The human brain is an extremely powerful organ with cells that can perform amazing mental feats and enable to store, process and retrieve a large volume of information, when we know how to harness their power. Whether you need to enhance your memory to perform better in school, to handle your tasks at work more efficiently, or to overcome the effects of ageing, the following tips and techniques will be useful to you.
- Engage in brain-boosting exercises
Your memory is similar to your muscles, the more you use it, the stronger it gets. So the more you put your brain and memory to work, the better you will be at processing and remembering information. However, to sharpen your memory, you need to exercise your brain in a way that will break your usual routine and help you to develop new neural pathways.
Any effective brain-boosting exercise should have four characteristics: it should help you to learn and acquire new skills, it should be challenging enough to demand your full attention, it will allow you to grow from beginner to an advanced level, and it will provide rewards and satisfaction. A good example of this is learning a foreign language that will boost your career prospects for international employment.
- Eat a memory-enhancing diet
Your brain needs a diet with whole foods, lean protein, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fatty acids. in particular, your brain requires a regular dose of omega-3 fatty acids, which you can obtain from cold water fish like tuna, salmon, sardines and mackerel. Apart from seafood, you can also get a fairly good amount of omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts, flaxseed and flaxseed oil, spinach and broccoli.
In addition, you should eat more colourful fruits and vegetables, which will provide antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium that will protect your brain cells from damage. Limit your consumption of alcoholic beverages and foods like whole milk, cheese, and red meat that contain saturated fat, so you can reduce the risk of dementia and memory loss.
- Cut down on stress
Stress and fatigue can lead to mass destruction of brain cells, loss of memory, and malfunctioning of the hippocampus – the part of the brain that handles critical memory functions. To manage and reduce your stress levels, you should pay close attention to your mental and physical health. Ensure that you do not have unrealistic expectations about life, work, career, finance or relationships. Strive for a good balance between work and personal leisure.
You can improve your memory by reducing the amount of pressure you put on your mind. Instead of multi-tasking, focus on one task at a time. Use time management techniques to schedule your most important activities at the time when you are most alert and when your energy is at the peak. Practice the art of meditation in the morning and evening. Then engage in regular physical exercise such as running, walking, and swimming.
- Do regular physical exercise
Physical exercise will help you to process information faster and better. It will improve the circulation of blood, nutrients and and transfer of oxygen to vital parts of your brain and minimize the risk of developing conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes that can cause loss of memory.
For instance, doing some aerobic exercises will help your heart to pump blood efficiently and improve the removal of waste products that can hinder the optimal function of your brain. In addition to walking, hiking, running and swimming, you should also strive to visit the gym at least once in a month to participate in activities that build your muscles and improve coordination between your mind and your body.
- Apply proven memorisation techniques
Some of the memorisation techniques you can use to boost your memory include: paying rapt attention, using multiple senses, relating new facts with stored information, and the habit of repetition. Paying attention helps you to give the brain the time it needs to encode a new piece of information into your memory. With intense focus for as few as eight seconds, you can assist your brain to capture and store facts that you need to remember.
Use multiple senses such as touch, sight, and hearing to imprint information on your mind. Read aloud and rewrite things you want to remember. Always connect new information with what you already know and when you need to learn new information in a list, you should divide it into small bite-sized portions containing a maximum of five items. Then repeat or rehearse the items in each group till you fix them in your mind.
The simple tips and ideas highlighted here will keep your brain and memory working efficiently as you grow older. So set a goal to use them to learn a new and challenging skill, foreign language, or anything that will help you to live a more fulfilling life.