Isn’t it amazing how quickly children are able to learn new things, recite stories and, even learn multiple languages? Well, this doesn’t happen by chance. Children are continuously training their brain and engaging new areas of thinking, as they learn motor skills, play, begin school, and problem solve. As adults, it is important that we don’t fall into the rut of day to day life. We need to find ways to challenge our brain, develop new skills, and keep our problem solving sharp. Memory is an important brain skill that must be challenged so that it does not weaken. We can improve our memory with an active practice. Here are some tips to improve your memory, starting today!
- Learn a new skill: Is there something that you have always wanted to learn, but have not yet? Well, get out there and do it! Challenging your brain by learning a new skill builds new connections in your brain, which is like strength training for your mind. Try learning a musical instrument, painting, writing a poem, or even horseback riding. By actively engaging your brain, you will improve your thinking capacity and memory.
- Read a good book: Head to your library and pick up the latest bestseller. Better yet, find a good autobiography or non-‐fiction historical book. Reading forces your brain to remember characters, events, and utilize imagination to visualize situations happening in the story. By reading for information (like with a non-‐fiction book), your brain is working harder to remember events and details. Reading is an excellent way to improve memory and develop vocabulary.
- Recite by heart: Children are able to recite nursery rhymes and children’s’ songs by heart with ease. Try learning a favorite poem, song or limerick and recite it by heart. You will bring joy to yourself and others, and it will make for a great party trick. By learning, remembering, and reciting several verses, you are actively improving your memory.
- Channel your inner artist: Draw, paint, sculpt, color and scribble. Challenge yourself to create something from your own brain. You will create new brain connections and challenge your visual imagery, trying to create what you envision in your mind.
- Sleep: While this may not seem like a very active way to improve your memory, sleep is vital! Your brain is working constantly throughout the day, so it deserves time for rest at night. In addition, your brain does not totally shut off when you shut your eyes. Your brain is solidifying new brain pathways while you sleep. Aim for 7-‐8 hours each night.
- Actively remember and repeat: Many people complain about their inability to remember other people’s names. One way to improve your name recall is to actively remember and repeat a person’s name when you meet him. Look the person in the eyes, say something like “Hi Tom, it is nice to meet you. Where are you from Tom?” This way you are actively reciting his name, while visualizing him and creating a “pocket” in your brain for Tom. Let’s say Tom is from Toronto. Well, this is even better. You can correlate Tom’s face, with his name Tom, and coming from Toronto. Use word games to find an association and make it easier to remember new people.
- Feed yourself well: In order to improve your memory, your brain needs adequate nutrition, oxygen, and hydration. This may seem obvious, but people don’t often think of brain health when they are eating donuts and pizza all day. Your brain needs adequate carbohydrate nutrition for proper function. Make sure you are feeding your brain healthy carbohydrates from sources like whole grains and fruits. In addition, your brain needs healthy fats for enhanced brain function. Increase your healthy fat intake from fish or fish oil as well as avocados, nuts, and olive oil.
Using these strategies will surely improve your memory recall. Try implementing one strategy per day. In one week’s time, you will be well on your way to a sharper mind and stellar memory!
Disclaimer: The material provided in this article is designed to provide helpful information on the subjects discussed. It is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat any medical condition. For diagnosis or treatment of any medical problem, consult your physician or healthcare practitioner.
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