Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on December 6, 2020

Is Memory Enhancement Possible? 12 Ways That Actually Work

Is Memory Enhancement Possible? 12 Ways That Actually Work

Memory enhancement is important for three things: productivity, personal growth and prevention. Whether you’re working on growing your business or career, leveling up your life or staying ahead of future health problems, the simple memory enhancement methods in this article could make or break your efforts.

If you look into memory enhancement just a little, you’ll see there are different categories you can focus on.

In this article we will look at three categories: nutrition (what we put in our bodies), physical (what we do with our bodies), and mental (tools and hacks we can use to train our brains).

For many, what we put in our face goes widely unchecked. If we do filter what we eat or drink, it is usually about losing weight, but much of our nutrition impacts our brain, which impacts our recall.

At work, your brain is a huge asset. Whether you’re sharp or fuzzy mentally will impact your productivity. Memory enhancement gives you a smoother track to run on as you tackle big projects for your company.

1. Water

The first ingredient in memory enhancement, nutritionally, is water. Drinking more water is such a common problem that they make apps just to help you track your water intake.

Many scold themselves knowing, in a general sense, they should drink more water because it’s good for you, but when it comes to memory enhancement, there are specific benefits to drinking more water.

While the body is made up of 60% water, the brain is made up of 73% water. A study conducted by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that “drinking water improved memory and focused attention”[1].

For me, I drink more water from a water bottle. Without my water bottle, my water intake drops by more than half. Once you find the way you drink the most water, bring that method with you throughout your day and even to bed so that it’s ready for you first thing the next morning.

2. Fats

Just like water, fats also make up a large portion of our brain. Fats feed our brain slow burning energy that allow it to function at optimum levels. For memory enhancement, finding the proper balance of good fat, alongside fruits and vegetables, in your diet makes a difference.

An article by Harvard Health Publishing found “polyunsaturated fats may be the heroes in the dietary battle to preserve memory.”[2] These fats can be found in nuts, olive oil, and fish.

This doesn’t mean that you have to chug a gallon of fish oil to get your daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids. You can start simply by reorganizing what you eat and observe the mental clarity you find. Instead of carbs for breakfast, just add in some eggs. Instead of a refined sugar snack in the afternoon, substitute it with a handful of nuts.

You don’t have to go to the extremes; just begin playing with the sequence of your food throughout the day and find where your mind most benefits from more fats.

Advertising

3. Supplements

Enhancing your memory can also happen through supplements, such as fish oil supplements. The supplement industry is huge, and there are many claims about improved cognitive function that aren’t founded in clinical studies.

If supplements are interesting to you for memory enhancement, the best course of action is to research your options. Look for blind and double blind studies if you want supplements with measured, unbiased results.

As with any of these methods, always research and test to see what works best for you.

4. Intermittent Fasting

On the rise in the last several years is intermittent fasting. Common in the weight loss space, intermittent fasting has also shown benefits for brain and body chemistry.

Intermittent fasting can be done multiple ways. One of the most common protocols is to fast for 16 hours, then consuming your normal amount of daily calories in an 8 hour feeding window[3].

16:8 Intermittent Fasting Schedule for Memory Enhancement

    Many report mental clarity from intermittent fasting, and studies show why the brain works well in a fasted state. With the benefit of increased growth hormone and the healing effects of intermittent fasting, it’s worth a go for improved mental capacity.

    5. Sleep

    In extremes, it’s easy to see that with sleep deprivation your memory suffers dramatically. However, with our busy lives, many of us don’t think about sleep as a bridge to memory enhancement.

    A study by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center found “a good night’s sleep triggers changes in the brain that help to improve memory”[4].

    If you have trouble getting to sleep, here are some helpful tips for better sleep:

    • Turn off your devices an hour before bed
    • Meditate for 10 minutes prior to sleep
    • Eliminate alcohol or caffeine before bed
    • Try a natural supplement like Melatonin
    • Take up this night routine to get better rest at night

    Getting enough sleep is an easy path to proper brain function and helps limit cognitive decline and memory loss. If you’re not getting enough sleep, the hardest part may be challenging your patterns or limiting beliefs that are keeping you from the sleep you need.

