We all want to live a long and fruitful life, and if we want to hold on to what we’ve experienced and accomplished, we need to ensure that we’re doing what we can to keep our memories intact.
In this blog, we’ll cover five ways you can preserve or improve your memory.
1. Exercise your brain
Our brains are the organs of the mind, and just as we exercise to keep our hearts beating and muscles fit, we need to give our brains good fuel. Reading, doing mind puzzles, playing games, learning how to play musical instruments, and socializing are some good places to start.
To test your memory of specific information, there are several tricks you can use to strengthen your mental function:
- Keep routine information accessible using address books, calendars, file folders, lists, or planners.
- Remove as much clutter from your physical space as possible and have designated places for important items like keys.
- Use mnemonic devices like songs, jokes, rhymes, your own memories, or acronyms to remember lists, like “SMART goals,” which stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.
- Visual aids like photographs, charts, or drawing your own figures helps to retain information.
- Read information out loud.
- Don’t cram, repeat: Difficult information requires properly timed repetition to remember. Revisit the info over a longer period such as over an hour, a few hours, and then daily—to help you master complicated information.
2. Get good sleep
Getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night helps our brains to create and store memories. Disrupting our natural sleep cycle interrupts the memory creation process, and can lead to cognitive impairments down the road.
Research even shows that taking a nap after you learn something new can actually help you learn faster and remember better.
3. Eat clean
We know that a healthy diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is good for our body, but it’s also good for our brains. Studies have found that those who ate more fruits and vegetables (which are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory) had lower risks of cognitive decline and dementia compared to those who consumed less of these foods. Low fat protein sources, curcumin, cocoa, caffeine, and vitamin D-rich foods are also good. Avoid high calorie diets as they can impair memory, possibly due to inflammation in the brain.
Avoid refined carbohydrates like cereal, white bread, cakes and cookies, white rice and other sugary foods and beverages as they may lead to chronic diseases and other conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease—and excessive use of alcohol and drugs, as that leads to confusion and memory loss.
4. Stay physically active
Physical activity increases blood circulation to our entire bodies, including our minds. Studies have established obesity as a risk factor for cognitive decline, as it can cause changes to memory-associated genes in the brain, and lead to insulin resistance and inflammation, both of which can negatively impact the brain.
Regular exercise reduces our risk of cognitive decline as we age and protects our brains from degeneration. Aerobic activities include walking, running, hiking, swimming, dancing, and other high cardio sports.
5. Practice mindfulness
It’s easy to say that the more we stay focused and attentive, the better our brains will be over time, but hard to put into practice—that’s where mindfulness practices come in. When you’re trying to learn something new, try your best to be somewhere free of distractions such as TV, music, and people.
Also, the more senses we use in learning something, the more our brain is involved in retaining the memory. You can check out our 5 Senses Exercise which helps to manage stress.
Relaxation techniques like breathwork and meditation are not only soothing, but have been found to reduce stress and pain, lower blood pressure, and improve memory. When we age, our gray matter, which contains neuron cell bodies, declines, which negatively impacts memory and cognition, but meditation increases gray matter. Other mindfulness practices like maintaining awareness of your surroundings and feelings and focusing on the present situation lower stress, improve concentration and memory, and are linked with a lower risk of age-related cognitive decline. Sign up to our newsletter for a chance to win one of our custom mindfulness journals, which have more tips.
Finally, think young! The younger you feel, the younger your brain will be. The compounds found in HAVN Life’s natural health products like Bacopa Brain are made to support memory, focus, energy, and overall cognitive function, helping you achieve peak performance in your daily life.
There are many more ways you can sustain your memory. Using these 5 memory-improving tips as a foundation, try your best to keep chronic conditions—especially neurodegenerative diseases—at bay and keep your memory intact as long as possible.