Can’t find your phone? Don’t remember what’s on your grocery list? Forget the name of your personal trainer?
You’re not alone. Everyone forgets things occasionally. However, if it is happening more than every once in awhile, it is time to pay attention.
Memory problems need to be taken seriously at any age!
Losing your memory or developing brain fog in your 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, or even 80s is NOT normal. Just because it happens to so many people doesn’t mean that it’s optimal or healthy.
Did you know there is no such thing as a “bad memory”? Rather, there is a trained memory and an untrained memory. With a simple plan you can dramatically improve your brain’s ability to think and remember. Here are some immediate tips to implement in your life.
- Use mnemonics. These triggers to aid memory are a great way to boost your brain while developing a system to remember things. When memorizing a list, associate it with the craziest picture you can think of to help your brain recall it later. No one sees the image you are holding in the privacy of your mind, so be creative and have fun with it. To remember names, repeat the name, use it once or twice in natural conversation, visualize the name as a picture (perhaps on the person’s forehead) and use their name when saying good-bye.
- Exercise your brain. Cognitive skills tend to dip after we graduate from college or retire from work. Don’t stop challenging your brain on a daily basis! The world is endlessly fascinating for those who never stop learning, and it helps your brain thrive. No matter what your age, mental exercise has a global, positive effect on the brain.
- Take note. Note-taking increases comprehension and retention. When you read, take notes in the margin of a book. If it is a textbook that you cannot mark in, or a library book, keep a notepad handy as you read. Jot down notes on the strips of paper then tuck them in the pages where you found the quote or point you liked.
- Find your style. Everyone has a preferred learning style. Do you learn best by reading, hearing, talking, writing or doing? Or some combination? Try to learn something new via your best learning style. If you are an auditory learner, listen to a book on tape. If you a kinesthetic learner, take a class where you’ll have hands-on experiences.
- Get still. Meditation has been shown to boost activity in the prefrontal cortex and sharpen your mind. Just a few meditative minutes a day can make a dramatic difference in your mental abilities.
- Choose smart supplements. BrainMD Health’s Brain and Memory Power Boost is formulated with seven brain boosters which help promote brain energy, support important neurons, and defend against free radical damage to the brain. Together they help power up mental sharpness and cognition so you can think fast on your feet again.
- Stay childlike. Did you know that preschoolers ask between 300 and 400 questions a day? Not only should we never stop asking questions, but we should be actively curious. Ask yourself, “What if?” or “I wonder?” and then seek out the answers.
- Get a good night’s sleep. The brain has a special waste management system to help eliminate toxins that build up during the day, including the plaques thought to be responsible for Alzheimer’s disease. During the day, your brain is so busy managing your life that this cleaning system is pretty much turned off. Without healthy sleep, the cleaning crew does not have enough time to do their job and trash builds up, causing brain fog and memory problems.
- Balance your stress. Whenever you’re exposed to a flood of stress hormones, it not only disrupts your sleep, but it can damage your immune system and actually shrink the memory centers in your brain.
- Drink. Water that is. Being dehydrated by just 2% impairs performance in tasks that require attention, immediate memory skills, and physical performance. It is also associated with brain atrophy (shrinkage), poor concentration, memory difficulties, diminished school performance, and increased sensitivity to pain.
- Cut the sweets. Refined sugar is devoid of minerals needed for enzymes and can cause mineral deficiencies. It interferes with the actions of calcium and magnesium, increases inflammation, and erratic brain cell firing, and has been implicated in aggression. In brain imaging studies it increases “slow brain waves,” and a study at UCLA showed that sugar alters learning and memory—not for the better.
- Quit multitasking. Can’t find your keys? It’s probably because you weren’t paying attention when you put them down. When you’re juggling too many things, you’re bound to forget. As it turns out, the brain doesn’t actually multitask. Instead, it switches focus from one thing to another, which is why it is difficult to read a book and hold a conversation at the same time. Multitasking will slow you down, so make it a point to concentrate on the task at hand.
- Jog your memory. Literally. Physical activity increases blood flow to your whole body—including your brain—and helps keep your memory sharp. Exercise delivers extra oxygen to the brain and also appears to stimulate the growth of new cells and blood vessels in the brain.
Even though getting older isn’t optional, having a brain that looks and feels old is!
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