    6. Exercise

    Exercise is great for brain health. In one study done at the University of British Columbia, researchers found that regular aerobic exercise appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning.[5]

    Exercise can be as simple as a 10 minute walk or even 5 minutes of stretching. The focus here is that as you activate your body, you activate your mind.

    Advertising

    If you don’t currently exercise, start small and work your way up. Here are 5 ways to help you make time for exercise.

    If you exercise a lot, find ways to bring mindfulness into your physical activity for memory enhancement.

    7. Massage

    Massage is a bridge to mindfulness. Time stands still, your body relaxes, and your brain opens up to its potential.

    Many times, what impedes our memory and cognitive function is the busyness of life. We have too many tasks on our to do lists. Our patterns of life have left little to no margin of time and space for our minds to relax. This is an impossible environment we’ve put our minds in.

    Massage can be a great interruption for the chaotic chatter in our minds, creating an environment for the brain to breathe while enhancing our memory.

    8. Meditation

    Similar to massage, meditation allows our brain to breathe and calm the chaotic chatter.

    An advantage to meditation over massage is how quickly we can access a calmer mind. However, while many often say they want to do meditation, it’s hard for them to still their mind and relax into the quietness meditation can provide.

    Meditation, in its simplest form, is simply breathing. You don’t need special phrases or to sit in certain positions.

    To get started, just sit in a comfortable position and breath deeply for as little as five minutes. Thoughts will come and go. Just bring yourself back to focusing on your breathing.

    You can also have a try with this 5-minute Guide to Meditation: Anywhere, Anytime.

    As you do this daily, you’ll begin to notice how refreshed you feel in such a short amount of time.

    9. Batching

    Often used to improve workflow, batching refers to doing similar tasks in consolidated blocks of time. For example, rather than checking email throughout the day, you would check email once in the morning and once in the afternoon.

    You can see how limiting the distractions can create an environment for your brain to focus on what’s at hand[6].

    Advertising

    The Complete Guide to Time Blocking

      In one study,[7] researchers found that it takes the average brain over 20 minutes to refocus after an interruption. More important still, they found that a new interruption happens every 11 minutes, causing your brain to never fully catch up. This fatigues your brain and impairs your memory.

      With batching, you’re simply reducing the amount of interruptions your brain has to manage, making it available for the work you want it to do.

      10. Games

      Brain games can keep the mind sharp. Whether you play on paper or in an app, memory games can be fun.

      There is a debate about whether games like crossword puzzles actually enhance your memory, but research is emerging that shows “brain training” is an effective solution.

      Like growing muscles, when you push your brain beyond its current abilities, you force it to grow. When used to push your brain to the next level, brain games are a great way to enhance your mind.

      11. Apps

      Similar to games, apps are great trainers of the mind. There are a large selection of apps specific for memory enhancement and exercising your brain.

      Picked by Medical News Today out of hundreds of brain training apps, here are their top 5 apps for brain training:[8]

      You can also check out more brain training apps here to train your mind and improve memory.

      At different price points, you’ll want to find one that works best for you. If you’re busy, apps may be a great solution during small waiting periods in your day.

      12. Mnemonic Devices

      The imagination is a powerful tool. Mnemonic devices use word play to make it easier to remember things like names and lists.

      Popular types of mnemonics include: Music, rhyme, expression/word, connection, spelling, and image.

      Here’s an example of an image mnemonic device that can be used for immediate recall:

      Advertising

      Using numbers 1 to 10 you find a rhyming word with each number and then place the item you want to remember into the image you created in your head.

      Our example will be for a grocery list, but you could use this for names, birthdays, work projects, or tests:

      One rhymes with run. So I picture a horse track with a horse running on the track. The first item on my grocery list is olives so I put a human size can of olives on the saddle of the horse running.

      It’s important that you make the items in these visualizations memorable, like a human size can of olives on top of a horse.

      Common rhyming words for this particular mnemonic device are:

      • One, run
      • Two, zoo
      • Three, tree
      • Four, door
      • Five, hive

      If you have 20 things to remember, you can begin to use colors to separate the groups of ten. For example, if I have 20 things on my grocery list, then the first 10 visualizations can be in red and the second, using the same rhyming words, can be in yellow.

