Forgetting comes naturally when we get older or when life gets too busy. Maybe you can’t remember where you left your car keys or the name of the person you just met. Blanking out during a test? Having those “it’s at the tip of my tongue” moments more often? These are totally normal situations, but let’s admit it: having poor memory can be frustrating.
Fortunately, there are many natural and practical ways to keep your memory intact as you age, improve your mental function, or simply sharpen your mind. Below, we’ve compiled a few tips and strategies to enhance your mind.
1. Create an Exercise Routine that Works for You and Stick to it
Living a sedentary lifestyle isn’t good for your brain. Exercise is one of the most natural ways to improve blood circulation, and this is important because it directly affects your memory performance and cognitive abilities. Several scientific studies like this one by University of Mississippi researchers have proved that regular exercise has a very positive effect on memory improvement.
Most adults need at least 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, such as jogging or swimming. Alternatively, you can do 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic exercise, such as riding a bike on level ground, brisk walking, or going up and down the stairs. Make sure not to concentrate these minutes on one specific day. It’s best to spread your activities throughout the week!
If you’re too busy for a full workout, try squeezing in a few 10-minute walks throughout the day.
2. Follow a Brain-Boosting Diet
Your brain needs fuel just like your body does! It goes without saying that choosing nutritious food over sticking to a sugar-laden diet will have a positive impact on your health and boost your memory.
Add omega-3 fatty acids to your diet if you haven’t already. Fish like salmon, tuna, halibut, trout, sardines, and mackerel are particularly beneficial for brain health. Not a fan of seafood? No worries! You can get omega-3 from spinach, soybeans, kidney and pinto beans, broccoli, seaweeds, and ground flaxseed.
Remember to eat more fruits and vegetables! Antioxidants help shield your brain cells from damage, and fruits and vegetables are packed with them.
3. Keep Stress At Bay
Your brain’s arch nemesis is stress. Chronic stress gradually destroys brain cells and damages your hippocampus, the part of your brain responsible for creating new memories and retrieving old ones. Chronic stress has also been linked to brain inflammation and consequently, memory loss. So if you’re experiencing memory issues recently due to your daily work and life routine, then you’re stressed and it’s time to pause and make adjustments.
To manage stress, create self-care rituals. This can look like taking breaks throughout the day or finding a quiet place to meditate. It would be best to strike a healthy balance between your professional and personal lives. Make time for your favorite hobbies, such as watching a movie, reading, or doing an art project.
Lastly, go easy on yourself. Regardless of how hard you try, accept that you can’t do everything perfectly.
4. Socialize Often
It’s easy to think that improving memory involves serious activities such as solving one crossword puzzle after another or mastering chess. While these are great activities to exercise your brain, there are other ways to give it the boost it needs.
As humans, we’re all highly social creatures. We weren’t meant to live, let alone thrive, in isolation. Relationships stimulate our brains—in fact, social interaction may provide the best kind of brain exercise.
Having a solid support network is essential for emotional and mental well-being. So join a club, volunteer, or make it a point to see or talk to your friends more often—in person or over the phone.
So what does the science say? Many studies have shown that socializing protects against memory loss, especially in the elderly. Some studies even go as far as claiming that socializing is “key” to protecting against dementia and Alzheimer’s.
5. Find Out if You Have Any Underlying Health Issues and Address Them
Do you feel like your memory has taken an unexplainable dip? If so, a lifestyle or health problem may be causing it.
Memory loss can occur for other reasons besides Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Numerous illnesses, mental health conditions, and medications can affect your memory.
Watch out for the following:
- Cardiovascular diseases. Cardiovascular disease and its risk factors, such as high blood pressure and excessive cholesterol, have all been related to mild cognitive impairment.
- Diabetes. People with diabetes face a much higher rate of cognitive impairment than people without the condition.
- Hormone imbalance. Menopausal women often develop memory issues due to a dip in their estrogen. As for men, low testosterone can cause memory issues. Thyroid imbalances can also cause confusion, slow thinking, and forgetfulness.
- Medications. Many prescription and over-the-counter drugs can impair memory and clear thinking. Some typical offenders include medications for colds and allergies, sleep aids, and antidepressants. Talk to your physician or pharmacist if you experience any adverse effects.
You’ll need the services of a qualified doctor if you find yourself in this category. Don’t resort to looking for quick solutions on the internet in the form of ‘memory supplements’ and the like, as almost all of them are scams designed to waste your time and limited resources in exchange for false hope and promises.
6. Exercise Your Brain
It would be nice to have the same brain power as we did when we were younger. The thing is that by the time you reach adulthood, your brain has created millions of neural pathways that facilitate speedy information processing and recall, solve familiar problems, and execute routine tasks with the least amount of mental effort.
However, if you consistently follow these well-traveled roads, your brain won’t receive the stimulation it needs to continue expanding and maturing. That’s why you need to mix things up every now and then!
The more you exercise your brain, the better you’ll be able to comprehend and recall information. So consider learning a new skill you’ve always wanted to try, such as pottery making, speaking a new language, juggling, dancing the tango, or mastering your golf swing.
Any of these pursuits, so long as they keep you engaged and challenged, can help you improve your memory.
Better Memory For A Better Life
A few simple and easy changes to your lifestyle can make a big difference in your brain’s performance. At the end of the day, the most important thing you can do to strengthen your memory is to take good care of yourself by eating a balanced diet, exercising frequently, and managing stress.
If you’re worried about memory loss—especially if it makes it difficult for you to carry out your daily tasks—make sure to seek professional help.
For more practical health and nutrition advice, check out Contra Health Scam’s Health Info &Tips section!