“Memory is a way of holding on to the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.” – Kevin Arnold
It’s true. Our memories are what shape us. As we get older it becomes increasingly challenging to remember information that was once considered a no brainer. As kids, being able to recall all of our friend’s phone numbers and the lyrics to our favorite songs was no big deal. I don’t know about you, but lately I find it a challenge just to remember someone’s name five minutes after meeting them. I did some research and there ARE ways we can train our brain’s memory capacity.
When you exercise your body, you exercise your brain. Physical exercise increases the oxygen flow to your brain and reduces the risk of memory loss, heart disease, and diabetes. According to the Center for Disease Prevention, exercise may also enhance the effects of helpful brain chemicals and protect brain cells. Exercise combined with a nutritious diet nurtures the brain in a way that increases your ability to remember.
When you are sleep deprived, your brain does not function at its full capacity. Research shows that sleep is necessary for memory consolidation. Memory-enhancing activity occurs during the deepest stages of sleep.
Diet Tips: Omega-3 fatty acids boost energy and memory power and enhance learning ability. Salmon, tuna, halibut, citrus fruits, nuts, and blueberries are great memory enhancing foods. Limited saturated fat and red wine in moderation!
Humans are very social creatures. We are meant to thrive and interact. Believe it or not, relationships, and interacting with others, stimulate the brain and enhance memory. Whether you join a club, volunteer, or make a point to socialize with friends on a regular basis, being social is important to memory retention. A recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that people with the most active social lives had the slowest rate of memory decline.
Key Tip: Laugh as often as possible!
3. Control Stress
Stress is one of the brains biggest enemies. Stress, unmanaged, destroys brain cells and damages the region of the brain involved in the formation of new memories and the retrieval of old ones. Weekly yoga classes, meditation, time management…whatever it takes, do not let stress get the best of you.
4. Workout your Brain
Engaging in activities that you are very familiar with and good at will not exercise your brain. It’s important to try new activities as often as possible. Get out of your comfort zone. Anything that takes mental effort such as: crossword puzzles, Sudoku, playing an instrument, etc. will expand your knowledge.
Quick Tips for Remembering:
1. When you meet someone for the first time say their name out loud. “It’s nice to meet you Sarah.”
2. Use as many senses as possible. Relate information to colors, textures, smells, and tastes.
3. Rehearse what you’ve learned the same day you learn it and at intervals thereafter. Cramming is not an effective way to retain information.