      Try this out and you’ll see how quickly this works. The mind is powerful, especially when we use images and pictures that tell stories. Mnemonic devices are simply hacks that use images and pictures that tell us stories that are easy to remember.

      Final Thoughts

      It’s time to make this article actionable. You have many options when it comes to memory enhancement. The real trick now is to pick one.

      Looking at your current goals in productivity, personal growth and prevention, you can narrow your focus to the methods that best support those goals.

      Go back through this article and find three to five methods that interest you the most. Then, look at your schedule and decide how you will add these methods to your daily and weekly routines to improve the environment of your brain.

      With all the tools and research, there has never been a better time in history to train our brains. Your path to enhanced memory is now in your hands.

      More on Memory Enhancement

      Featured photo credit: Tamarcus Brown via unsplash.com

      Reference

      More by this author

      Chris Angell

      The founder of Groundswell Digital Marketing, helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses through done-for-you content marketing.

      11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity This Year Is Memory Enhancement Possible? 12 Ways That Actually Work 9 Best Productivity Planners To Get More Done in 2020 9 Tips on Multitasking Management That Will Improve Your Productivity

      Trending in Brain Power

      1 8 Surefire Problem-Solving Strategies That Always Work 2 What Is Circadian Rhythm And How To Restore It For a Sharper Brain 3 7 Best Brain Supplements that Actually Work 4 5 Best Fish Oil Supplements to Buy For A Healthier Brain 5 10 Natural Brain Boosters to Enhance Memory, Energy, and Focus

      Read Next

      Advertising
      Advertising
      Advertising

      Published on April 14, 2021

      8 Surefire Problem-Solving Strategies That Always Work

      8 Surefire Problem-Solving Strategies That Always Work

      Whether you’re dealing with a creative block on a personal project or you’re facing challenges in the workplace, finding sustainable solutions to problems is an integral part of personal and professional growth. As the British-Australian philosopher Karl Popper once said, “all life is problem-solving.”

      As important as problem-solving is to success, not all approaches are created equal. The best problem-solving strategies ensure both efficiency (finding a solution as quickly as possible, with the minimum number of barriers) and effectiveness (finding a solution that actually solves the problem long-term).

      To accomplish both, you may need to try out some new ways of seeing and handling challenges. Here are 8 surefire problem-solving strategies that work, no matter what you’re struggling with.

      1. Break It Down Into Smaller Pieces

      Staring down a big problem can feel overwhelming, especially when the stakes are high. That sense of overwhelm doesn’t just cause you to feel on edge, but it also compromises your ability to work effectively. Studies show when the stress response is active, the part of the brain required for problem-solving tasks essentially shuts down.[1]

      To ease that stress and enlist the much-needed logical part of your brain, try breaking the problem down into smaller, individual issues you feel more confident tackling. For example, if you’ve missed your revenue goal two quarters in a row, try to resist framing the problem as “we’re losing money.”

      Instead, identify the individual problems contributing to the larger one—for example, marketing, supply chain, or communication issues that may be at play. Then, work—slowly but surely—to overcome barriers in each area, ideally, in order of importance. Not only will you feel less stressed in the process (which leads to smarter decision-making), but you’ll also feel more motivated to press on as you gain a sense of accomplishment, one step at a time.[2]

      Advertising

      2. Ask Someone Else for Input

      I remember it clearly: I was sitting in my office, staring at the computer screen, trying to figure out where I went wrong in a line of code. Two hours in, and I wasn’t any closer to figuring out where I’d messed up (and, more importantly, how to fix it). Then, a colleague I’d planned to have lunch with came in. Almost instantaneously, she looked over my shoulder and saw the issue. I had to laugh—she hadn’t even been working on this project with me, but her fresh set of eyes solved my problem.

      One of the most effective ways to reach a solution, faster? Don’t rely only on your own mind for an “aha” moment. Involving people who see the world differently than you—ideally, someone with a different skillset or from a different department—to chime in will help you more easily and quickly find the right approach.

      3. Understand the Root Cause

      Albert Einstein famously said, “If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it.”

      It sounds like common sense, but it bears repeating—you can’t solve a problem unless you know what the issue actually is. Before you start mapping out potential solutions, ask yourself, “why did this problem occur in the first place?”

