Memory loss is something most people attribute to aging, but the truth is that I’m not very old.
My memory might not be what it used to be, but the reasons for that—or the memory loss you might be experiencing—have nothing to do with age. Instead, memory loss has plenty do with our lifestyles.
For example—I almost always forget to put my groceries away. When I walk in the front door after a day at work, I’m thinking five things: take my shoes off, remove my headphones, take my coat off, say “hi” to my wife, and go to the bathroom.
My groceries end up on the bench near the entrance, and it’s not until someone else sees them that they get put away! I have too much on my mind at times.
If you want to maintain—or better yet, improve—your memory, here are some of the most important things you can do:
4 Techniques to Help Boost Memory, Improve Memory Loss
1. Stop Multitasking:
If you can relate to my grocery story, like forgetting where you put your keys, for example, it’s probably because you’re trying to do too much at once. There is research indicating that it takes about eight seconds to form a new memory, so if your mind is elsewhere you’re far more likely to forget. Instead of doing too many things at once, slow down and focus your attention.
Taking 10 to 15 minutes per day to practice completely undistracted mindfulness or meditation can help improve memory and cognitive function.
2. Eat Right:
Diet can play a big role in memory, and the Standard American Diet, unfortunately, can be harmful to your mental prowess. Eating plenty of vegetables and healthy fats may be important to memory and cognitive function, because they are rich in brain-healthy nutrients and antioxidants. Items such as broccoli, cauliflower, coconut oil, almonds, curry, and walnuts are all great options that may improve memory.
Foods that improve gut bacteria—such as those high in fiber and probiotics—might also help improve brain health, so include things like oats, whole grains, whole fruits, veggies, and kefir.
Activity is also great for brain function because it stimulates the communication between neurons and strengthens their connections. During exercise, your body produces proteins and chemicals that promote brain health and have direct benefits to help improve learning and memory.
4. Stay Stimulated:
I also think it’s true that part of the reason our memories weaken a bit with age is that we’re no longer learning new things. It’s so easy to get stuck in a routine—work, television, repeat—that we don’t make time for discovery. To combat this, try doing some more reading, adopting a new hobby, or making more of an effort to understand your surroundings. Stimulating your brain with new information can get the neurons firing so you stay sharp!
Remember—memory loss has plenty do with our lifestyles. Try following the helpful tips above; they might prove beneficial in improving your memory.
Sources for Today’s Article:
Mrazek, M. D., “Mindfulness training improves working memory capacity and GRE performance while reducing mind wandering,” Psychological Science, 2013 May;24(5):776-81. doi: 10.1177/0956797612459659, Epub 2013 Mar 28; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23538911, last accessed April 19, 2016.
Gutman, S. A., “The neurological basis of occupation,” Occupational Therapy International, 2007;14(2):71-85; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17623380, last accessed April 19, 2016.
Geda Y. E., “Engaging in cognitive activities, aging, and mild cognitive impairment: a population-based study,” Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 2011 Spring;23(2):149-54. doi: 10.1176/appi.neuropsych.23.2.149, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21677242, last accessed April 19, 2016.
“Boost Your Memory by Eating Right,” Harvard Health Publications web site, August 1, 2012; http://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/boost-your-memory-by-eating-right, last accessed April 19, 2016.
Reynods, G., “Getting a Brain Boost Through Exercise,” New York Times web site, April 10, 2013; http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/10/how-exercise-may-boost-the-brain/, last accessed April 19, 2016.