Are you a victim of forgetfulness? Have you been forgetting your keys before you leave the house or are not able to recall your mother’s phone number? Do you sometimes feel that you are on the verge of severe cognitive impairment or already half way there? If the answer to these is yes, then it is imperative that you read further.
Why do we forget?
Forgetting your mobile phone, misplacing your keys, not being able to recall your mother’s number; the occurrence of such events too frequently is an indication of cognitive impairment to a certain extent. This can stress you further and end up provoking other diseases. The major cause of forgetfulness is said to be the lack of sleep. It not only results in frequent memory slip-ups but can also cause temperamental mood swings, stress and anxiety.
An impaired functioning thyroid gland can also affect memory adversely. It disturbs sleeping pattern and also causes depression, both of which can lead to memory slips. Stress and anxiety are yet another cause of memory impairment. When you are stressed out or anxious you cannot concentrate and learn new things.
Medications such as antidepressants and those which have a side effect of drowsiness can make it difficult to pay attention and cause confusion.
How Can I Improve My Memory?
Human brain is one of the most astonishing organs. As we age, human organs tend to shrink and functioning starts to impair. However, the brain still has the ability to adapt and change. With the right stimulation, your brain can alter existing connections, form new pathways, and adapt and react to new changes. Certain conditions and stimulations can help in improving memory, thinking and learning. Let’s take a look.
Sleep and Exercise
Do not compromise your sleep and exercise. When you work out it not only affects your physical body but mental body as well. Increased blood pressure runs to the brain bringing oxygen and nutrients which stimulates the brain and development and growth of new nerve cells. It also improves brain function by improving effects of neurotransmitters.
Even when you are sleeping, your brain is constantly functioning, where cells of the brain are frequently firing in all directions. In fact, it is when you are in deep sleep that memory-enhancing activity occurs. Therefore, proper sleep is one of the core ingredients for working, studying or just trying to juggle life’s many demands. Always maintain a proper sleeping and exercise routine if you a healthy brain and want to remember phone numbers (in case you misplace your mobile phone).
Mental Exercise and Stress Management
The best thing that you can do for your brain health is challenge it, tempt it and let it wander. You can play your favorite board games. If you enjoy Scrabble, Chess or Checkers, have a board game party. Call your friends or spend quality time with your family stimulating your brain cells. Games such as Go Fish, Bridge and other similar games are right up your ally if you like card games. If these games are not feasible, then stimulating computer games, cross word puzzles, Sudoku are good bets. A Rubik’s cube might be challenging, but it still makes your brain work (even if you can’t solve it). Reading books or even listening to music is a relaxing way to fuel your brain. Additionally, playing an instrument works wonders and if you don’t know how to play an instrument, start now, your brain depends on it! Brain exercises can not only help maintain mental sharpness, but also help relief stress as you diverge your attention from your daily life issues.
Memory Boosting Foods
Everyone is aware of the long list of “healthy foods” that appear on one click of a finger. These lists mostly include vegetable, fruits, nuts and whole wheat bread. They not only help keep you fit and physically healthy, but also lead to a sharp memory and a healthy brain.
- Grab your antioxidants. A warm cup of green tea is full of them. Fresh fruits such as apricots, grapes, blueberries, oranges, mangoes, bananas, cantaloupe, and watermelon contain antioxidants. Such vegetables that should be consumed are spinach, broccoli, lettuce, arugula and chard. Antioxidants in fruits and tea neutralize brain damaging free radicals, enhance memory and mental alertness, and can slow the aging of the brain.
- Don’t miss out on the goodness of omega-3 fats. DHA and EPA are fatty acids that participate in brain and eye development. Major sources of omega-3 are sea foods like herring, tuna, salmon, sardines and oysters. Alternatives to seafood (especially if you are pregnant) are flaxseeds, walnuts, and supplements such as fish oil.
- Avoid saturated fats. Red meat and certain dairy products that are high in fat contain saturated fats. It can affect memory adversely and result in declined function of brain cells, especially those that function in memory and concentration.
Laughter, Fun and Relationships
They say laughter is the best medicine, and it’s true for your brain too. When you laugh, a lot of regions in the brain “laugh” with you. Read jokes, make up jokes of your own and share them with friends or simply spend time with people you enjoy. Watch movies, TV shows and videos that will make you laugh. Print out pictures or posters you can keep in your office, room or save on your phone as a wall paper. Just surround yourself with things you enjoy. This could also include your special someone, your kids, parents, friends and whoever else makes you happy. In fact, a study from the Harvard School of Public Health concluded that those with the most active social lives had the slowest rate of memory decline. In the end, if you are not comfortable with human relationships, a pet is always the second best option. Keep a dog, cat, parrot or any other animal that you love.
Improve Your Learning Skills
The five basic steps to learning are simple: organize, visualize, listen, talk and repeat. Try to figure out what makes you learn more effectively. Consider making rhymes and mnemonics, or create a song, to learn new things. Expand your horizons, let your brain search and learn from experiments and experiences.
Your brain is the control center of your body. A major role it plays is in retaining memory, creating new memories and concentration. If you are slowly forgetting things, your brain may be declining. Stimulate it by playing games and learning new things. Make sure you are getting proper sleep and exercise, and always keep a smile on your face and laugh whenever possible. Reach out to people, join clubs, and go out and enjoy. If you feel like your memory is slipping frequently, you might need to see a neurologist, who can figure out what the root causes of your problem may be.