      For example, imagine one department in your business is consistently not meeting its goals. That’s certainly a problem, but it may not be the problem. When you dig a little deeper, you might find a need for better communication or more training.

      Ensuring you have a deep and accurate understanding of what’s causing the problem will save you time working toward a solution and prevent you from having to backtrack to find a better one.[3]

      Advertising

      4. Define Success

      One of the most important things I’ve learned as an entrepreneur: start with a clear vision of success. Before I launched my business, I envisioned what people’s lives would be like if my product succeeded. I try to follow the same approach when I’m tackling challenges.

      Begin the problem-solving process with a clear understanding of what “success” would look like when the problem is solved. How will your company and team function if this problem isn’t an issue anymore?

      Once you see how you want things to be, you can work backward to find practical ways to achieve that vision. For example, if you’re consistently frustrated by low morale among your employees, imagine what a motivated, positive team would look like in everyday operations. What do you want to achieve, and how would it change the course of your business?

      By picturing your ideal situation, you can more easily pinpoint the steps you need to take to make it happen—in this case, perhaps implementing team-building events, more paid vacation, and incentives for reaching goals.

      5. Try Silent Brainstorming

      Enlisting other people’s perspectives can be a good way to find the answer you’re looking for. But if you’re attempting to tackle a problem with others, keep in mind the dynamic of the group.

      Think back to your last Zoom or in-person meeting. Whose ideas do you end up hearing or applying most often? If I kept a running tab, I’d guess my most outgoing, assertive team members “win” these brainstorming sessions most often—simply because they’re not afraid to speak up.

      Advertising

      If you’re hitting a wall in problem-solving, you’ll need to find a way to hear everyone’s voice. One way to do that is a silent brainstorming session. Invite team members to spend a designated amount of time coming up with solutions for the same problem. Then, have them share their approaches and ideas in front of the group, or individually with you.

      When everybody has a chance to contribute equally—without the distraction of a lively discussion—you’ll be more likely to develop an effective problem-solving strategy and find the answer you’ve been looking for.

      6. Imagine Someone Else’s Perspective

      Can’t get a group together but feeling like you need someone else’s brain to solve the problem you’re struggling with? One of my favorite problem-solving strategies is to use someone else’s perspective to see all sides of a problem and potential solutions.

      As you brainstorm, imagine you’re sitting at a table with different personality types and thinkers—for example, a critic, an optimist, an artist, and a data analyst. You can think of real people you know and imagine how they’d respond to the problem, or you can simply imagine people who think differently than you.

      The idea is that by using your own creativity to adopt different perspectives on the same issue, you can more quickly reach an effective solution.

      7. Decide What Won’t Work

      Process of elimination can be a helpful tool when you’re trying to figure out how to overcome a challenge—mostly so you don’t waste time “reinventing the wheel.”

      Advertising

      Next time you come up against a problem at work, ask yourself (or someone else) if you or anyone else in the organization have encountered similar issues in the past. If so, what are the solutions people tried, and more importantly, did they work? If not, cross it off the list and keep brainstorming.

      If the past solutions proved to be effective, then ask yourself one more question: “Do I have the resources to apply this solution in my current situation?” If the answer is “yes,” then you have a resource at hand—and you just saved yourself some time.[4]

      8. Take Breaks

      It might sound counterproductive to step away from a problem you’re trying to solve, but doing so can actually save you time and help you develop an even better solution.

      Sometimes called the “wanderer technique,” taking breaks has long been shown in research to boost creativity and attention span.

      When you’re focused on (and stressed about) a problem, your brain can grow fatigued, which prevents you from finding innovative ways to deal with the issue. On the other hand, when you step away and think about or do something else, your brain can wander. Given some stress-free time with your unconscious mind, you can make connections you wouldn’t have if you were staring at a screen or notebook.[5]

      Final Thoughts

      As common as it is to encounter challenges at work and in life, it can be frustrating to spend time finding solutions, especially if you’re not sure if the solutions will be effective. By approaching your problem-solving with a bit of strategy and intention, you can both save time and find better solutions. It’s a win-win!

      Just follow these 8 surefire problem-solving strategies and you’ll have higher chances of overcoming obstacles in your journey to success.

      More Problem-Solving Strategies for Overcoming Challenges

      Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

      Reference

      Read Next