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5 Hacks To Improve Your Memory

5 Hacks To Improve Your Memory

Your memory is a critical part of your mental health, and the fear of losing your memory leaves many people desperate to maintain theirs. Although memory tends to leave with age, that is not an inevitable result of aging. Someone who takes the time to strengthen and refine their memory will find it stays with them well into old age. Here are five hacks to improve your memory.

1. Get sufficient sleep

An excellent way to keep your mind healthy is to make sure it’s well-rested. Sleep deprivation can ruin any mental progress you’ve developed, and make you more sluggish.

Sleeping is a critical part of the memory-building process. Without sleep, your memories are unable to consolidate, and you’ll likely forget what you’ve learned fairly soon. If you can’t consolidate your memories, you won’t be able to recall them later. Scientists think that the hippocampus and neocortex are critical in developing memory during sleep, theorizing that the hippocampus will replay the events of the day in your head, and the neocortex stores them through this process for future use.

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2. Get your fats in

The brain is made of 60 percent fat, and uses 20 percent of your daily intake in calories. Although a balanced diet is good for your health overall, it is especially critical for your brain to get the amount of healthy fats it needs to maintain itself.

Healthy fats, such as monounsaturated fats, help maintain your brain function and keep everything in working order, which protects your memory. Omega-3 fatty acids, which our bodies do not produce naturally, are particularly helpful for brain function, and can be found in multiple sources outside of fish foods.

Along with maintaining memory, consuming healthy fats also helps fight mental illness such as depression and bipolar disorder. Saturated fats are often referred to with scare quotes, but they’re one of the main components of brain cells. Eating saturated fats decreases your risk of dementia and helps keep your brain functioning well.

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4. Socialize with friends

Regular social interaction helps stave off mental illness as well. Studies have found socializing just as effective as mental exercises in stimulating your brain and strengthening your memory. A lack of socialization becomes a lack of interest and interaction with your brain, and can lead to depression and other mental health disorders. Socializing, however, stimulates multiple different parts of your brain.

A conversation offers you multiple chances to recall thoughts, use logic and critical thinking, experience emotional connections and reinforce knowledge. If you find yourself going throughout the day without talking to anyone, you’ll have less activity to keep your brain active and less emotional excitement to keep it happy.

5. Give your brain regular exercise

An excellent way to maintain your memory is to keep your brain active. Logic puzzles and mind games help keep your memory sharp. A good brain activity that helps maintain memory will teach you something new and challenge you. The human brain is highly malleable, so brain teasers and puzzles are excellent tools for strengthening your brain capabilities and lengthening your memory.

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Learning something really mentally challenging, like learning to count cards, is a more difficult task and a significant feat of memory training. Remember, once you’ve adjusted to a certain level of difficulty in your brain exercises, you have to push for harder levels – otherwise, your progress stagnates and you’re no longer stretching and expanding your mental capabilities.

The purpose of mind games is to create new pathways, which need to be reinforced with regular thinking and brain exercise. The more neural pathways you develop, the more you are developing and expanding your memory, and reinforcing them with repeated effort makes them more stable and long-lasting.

6. Get plenty of physical exercise

It’s not just your brain you have to exercise to maintain memory – it’s your whole body. Regular aerobic exercise increases the size of your hippocampus, which is critical in memory development and maintenance. Exercise reduces inflammation and stimulates growth factors that help develop memory. It helps increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain, and also releases stress and naturally exhausts your energy, which helps you get a better night’s sleep.

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Physical activity is great for your body, but it also helps your brain grow. Maintaining the health of your brain cells means maintaining the functions that create and preserve memory.

According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 75.6 million people will be living with dementia by 2030, and 135.5 million people will be living with dementia in 2050.

But dementia is not a normal part of aging. It’s a side effect of poor brain health, and you can avoid becoming afflicted by taking proactive steps to protect your brain. These tips to improve your memory will help you fight mental illness and maintain a long memory over a long life.

Featured photo credit: Ian Schneider via images.unsplash.com

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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