How To Train Your Memory
Memory is the part of cognitive ability that ensures the storage and recollection of information. Thanks to it, we learn, develop, improve, gain experience and are who we are.
The article outlines ways to sharpen your mind, improve your mental functions, and maintain your mind for years.
How To Improve Mental Ability At Any Age
Excellent memory depends on the health of your brain and health.
Whether you are a student studying for final exams; a working professional who wants to do everything possible to keep a sharp mind; or a person who wants to maintain and improve their memory abilities – you can do a lot to improve memory and mental (mental, cognitive) performance.
You may have heard the saying that we cannot teach an old dog new tricks. But for the brain, scientists have found that this saying is not true. The human brain has an amazing ability to adapt and change – even in old age.
This ability is called neuroplasticity. With the right stimuli, your brain can make new connections to nerve cells, change existing ones, and adapt and respond to ever-changing conditions.
The brain’s incredible ability to transform itself is true for learning and memory. We each can use the power of our brain’s neuroplasticity to increase cognitive ability, enhance the ability to learn additional information, and improve memory at any age.
Here are suggestions on how to do this.
Train Your Brain
By the time they reach adulthood, the human brain has formed billions of nerve cells that help it quickly process and recall information, solve a variety of problems, and perform routine tasks with minimal mental effort.
But if you always use these well-known pathways to operate, so to speak, on “autopilot,” you are not stimulating the brain enough to continue to grow and develop.
Memory, like muscle strength, needs to be trained! Here the principle works – use or lose. The more you train your brain, the better you will process and remember information. But not all activities are equally effective.
The best brain exercises are those that interrupt your routine and challenge you to exercise and make new brain cell connections. Some suggestions:
- Learn something new – no matter how intellectual this activity will be – if it’s something new, it’s already good. Something you already understand will not be good for this purpose. The activity should be outside your comfort zone. Learn new skills and abilities!
- Challenge the brain – good brain-promoting activities are those that require your full and undivided attention. It is not enough if at some point the activity seemed difficult to you. It must still be something that requires mental effort. For example, the effect is when you learn to play a new complex piece. However, if you play a complex piece that you have already memorized before, it will not promote memory training.
- Skills that can be developed in depth – look for activities that will allow you to start at the simplest level and move forward as your skills improve – always push the boundaries so that you can continue to develop your abilities. When the previously difficult level seems comfortable to you – it means that it is time to move to a higher level of difficulty.
- Use alternative routes – when you go to work, with good friends or to the store by car, bicycle or on foot, try to create more and more alternative routes to your destination.
- Satisfaction – Awards promote the brain’s learning process. The more interested and satisfied you feel during a particular activity, the more likely you are to continue doing it, and the greater the benefits you will gain. So choose activities that not only challenge you but also provide pleasure and satisfaction.
Imagine something new that you’ve always wanted to try, like learning to play guitar, make pottery, juggle, play chess, speak French or dance the tango.
Any of these activities can help improve your memory, as long as it makes you challenge and engage.
Today, there are countless applications and online applications that promise to improve memory, improve problem-solving skills, increase attention, and even raise IQ levels.
But does it really work? More and more evidence is revealing that no. Although these “memory training” programs can improve temporary memory, they do not promote or improve general intelligence, memory, or other cognitive abilities.
Do Not Give Up Physical Exercises!
Physical activity helps keep the mind sharp by improving microcirculation, increasing the supply of oxygen to the brain and reducing the risk of diseases such as diabetes and arterial hypertension, which contribute to the development of memory problems.
Regular physical activity reduces the release of stress hormones, promotes the development of certain chemicals in the brain, and increases neuroplasticity, which improves cognitive function.
Exercises to improve brain function:
- Aerobic exercises (running, walking, cycling, brisk walking, swimming) allow the heart to pump blood better and are healthy not only for the heart but also for the brain;
- Physical activity in the morning not only helps you wake up, but also prepares your brain for the learning or work process during the day;
- Exercises that require eye-arm coordination or complex motor skills are especially valuable for brain training;
- Switching to short exercise breaks during the day allows your brain to switch and relax, thus helping to avoid mental overload and fatigue. Even a short walk, a few squats or jumps will help your brain restart.
There is a difference between the amount of sleep you can get and the amount you need to function best. Adults need 7.5-9 hours of sleep each night to avoid sleep deprivation.
Saving even a few hours has a detrimental effect on your memory, creativity, problem-solving and critical thinking. During the deep sleep phases, the information obtained during the day is stored in long-term memory.
- Regular sleep – go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning, including holidays and public holidays.
- Avoid using smart devices for at least an hour before bed, as TVs, tablets, phones, and computers emit blue light, which causes alertness and suppresses the release of the hormone melatonin, which normally makes you sleepy.
- Reduce the amount of caffeine! Caffeine affects people differently. Some people are very sensitive to it, so even morning coffee can interfere with their sleep at night.
Time For Friends and Enjoying Life
Techniques for improving memory are not limited to serious activities, such as learning chess strategies or solving crossword puzzles of the highest difficulty.
These are certainly also “frivolous” processes. Regular communication with pleasant people and like-minded people, living a life full of moments of joy, will give you an improvement in cognitive abilities.
