If you want to improve your memory, there are many things you can do. Exercises, social activities, good emotions and vitamins can help to improve your mental abilities. More after the break.
They say that a person is the summation of his or her memories, and in a sense they are correct. The past is what, in many regards, defines us as individuals. It is what has shaped who are today. As the average human lifespan increases, so do the amount of memories that an elderly person has.
Unfortunately, brain function begins to decline sharply in middle age. To combat this assault on your short and long term memory, there are a number of steps you can take. Unlike a static computer system, your brain has an amazing ability called neuroplasticity. This allows it to create new neural pathways, alter existing ones, and adapt to ever changing circumstances.
Improving The Memory With Exercises
Just like a body builder needs proper exercise and rest to enhance their muscles, so too do you need exercise and rest to make your brain stronger. Exercise increases the amount of oxygen sent to your brain and minimizes the risk for disorders that can harm it. It has also been shown to enhance the existing functionality of the brain.
Sleep is when your brain consolidates short term memories into long term memories. A lack of sleep means your brain cannot operate at even close to full capacity. Theoretically, if you never slept, very few of your memories would ever be retained. Proper rest is crucial for both short and long term memories.
Socialize For A Better Memory
Contrary to popular belief, activities that are extremely stimulating to the brain are not necessarily the best way to improve its function.
Playing chess or solving a complex puzzle can indeed help your cognitive function, but so can simply conversing with friends. As social creatures, we are not meant to live in isolation. Much research has shown that elderly retirees who cut off contact with the world quickly fall into dementia.
In a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, those with the healthiest and most frequent social interactions experienced the slowest rates of memory decline. Join a club, maintain ties with old friends, and go out into the world; it’ll pay you back in spades. If humans aren’t always handy, a pet (especially a dog) will do.
Emotions and Foods Can Help Your Memory
Your emotional state tremendously affects your brain. Laughter, for example, has been shown to activate several regions across the brain. It is an emotional and social experience that can help release positive chemicals into the brain’s neural pathways while at the same time challenging it.
Stress, on the other hand, is to be avoided. Chronic stress can significantly damage the hippocampus, the region of the brain charged with forming new memories and retrieving old ones. Whenever possible, avoid stress. Especially for long periods of time.
Omega-3 fatty acids (especially DHA) have been shown to boost and maintain brain function. Avoid foods high in saturated fats, and eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible. These are generally high in antioxidants that protect your brain from damaging free radicals. If necessary, take a multivitamin every day. There are some specifically formulated for memory.