How to increase memory
Md Altaf Hussain :
Improving your memory is easier than it sounds. Most of think of our memory as something static and unchanging. But itâ€™s not - you can improve your memory just as you can improve your math or foreign language skills, simply by practicing a few tried and true memory building exercises.
A strong memory depends on the health and vitality of your brain. Whether youâ€™re a student studying for final exams, a working professional interested in doing all you can to stay mentally sharp, or a senior looking to preserve and enhance your grey matter as you age, thereâ€™s lots you can do to improve your memory and mental performance.
These tips can show you how.
Structure and organise
Researchers have found that information is organized in memory in related clusters. You can take advantage of this by structuring and organising the materials youâ€™re studying. Try grouping similar concepts and terms together, or make an outline of your notes and textbook readings to help group related concepts.
Choose anti-inflammatory foods
Consuming a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods may help improve your memory. Antioxidants help lower inflammation in the body by reducing oxidative stress caused by free radicals. You can consume antioxidants in foods like fruits, vegetables and teas. A recent review found that those who ate more fruits and vegetables had lower risks of cognitive decline and dementia compared to those who consumed less of these nutritious foods.
Berries are particularly high in antioxidants like flavonoids and anthocyanins. Eating them may be an excellent way to prevent memory loss.
Avoid high calorie diets
Along with cutting out sources of excess sugar, reducing overall caloric intake may also help protect the brain. Researchers note that high calorie diets can impair memory and lead to obesity. The effects on memory may be due to how high calorie diets lead to inflammation in particular parts of the brain.
While most research in this area has been with animals, a study from 2009 looked at whether restricting calories in humans could improve memory. Female participants with an average age of 60.5 years reduced their calorie intake by 30 per cent. The researchers found that they had a significant improvement in verbal memory scores and that the benefit was most significant in those who stuck to the diet best.
Get enough sleep
Sleep is vital for overall brain health. Disrupting the bodyâ€™s natural sleep cycle can lead to cognitive impairments, as this interrupts the processes the brain uses to create memories. Getting a full night's rest, typically about 7-9 hours a night for an adult, helps the brain create and store long term memories.
Many people benefit greatly from visualising the information they study. Pay attention to the photographs, charts, and other graphics in your textbooks. If you don't have visual cues to help, try creating your own. Draw charts or figures in the margins of your notes or use highlighters or pens in different colors to group related ideas in your written study materials
Vary your study routine
Another great way to increase your recall is to occasionally change your study routine. If you're accustomed to studying in one specific location, try moving to a different spot during your next study session. If you study in the evening, try spending a few minutes each morning reviewing the information you studied the previous night.
While itâ€™s impossible to totally eliminate stress, chronic bouts shrink the memory centers that are located inside the brain. To lower stress levels, Small suggests practicing meditation or tai chi, or doing breathing or stretching exercises throughout the day.
Give your brain a workout
By the time you've reached adulthood, your brain has developed millions of neural pathways that help you process and recall information quickly, solve familiar problems, and execute habitual tasks with a minimum of mental effort. But if you always stick to these well-worn paths, you arenâ€™t giving your brain the stimulation it needs to keep growing and developing. You have to shake things up from time to time!
Memory, like muscular strength, requires you to â€˜use it or lose it.â€™ The more you work out your brain, the better you'll be able to process and remember information.
But not all activities are equal. The best brain exercises break your routine and challenge you to use and develop new brain pathways.
Have a laugh
Youâ€™ve heard that laughter is the best medicine, and that holds true for the brain and the memory, as well as the body. Unlike emotional responses, which are limited to specific areas of the brain, laughter engages multiple regions across the whole brain. Furthermore, listening to jokes and working out punch lines activates areas of the brain vital to learning and creativity. Laughter seems to help people think more broadly and associate more freely.