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7 Simple Ways to Improve Your Memory & Creativity

7 Simple Ways to Improve Your Memory & Creativity

In today’s world, information is everywhere. Seems like wherever you go – in the real world or online – there’s always something new to learn. Maybe you have a burning for new discoveries. A tangible FORCE that grips around your soul. You don’t know what that is, yet… Still, the thirst for knowledge remains.

Kind of like getting lost in Wikipedia and thousands of other “encyclopedia-like” sites out there. Or getting lost in the madness of an annual fair. And you’re hell-bent on meeting as many exciting, new, refreshing characters as possible. Or maybe you’re like me, able and willing to dive nose-first into a good, thick book. Not just any book, though. No, this book is special. It captures your imagination… and like the mischevious force it is, doesn’t let you go. Whatever the reason you’re on the prowl for knowledge, the fact remains: we may be suffering from an “info overload”.

You don’t need to be told that millions of people are having trouble focusing, multi-tasking, and boosting their cognitive functions. You hear about it every day, no matter where you go. Here are a few small and easy practices you can start TODAY, to bring your ‘memory cells’ back to life and energize your creative spirit like you never thought possible.

  1. Work Your Brain Out

Think of bodybuilders. Do they get to that massive mastodon size by sitting around all day? N’sir! They hit the iron, they feed their body right, and they train their muscles to endure absolute hell. Doing the same to your brain probably isn’t smart. The point remains: training your brain by giving it a workout keeps your brain growing and developing.

So, how exactly do you train your brain? Simple!

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You can Google a bunch of brain-training apps… play brain-training games… and (shocker!) work out. More effectively learn & practice the oldest & purest form of meditation – Vipassana. Light cardio in the morning clears the cobwebs from your brain. Exercise being good for physical AND meditation being a luxury for mental health.

  1. Count Sheep

Believe it or not, catching some Z’s and chasing sheep is the easiest way to improve your mental health. Would prestigious magazine Men’s Fitness lie?

A clear and alert brain helps us to focus and remember more information. Getting enough sleep on a regular basis allows us to take in more information. Sleep helps solidify memory.

  1. Take A Chill Pill

What seems like a no-brainer… Might make you a no-brainer. Stress plays a monumental part of depreciating the parts of your brain responsible for memory. Plus, actively seeking out stressful situations (or spending time with miserable people who cause you nothing but) is just bad news. For anybody.

Interestingly, the nootropic world is an exciting one to be a part of – partially paving the way towards reclaiming your memory and sending your thinking skills on overdrive. Nootropics are cognitive enhancing supplements that can increase your attention span, help you focus and can work as a studying aid. Other “smart drugs” have unappealing side effects; nootropics are safe, so long as they are used properly.

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There’s so much natural and synthetic compounds can do to improve not just your memory, not just your focus, but the very essence of your creativity.

  1. Make Time For Naps

Yep, naps. Power naps. A good forty-five minutes or just twenty minutes; however long you want to; the important part is to nap after you’ve worked hard at the office or home.

Don’t forget, your mind is a powerful machine. It needs time to digest any and all new information you throw at it. We already know what good sleep does to our brains. Why not speed up the “sponge” process of memory recall by taking naps throughout the day?

  1. Hit The Road

Yes, walking doesn’t just make you healthier. Physically and mentally. It helps clears writer’s block and spurs creativity!

A doctor and a professor found that about sixty percent of people (out of 176 altogether) “scored higher” on divergent thinking creativity activities as opposed to the folks who sat down while they performed the activities and tests. How does walking help your brain? It helps the same way exercising does! When you walk, your heart pumps faster, sending more blood and oxygen throughout your body. Your brain and all other organs get an extra dose. Walking helps create new connections between brain cells and increases the region of your brain used for memory.

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I personally spend a good twenty minutes, minimum, at the crack of dawn to take a stroll. This is before the mayhem of automotive chaos begins.

  1. Play Those Tunes

It goes without saying by now that music boosts both creativity and mental focus. In anybody, at any age, at any time whatsoever. Hit up YouTube and see many “study or concentration music” playlists designed specifically for this reason.

You’ve also heard about playing classical music to help you during math and science quizzes, right? Einstein believed it was a good idea! Playing classical music (right brain) while taking a math test (left brain) helps connect the two hemispheres of the brain. Listening to classical music also increases cognitive skills. You get a basic brain boost!

