04 August 2012

How to Improve Your Memory

Memory, as discussed in other posts of mine, is a remarkable thing. We have the ability to recall and remember so much information - so it's not surprising that a lot of people want to know how to improve it.
Whilst at times our memories can seem temperamental, they are a vital part of us, to sustain who we are - our character, our identity.

A strong memory can be achieved by the majority of people, with like most things some tips that will be needed to be stuck to. Improving ones memory does take some time but will be worth it in the end. 
Regardless of age (excluding very young children and babies), from students, to bank managers, to more senior-aged people, these tips are simple and effective for all.

In this post, I won't be discussing about memory techniques you can use to help with actual memorisation, but the core life habits to improve memory itself - or keep it at its most optimal state. 

1. Get enough sleep

Sleep is a vital part of memory, not only allowing your mind to recharge but also allowing your mind to, embed as it were, the things memorised for the day. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation can have negative effects on a persons memory, decreasing a persons short-term and long-term memory. It is best to get seven or more hours, but too much sleep can also be detrimental, so be careful.
I previously wrote a post: The Functions of Sleep if you want to know more about the role sleep plays on our mind.

2. Reduce stress

Too much stress is harmful for the mind and can make remembering things harder than before. Chronic stress has been shown to have a negative affect on the hippocampus. Of course there is a limit to how much stress can be removed from ones life, as stressful situations are bound to appear regularly, however, there are ways to help keep them under control.
Here's a previous blog post of mine: The Common Causes of Stress and How to Deal with it.

3. Exercise

Exercising on a regular basis is not only great for your overall health, but also for your brain. When exercising, circulation is improved and more oxygen is transported to the brain. Something as simple as this can help ward-off memory loss that is so common with ageing.

4. Eat and drink healthy

To get your mind to reach its most optimal level, nutrition is of vital importance to sustain it with the minerals and vitamins it needs to stay healthy. Fruits and vegetables are great for providing the nutritional properties that your brain will benefit from. Also, omega-3 is also very beneficial for your brain. You can find omega-3 in fish which is good for you anyway.

On the other side to eating healthy, try to avoid saturated fat and limit your calorie intake, as-well as this, limit alcohol consumption.

Two previous posts of mine discuss the benefits of fruits and veg. These are: The Benefits of Individual Fruits (Part 1) and The Benefits of Individual Vegetables (Part 1).

5. Exercise your mind

As well as physical exercise, mental exercise is also of great use to keep your mind in good shape. Doing different types of mental activities promotes the development of nerve connections which can help to improve memory. If you have things that you have memorised (for example; countries and their capitals), try and review them regularly. A variety of different mental exercises is the best thing to do as it causes your mind to think differently and use different parts of the brain.

Some of these exercises could be: learning to play some music, learning a language, writing stories, sudoku, word-searches, crosswords, mathematical games, puzzles, and anything else that engages your mind like these do.
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