find meditation in everyone’s list. And for good reason: meditation has been proven to make actual changes in the brain. Several studies have demonstrated how regular meditation can actually increase the brain’s neuroplasticity, gray matter and white matter—producing the overall effect of keeping the brain as healthy and well-functioning as possible.