  1. Smile and Relax

Learn to let go and let the chips fall where they may. Remember, our brains are COMPLEX organisms. They can’t be firing on all pistons for long. Personally, the creative muse has visited me more than once when I accepted myself, felt good about the world, and learned how to stop thinking so much.

And to boot, remaining calm and consciously choosing to keep a positive spin on things… believe it or not… rewires central neurons in your brain. This rewiring is responsible for “moulding” your brain through use of associations with feelings and stimulation.

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So, if your memory is sharper and more focused when you’re in a blissful state… You’re training yourself to feel that way more often. Win win.

Conclusion

By no means is this list exhaustive. Like I said, these are quick and easy “down-and-dirty” gems and “hidden” tricks you can use (today!) to jumpstart your creative process. While simultaneously beefing up your memory recall. Obviously, there’s much, much more to talk about. To learn about and discover. Maybe that’s a journey we can take together some other time.

Featured photo credit: all-len-all.com via all-len-all.com

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Last Updated on October 17, 2018

7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

How is your memory? Is your cognitive function as strong as you’d like it to be?

If not, then you’re definitely going to be interested in the memory improvement tips I’ll be sharing with you in this article.

Despite what you might think – or have been told – improving your ability to recall information is certainly possible. You just need to know the right ways to do it. (Don’t worry, as you won’t need to make any significant lifestyle changes.)

So how to improve memory? Let’s dive straight into the first of seven easy ways to improve your memory significantly.

1. Meditate

We live in a world of non-stop, 24/7 information. It’s like a waterfall that’s endlessly pouring news, data, facts and figures into our conscious minds.

Unfortunately, our brains are not designed to absorb this tremendous amount of information. It’s no wonder then, that most people struggle to remember information and recall things.

Even if you believe you have a good memory and are comfortable with multi-tasking, you’ll also be aware that there’s only so much information your brain can process at one time. And research suggests that the more information and distractions, the harder it is for you to transfer information to your long-term memory.[1]

Fortunately, meditation can help you out.

Even if you just meditate for 10 minutes per day, you’ll boost your ability to focus, which in turn, will make it easier for you to remember important facts.

If you need help in shifting into a meditative state, I recommend trying an app like Headspace – which can assist you to achieve this in a convenient and structured way.

And don’t forget, meditation doesn’t just have to be closing your eyes and sitting in a lotus position. Some people prefer to simply take a short walk in nature. This clears and calms their mind, and still provides the all-important boost to their focus.

2. Get plenty of sleep

If you’re sleep deprived or have not been sleeping well, then I’m guessing you’re not remembering well either. This is because sleep and memory are intimately connected.

If you have a busy life and regularly find yourself not getting enough sleep, then this will negatively impact your cognitive abilities – including your memory.

How much sleep should you be getting?

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Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation, you need a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you get this amount of sleep regularly, then within just a few days, you’ll see a tangible improvement to your ability to remember and recall things.

Now, I’ll be honest with you, maintaining a proper sleep cycle is not always easy (especially when the latest Netflix series has just been released!). But if you care about improving your short-term and long-term ability to remember things, then it’s critical that you try to get at least the recommended amount of sleep every night.

Are there ways to hack the sleep cycle?

Yes, there are.

Try these three things:

  • Have a fixed bedtime (preferably before 10pm)
  • Don’t eat too late
  • Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible

Sleeping is a precious activity. It regenerates your body, clears your mind, and helps with the storing and retrieval of information.

However, don’t sleep just yet, as I want to tell you about another great way to increase memory…

3. Challenge your brain

When was the last time you challenged your brain?

I don’t mean challenged in the sense of overeating or undersleeping. I’m referring to stretching your mental capabilities through things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku and memory games.

To expand your memory bank, and to make your recall razor-sharp, you need to continually challenge your brain.

Feedback from Lifehack readers such as yourself, has suggested that brain training apps are a super-effective way of doing this. Used regularly, these apps can enhance your focus, attention span, problem-thinking ability and memory.

There are hundreds of these apps available (most of them for free), but I recommend starting out with one of the big three:

  • Peak (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
  • Lumosity (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
  • Elevate (Android/iOS, free, 5 million+ downloads)

If you normally spend a chunk of your week playing computer games, then instead of shooting and killing your enemies, why not let some of them live – while you put your attention into boosting your brain power!

Challenging your brain will strengthen your neural pathways and enhance your mental abilities. But don’t just take my word for it, try one of the apps above and see the positive benefits for yourself.

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4. Take more breaks

When I think back to my days as a budding entrepreneur, I distinctively remember working all the hours under the sun – and many under the moon too!