Man is a social being. We are not meant to survive and cannot grow in isolation. Relationships stimulate our brains – in fact, interacting with other people can provide the best brain exercise.
Studies have concluded that the existence of significant friendly relationships and a vital support system has a major impact not only on emotional health but also on brain health.
We have found that memory deteriorates the slowest in people with active socialization in actual life.
Controll Your Stress Levels!
Stress is one of the most vicious enemies of the brain.
Over time, chronic stress destroys brain cells and damages the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved in building recent memories and reproducing old ones.
In studies, we associate stress with memory loss.
Stress management techniques:
- Set realistic expectations and goals (and be prepared to say no!);
- Take breaks throughout the day;
- Express your emotions, not keep them quiet.
- Strike a healthy balance between work and leisure;
- Focus on one task, not multiple tasks at once.
Surely you have heard that laughter is the best medicine, and this truth applies to memory, the brain, and physical health.
Unlike emotional reactions, which only affect certain areas of the brain, laughter involves several areas of the brain at the same time.
Listening to jokes and joking on your own activates areas of the brain that are closely linked to learning and creativity.
That’s why laughter helps people think more widely and communicate more freely.
Some tips on how to bring more laughter into your life.
- Laugh at yourself! Share your awkward moments. The best way to take ourselves less seriously is to talk about episodes where we took ourselves too seriously.
- When you hear laughter, head towards it! Most people are content to share something amusing because it gives them a chance to laugh again and share the fun. When you hear laughter, look for the source and try to join the fun company.
- Spend time with fun and attractive people! These are people who laugh easily both about themselves and about the nonsense of life. Usually they find humor in everyday situations. Their playful views and laughter are contagious.
- Place reminders around you to have fun! Keep a toy on your desk or in the car. At work, put a poster on the wall with fun content. Choose a computer screensaver that makes you smile. Frame photos of you and your loved one’s having fun.
- Learn from children – they are masters of play and laughter! They teach us how to take life easily.
Eat a Diet That Stimulates the Brain!
The brain, like the entire body, needs “fuel” to function properly. A healthy diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats (olive oil, fatty fish, nuts), protein, has a positive effect not only on overall health but also improves memory. What you eat is important for brain health.
Dietary tips that will boost your brain and reduce your risk of developing dementia:
- Omega-3 is found in large amounts in fatty ocean fish, so we recommend it to eat salmon, tuna, halibut, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines. If you are not a fish lover, omega-3 can be taken by eating seaweed, walnuts, ground linseed, linseed oil, kidney, spinach, broccoli, pinto beans, pumpkin seeds, soybeans;
- Limit calorie intake and saturated fatty acid intake – a diet high in saturated fatty acids (red meat, whole milk, butter, cheese, cream, ice cream) impairs concentration and memory, as well as increases the risk of dementia;
- Eat more fruits and vegetables – they are rich in antioxidants, substances that protect brain cells from damage.
- Drink green tea – it contains polyphenols (strong antioxidants), which protect brain cells against free radicals. Regular consumption of green tea can improve memory and mental health, as well as slow down brain aging.
Follow your health, treat side diseases!
Do you feel that your memory has deteriorated for unknown reasons? It may be because of a health problem or an unhealthy lifestyle. Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is not the only cause of memory impairment.
Memory problems are caused by:
- Cardiovascular disease and its risk factors, including high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure, are associated with the development of mild cognitive impairment.
- Diabetes Mellitus – people with this disease have a much greater impairment of cognitive and memory abilities than people without this disease;
- Hormonal changes – Menopausal women often have memory problems due to reduced estrogen production. Low testosterone levels can cause similar health problems in men. Thyroid dysfunction can lead to forgetfulness, sluggish speed and confusion;
- Depression – Changes in the emotional realm can have as much of a negative effect on memory quality as other ailments in the body. In fact, slow thinking, difficulty concentrating, distraction and forgetfulness are common symptoms of depression. Memory problems may be more pronounced in older people who are depressed, feel lonely, and unnecessary, which is often mistaken for dementia. The good news is that treating depression improves memory and cognitive function;
- Medications – Many over-the-counter and prescription medications can interfere with memory and clear thinking. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about potential side effects!
Take Practical Steps To Promote Learning and Memory
You cannot remember something that you have never known or understood, and you can never learn (encode in the brain) anything if you do not pay enough attention to it. It takes about eight seconds to process information elements in the brain. A quiet room where no one bothers can help you focus.
Involve As Many Senses As Possible
Try to associate information with colors, smells, tastes, sounds and textures that will allow it to be better stored in the brain. For example, when learning text, color it or write in different colors (attracting thoughts to colors); recall certain foods.
Link Information To What You Already Know When Building Memory Castles
Additional information is linked to familiar environments, places and objects.
To memorize more complex material, focus on understanding the basic idea, rather than memorizing individual details.
Repeat the information you have already learned on the same day, and then at regular intervals.
Such repetition at intervals is much more effective than forging information.
the stranger these associations will be, the easier it will be for the mind to remember the information.
Use a Mnemonic Technique or Remembrance Scheme
Different pointers will facilitate the process of memorization and help to link information with a visual image, sentence or word.