Most people experience some form of memory loss at some point in their lives. Common reasons for the occasional problems with recollection include exhaustion, lack of sleep, as well as environmental factors like lifestyle, genetics, medical conditions, and age. The bright side is that the brain is still incredibly powerful and has the ability to develop new neural connections every single day, even in the latter years of someone’s life, in a process that’s called neuroplasticity.
This means that the brain’s capacity to store memories isn’t fixed, but rather, it will continue to change and evolve over time. While there are certain medical conditions that trigger memory loss which are unfortunately not preventable, such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, there are still certain circumstances that one can manage to be able to stave off any temporary lapses in memory. Below are some natural ways to improve memory and make good use of the brain’s neuroplasticity.
Pick up a new skill
Reinforcing mental strength is similar to building muscular strength. The more you put your mind to work, the stronger it’ll get. The best way to do this is by learning a new skill, which can boost your brainpower and encourage it to develop new neural connections. A couple of great activities you can try out include taking piano or guitar lessons, playing Sudoku, studying a new language, and learning how to do ballet. What matters is most is that you thoroughly enjoy the activity and that it pushes you out of your comfort zone, forcing you to use your head.
Control your stress levels
When the body is stressed out, it releases cortisol, a stress hormone. Cortisol significantly hampers the brain’s ability to retain memories and retrieve information. It’s important to control your stress levels with mindful meditation as well as exercise and socialization.
Improve your diet
Eating a healthy diet is as good for your mind as it is for your body. Food that’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, in particular, are great for this purpose. These can be found in food like green leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts, fatty fish, whole grains, lean chicken or turkey, and legumes. Diets such as the DASH diet, Mediterranean diet, and MIND diet have been scientifically proven to boost memory and lower the risk of cognitive decline.
Keep your living space organized
A cluttered space equals a cluttered mind. Keeping your living space organized minimizes distractions and keeps you focused on the things that truly matter. Not only should you keep your physical space in order, but you should also systematize your thoughts and tasks by keeping a journal or writing down a checklist.
Don’t overload your brain
Although you need to keep your brain constantly active and busy in order to strengthen its capacity to retain memories, there’s such a thing as overworking your brain. In this case, consuming too much information all at once can overload the mind and make you forget most of the information you’re trying to absorb anyway. This is why cramming a study session and pulling an all-nighter for a test never works.
Try not to rely on technology too much
Certain technological advancements have made life much easier, but it’s also made people quite intellectually lazy. Rather than making a concerted effort to recall information, it’s almost instinctual to turn to Google to look up the answers to questions or rely on a GPS for navigation when driving. This makes you less capable of quickly retrieving memories and information, which is why it’s beneficial to try not to rely on technology too much.
Regular exercise can significantly decrease the risk of cognitive decline and improve memory. It’s recommended that you get at least 75 minutes of dynamic physical activity or 150 minutes of medium aerobic exercise a week.
Get an adequate amount of sleep
A good night’s rest has been known to effectively consolidate memories and improve physical and mental health. On the other hand, sleep deprivation can compromise cognitive performance and the brain’s ability to retain information. Medical professionals recommend that adults over the age of 18 should get at least 7 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.
Enjoy the great outdoors
Being out in nature, even for just a short walk around your neighborhood, is highly beneficial for both your physical and mental health. Outdoor activities like hiking, having an outdoor picnic, and planting a garden can lower stress and mental fatigue which are common triggers for memory loss.
It’s normal to have a moment of forgetfulness every once in a while, but sometimes it can get in the way of performing to the best of your abilities. If you want to improve your memory, these natural strategies are great ways to do so.
Meta title: Natural Ways to Improve Your Memory
Meta desc: Most people experience some form of memory loss at some point in their lives. While there are certain cases of memory loss that are not preventable, there are still certain factors that one can manage to be able to stave off any lapses in memory.