At that time, I believed that breaks were for the weak, and to become wealthy and successful, I needed to shed blood, sweat and tears.

However, I was wrong.

Taking regular breaks is the best way to keep yourself productive, creative and alive to opportunities. It’s also the best way to learn new information.

Let me explain.

Typically, when studying lots of new information, most people will spend hours reading it – in an attempt to learn and remember the content as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, they’ve overlooked something.

Namely, extended study sessions are rarely a good thing, as your ability to retain information naturally declines after a certain period of time.

It’s similar to physical exercise. You wouldn’t attempt to train vigorously for four hours in a row. Instead, you’d take regular breaks to give your lungs, heart and muscles adequate time to recover. Failing to do this will result in muscle cramps and overexertion.

It’s the same with your brain. If you overload it with information, you’ll suffer from mental fatigue.

What’s the answer?

Make sure you take regular breaks when learning new information. I recommend at least a 10-minute break every hour. (You may also want to take a look at the Pomodoro Method.)

If you don’t want to be as regimented as that, then take breaks as soon as you find yourself losing the ability to focus on the new material. Your brain will thank you – and your learning aptitude will move up a level.

5. Learn a new skill

I love this quote, as it’s 100% true – but frequently overlooked:

“Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci

From my experience of helping to develop the careers of dozens of Lifehack employees, I can definitively say that participating in meaningful and purposeful activities stimulates the mind. It also reduces stress and enhances health and well-being.

Let me give you an example of this:

Imagine you work for a global financial institution in one of their call centers. You take over 100 calls a day – many of them complaints. When you started the job a few months back, you were excited to be in full-time employment and working for a household name.

Unfortunately, your initial enthusiasm quickly turned into frustration.

The endless complaint calls began to take their toll on you. And the supervisors irritated you too, as they were far too interested in micro-managing you – rather than letting you work in your own way.

Now, in the story above, the ending could be that you put up with a job you didn’t like, and led a dull and frustrated working life for years and years. However, an alternative ending is this: you channeled your dissatisfaction in to learning a new skill (computer coding). It took you a year or two to get up to speed, but it allowed you to successfully upgrade your career – and the ongoing learning made the call centre job much more bearable.

Clearly, learning new skills gives you impetus, focus and something to aim for. Your brain loves to learn, and you should tap into this by always seeking our new information. And when learning becomes a habit, you’ll find your ability to remember and recall things effortlessly, becomes a habit too.

6. Start working out

If you’re not already working out regularly, then here’s another reason to do so:

Exercising for 20-30 minutes three times a week will improve your long-term memory.

Regular exercise increases blood flow in your body and supplies the brain with extra oxygen and nutrients. And a well-nourished brain is a well-functioning brain!

“But I just don’t have the time?,” I hear you say.

Not a problem.

A research has shown that a daily burst of 60 seconds of high-intensity exercise, offered many of the benefits of the longer exercise routines.[2] So, if you’re short on time – now you know what to do.

Interested in getting started?

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Here are five different ways that will help you work out:

  • Join a gym
  • Join a sports team
  • Buy a bike
  • Take up hiking
  • Dance to your favorite music

7. Eat healthier foods

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: “You are what you eat.”

This applies to your brain too.

The food that you eat helps determine your brain’s capacity to store and recall information. A poor diet (think junk food + soda!) harms not just your physical health, but your mental health too.

Fortunately, there are several foods that are especially good for your brain and your memory. These include: blueberries, celery and dark chocolate. But anything high in antioxidants will have a positive effect on your brain and memory.

Conversely, highly-processed foods and those loaded with sugar will have a negative impact on your memory. This is due to them providing insufficient nutrients for your brain – leading you to easily suffer from mental fatigue.

Want to be mentally healthy? Then eat and drink an abundance of these for brain health:

  • Turmeric – helps new brain cells grown
  • Broccoli – protects the brain against damage
  • Nuts – improves memory
  • Green tea – enhances brain performance, memory and focus[3]
  • Fish oilfish oil supplements can increase your brain power

Here’re more brain food options that improve memory!

Final thoughts

I sincerely hope these seven memory boosting ways that I’ve covered in this article will be of help to you.

You don’t need to implement them all. I suggest just trying the ones that appeal to you.

But, if you’re serious about dramatically improving your memory, then make a start right now on adopting one or more of the ways I’ve suggested. I’m confident you won’t regret it.

Featured photo credit: Eric Ward via unsplash.com

Reference

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