So how do you improve memory? Improving memory involves improving communication between various brain cells. The more the number of such communications, and the faster these cells connect with each other, the better your short term memory and long term memory.
Research shows that the connections between brain cells change everyday as we learn new things and have new experiences. And that is good news, because that means, there is always scope to improve these connections, and by extension, improve memory.
Just like physical exercises strengthen your muscles, keep you heart running and improve your health, brain exercises strengthen the connections between your brain cells, build new ones and improve memory.
What exactly is a brain exercise?
Talking of exercise, physical exercises also help in improving memory. How? By oxygenating your brain.
Something simple like doing arm circles (forward to back and forward again, 6-8 times with each arm), also sends blood to your brain. And more blood means more oxygen. Anything that is good for your heart, chances are it is good for your mind as well.
Physical exercise is also an excellent stress reducer, especially if you had a physically inactive, but mentally exhaustive and stressful day.
Did all the exercise talk tire you already? Well there is something you can do without moving your body at all, that will still help your memory. Research evidence suggests that regular meditation alters the brain structure in ways that can improve memory.
No, you don't need to be a monk or a sage to do this. And you don't need to do this for a long time either (although longer the duration, the better).
Here is a quick technique. Sit upright, take a deep breathe in, hold for a few seconds, release it normally and effortlessly, all the while focusing only on your breathing.
Start by repeating these steps for 60 seconds, and increase it to 5, 10, 15 minutes, or however long you can manage it.
With your mind fresh and active after meditation, are you wondering if there is anything else you can do for improving memory? Good news, the answer is Yes. Learn something new.
Learn a foreign language. A new sport. Develop new hobby. Cook new food. Decorate your home in new ways. Travel to new places. Socialize, and make new friends. Read new books.
Anything that engages your senses and makes your mind work, will improve memory by stimulating your brain circuits to grow.
And you will find that learning new things does wonders to your self confidence as well - that's an added bonus.
Yes, you can eat, after all the hard work of learning something new! But not necessarily those potato chips or ice cream!
The foods which aid in improving memory are nothing new. It's the food the dietitians around the world have always recommended, for their other health benefits.
A well-balanced diet, with variety of grains, fruits, vegetables, and limited to moderate protein is the right prescription for your memory as well.
Monounsaturated fats (eg. olive, canola, peanut oils), polyunsaturated fats rich in Omega-3 fatty acids (read fish/fish oil) have also been in news for their memory benefits.
Water, instead of soda, should be preferred, as water helps maintain the memory systems work efficiently. And yep, no alcohol, no tobacco, and limited or no caffeine, as they all interfere with the memory function.
And last but not the least, a good night's sleep is one of the most essential, yet basic, things you can do for improving memory. Lack of sufficient sleep is, in fact, one of the commonly reported causes of memory loss.
As there is minimal sensory interference when we sleep, it is believed our brain uses that time to review and arrange the day's information, and "stores" it into our memory. 7 to 9 hrs sleep is critical for healthy memory.
In addition to the above tips, you can have take memory vitamins regularly to keep your memory fresh everyday. B Vitamins can be considered closest to what you can call the memory vitamins.
B6, B12 and Folic Acid are all known to protect the brain cells and improve memory. B Vitamins are found in bread, whole-grain cereals, egg, milk, potatoes and bananas.
Antioxidants found in berries, citrus fruits and green, leafy vegetables are also good for memory. Vitamin supplements can also be taken as addition.There are plenty of safe supplements now available for specific memory requirements, like Focus ADDult for improving your focus and concentration, and Brain Tonic to relieve brain fatigue and increase alertness. Both of these can be used by adults and teens as well.