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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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