People worldwide spend millions of dollars each year trying to improve their bodies and their lives. Whether it is self-help courses, plastic surgery, or furthering their education, it’s apparent that most people have a desire to become the best possible person they can be.
One trait that is sometimes overlooked but extremely important to success and enjoyment in life is memory. The human brain’s ability to remember things that happened in the past and learn from mistakes is one characteristic that has set the human species apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. Mastering your memory means better job opportunities, more income, and an improved sense of well-being.
You probably stumbled across this article in search of ways to improve your memory. The good news is that this is not very hard to do. Thanks to the brain’s ability to adapt and change (known as neuroplasticity), you can increase your memory capacity and improve your ability to access these memories when needed.
The following tips are quick ways to Improve Your Memory Now.
Sleep & Exercise
It’s no secret that exercise improves physical conditioning. What you may not know is that physical exercise also improves brain function. When you exercise, an increased supply of oxygen is provided to your brain that helps increase memory performance and the positive effects of neuroplasticity.
This increased oxygen supply to the brain also reduces the risk for disorders that can adversely affect your memory including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Chemicals such as endorphins that are released during exercise are also thought to have a beneficial effect on memory capacity and overall brain function.
Fit for Life is a great course that teaches you how to incorporate exercise into your daily routine successfully.
You might think that staying up all night to cram for a test is the best way to remember everything you’ve learned. Unfortunately, this does not work. Research has shown that sleep is a necessary part of the memory consolidation process as well. Many of the key components of memory storage take place during the deepest stages (REM) of sleep.
One technique that is beginning to gain popularity as a memory enhancing tool is known as mind mapping. A mind map is a cross between an outline and a picture that represents the way the brain normally functions.
Since mind maps only contain keywords, the information is easier to remember. These key words and ideas are associated with one another through the mind map’s easy to remember, visual format. Colors and images also help to stimulate your brain and improve memory function and creativity.
For a full lesson on mind mapping, check out Mind Maps and Mind Mapping.
Keep Stress under Control
You may be under the impression that stress is simply, well…stressful. You would be right – stress is an uncomfortable feeling for everyone. But chronic stress can have much more serious consequences. Brain cells can be destroyed and the hippocampus can be damaged. The hippocampus is the part of the brain where new memories are formed an old ones are retrieved.
There are many ways to relieve stress depending on the severity of the stress and various other factors. One of the best ways to reduce stress (and a host of other mental conditions) is meditation.
Meditation can be as simple as five minutes of your time in the morning before you begin your daily routine and can have a significant impact on stress levels throughout the day. Meditation for Stress teaches two easy meditation techniques that help reduce stress without consuming a lot of your time.
There are certain foods that have been scientifically proven to provide benefits to your memory and overall brain function. Consuming recommended amounts of these food items on a regular basis can significantly improve your memory function and actually lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish, walnuts, kidney and pinto beans, spinach, and broccoli; improving brain health when consumed. Cold water “fatty fish” such as salmon, tuna, trout, and herring are especially high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Antioxidants are also extremely important for brain health and memory improvement. Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants that protect brain cells from damage. Green tea contains polyphenols that protect against free radicals that can damage brain cells. Regular consumption of green tea has been proven to slow brain aging and improve mental alertness.
Heavy alcohol consumption has a negative effect on memory because it kills brain cells in high concentrations. In moderation, however, alcohol can actually improve memory. Red wine is one of the best options because it is rich in resveratrol; a flavonoid responsible for boosting blood flow to the brain.
The positive side effects of physical exercise have already been mentioned. However, you should also consider your brain a muscle that needs its own exercise. Memory requires that you use it for it to stay strong and sharp.
Any activity that challenges hand-eye coordination, spatial-temporal reasoning, or creativity are all excellent ways to exercise your brain. Examples might include playing an instrument, participating in sporting events, or juggling. Anything that challenges your brain is good for it and ultimately for your memory.
You may be thinking that you cannot improve your memory because it has never been good or because you are getting older or pretty much any other reason you can think of. In all of these cases, you are wrong. The brain’s neuroplasticity does not dissipate with time meaning that you can improve your memory now regardless of health, age, etc.
A healthy diet, a combination of physical and brain exercise, and techniques like mind mapping all pave the way for you to improve your memory and your life.