Helping me on the site today is Todd Goldfarb. He wrote this guest post and is a writer at We the Change.
As we get older, the neurons in our brain lose elasticity making it easier to forget things.
Although this is an unfortunate reality all humans face, there are a myriad of lifestyle activities we can engage to increase our memory capacity!
Here are 11 effective methods you can integrate into your life to maintain a great memory as long as possible:
1. Eat Brain “Superfoods”
Roughly 50-60% of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used as insulation for its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell, the faster it sends messages and the speedier your thinking. Therefore eating foods with a healthy mix of fats is essential for long-term memory. Fish (wild salmon, mackerel, anchovies especially) and dark leafy green vegetables are excellent choices.
The brain accounts for only 2% of the body’s weight, but accounts for 15% of its blood flow, and regular stretching (and exercise) keeps the brain’s arteries open and unclogged. Making a habit of stretching can also lead to increased energy, greater flexibility and a more relaxed attitude which all lead to better long-term memory!
3. Teach Others
Teaching implants knowledge in your brain in a different manner than regular learning, and is excellent practice for increasing memory (it helps if you are genuinely motivated to share the knowledge)!
4. Take a Break
Changing physical or mental perspective is a wonderful way to lighten the invisible stress that occurs when you sit in one place too long. Taking a 5-15 minute break every hour during work sessions is more beneficial than non-stop study. It gives your mind time to relax and absorb information.
5. Listen to Music
Researchers have long shown that certain types of music are a great “key” for recalling memories. Information learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled simply by “playing” the songs mentally.
6. Try Ginkgo Biloba
Ginkgo biloba is a natural supplement that has been used in China and other countries for centuries and has been reputed to reverse memory loss. It’s also suggested by some health practitioners to be a highly effective mood enhancer and is worth trying if you experience memory problems.
7. Use Acronyms and Other Mnemonic Devices
Mnemonics are essentially tricks for remembering information. Some tricks are so effective that proper application will let you recall loads of mundane information years later. This one recommendation can vastly improve your memory and effectiveness!
8. Cross-pollinate Your Interests
Having diverse interests, and constantly trying new things, is a fantastic way to keep the mind sharp and fertile. Neurons that connect to existing neurons give you fresh perspective and ability to use knowledge in a variety of new ways.
9. Sleep Well
Consistently sleeping 7-8 hours a night will drastically increase your memory. During sleep, the brain appears to firm up memories of newly acquired information. The most effective “sleepers” experience the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles, and relaxation techniques before bed time can help really help your cognitive (and memory) capacity. During the day, a quick nap can be the impetus for a solution to a problem you have been working.
Interaction with other humans fires a different set of neurons than working alone, and collaboration can vastly increase your memory. Make a habit of joining forces at work and in your personal life to keep the brain fruitful!
11. Write About It
An effective way to increase memory capacity is to write about the things you want to remember. This will create oxygenated blood flow to the area of your brain responsible for memory and literally exercise it! Keep a journal, write detailed emails, or start a blog to improve your capacity to memorize.
We will all experience a degree of memory loss as we get older. By implementing a few of the practices described in this article, you can inhibit a more rapid decline in memory. Give them a try!
Todd Goldfarb writes for the popular blog We The Change, and is the author of 25 Fun Ways to Pamper Your Body and Increase Vitality and 14 Step Guide to Finding the Perfect Career.