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Published on April 9, 2020

7 Best Natural Ways to Enhance Your Memory

7 Best Natural Ways to Enhance Your Memory

Everything you do requires memory. Whether it’s your everyday chores, work responsibilities, communication, or any other task in life, memory plays an important role. So, if you’re not in search of ways to enhance your memory, you should be.

If you’re someone who wants to excel in life by learning new things, enhancing your memory is extremely important for you.

Luckily, it is something that can be done. There are some simple, natural ways to boost your memory. Keep reading to find out all about these amazing tips!

Here are some of the most effective tips for enhancing memory:

1. Focus on Your Learning Style

One main reason why people want to improve their memory is for the sake of boosting their learning capacity. It is true that without a good memory, learning is a difficult task.

Your learning style is an arrow that can shoot both these targets.

There are 6 broad learning styles. Each individual falls into at least one of these. It is also rather easy to figure out your learning type by following a few steps.

Once you’re aware of your learning style, you can incorporate methods and techniques that go hand in hand with your style.

For example, if you happen to be an auditory learner, you can listen to online tutorials to gain new knowledge instead of opting for another method. Similarly, people who prefer structured learning environments can go for tutors who have a coherent teaching style.

If your brain receives information in a manner that is supported by your style, you are highly likely to retain this knowledge in the long term.

2. Add Variation to Your Learning Routine

When you start learning a new skill or get on with a new task, enthusiasm levels are rather high. This is the time when learners are so motivated that they don’t mind doing the same thing all day long.

Although it seems fun for the time being, it eventually becomes monotonous or boring.

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You should add variation to your learning routine from the get-go so that you can avoid getting to a stage where the brain loses interest in the said task or skill. Once it gets boring, it will be much more difficult to learn or remember.

Some ways to add variation are:

  • Take breaks
  • Change your location or environment every now and then
  • Add various learning tools into play
  • If you have multiple learning styles, incorporate them alternatively

3. Regulate Your Sleep Schedule

Have you ever seen a sleepy person do a good job anywhere?

It’s pretty rare. That’s because a sleepy mind is good for very little. Memory and sleep go hand in hand. Without a fresh mind, not only does learning become harder, but it also gets more annoying and seems tougher.

Also, many people retain information better if they sleep after learning something new.

Whatever the case is, never skip a good night’s sleep!

4. Practice Mindfulness

How can you remember something you weren’t paying attention to?

A human’s attention span is rather short, but it can be improved. Practice mindfulness to enhance your focus . This will, in turn, improve your memory.[1]

As humans age, memory and cognition are bound to decline. However, effective mindfulness has proven to slow down this deterioration.

You can improve your memory and concentration by following a lot of easy-to-implement tips in your daily routine. Some of the things you can do to practice mindfulness include focusing on your surroundings, being more aware of your breathing, and gaining control over the ability to shift attention from one thing to another.

5. Meditate

Here’s a secret that will change your life: You can control your brain.

How? It’s actually not even hard!

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All you have to do is play brain games and boost cognitive activity by meditating. All these help increase the gray matter in your brain. Gray matter includes neuronal cell bodies, which are technically responsible for memory.

Meditation, in general, keeps the brain calm, which helps new information get organized efficiently. It also supports mindfulness.

People who experience short-term memory loss will experience great benefits from meditation.

6. Eat Memory-Enhancing Foods

You are what you eat.

The saying is so famous for a reason. Food directly affects every single part of you. The nutrition you receive can enhance your memory immensely.

The brain is what controls your memory. Since the brain is a muscle, after all, good food will improve its strength.

Here’s what you should eat more of:

Fish Oil

Everybody and their dog knows that fish oil is a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids. These fats are categorized as healthy fats.

Healthy fats are a necessary part of a balanced diet. They reduce anxiety, prevent inflammation, and contribute to the brain’s health.[2]

Elderly people who are at risk of memory loss have been proven to experience an improvement in their condition with the help of fish oil supplements.

Cocoa

How amazing is life? You’re literally being told to add delicious cocoa to your diet. You certainly can’t complain.

Just in case you need some supporting evidence because it sounds too good to be true, we’ll let you know why cocoa is so good for enhancing memory.

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It is a generous source of anti-oxidants. More importantly, cocoa encourages blood flow. Your brain will only stay healthy if it receives enough blood flow and nutrition. This is why cocoa does wonders for enhancing memory.[3]

One thing to keep in mind is that dark chocolate cocoa is more effective than white chocolate cocoa.

Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Did you know that inflammation is a major cause of deteriorating memory?[4]

Inflammation leads to oxidative stress, which then leads to dementia. Your mental health, in general, is at risk with inflammation.

So, it is best if you eat more anti-inflammatory foods. Fruits, vegetables, and teas are some of the best options to include in your diet.

Vitamin D

One of the most common deficiencies in patients of dementia is vitamin D. It is a huge contributor towards cognitive function.

Trends have shown that people with vitamin D deficiencies experience cognitive decline and are at a higher risk of dementia. If you live in colder climates, you are more likely to have a vitamin D deficiency.[5]

Some foods that are rich in vitamin D are:

  • Dairy products
  • Mushrooms
  • Fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna

Sunlight is also a great source of this vitamin!

Curcumin

Even though you will have included anti-inflammatory foods in your diet, there is still a risk that something small may cause inflammation.

To counteract this issue, you should use curcumin.

Curcumin originates from the turmeric root. It has anti-inflammatory properties, reduces oxidative stress, and prevents the buildup of amyloid plaques. All these qualities keep the user at minimal risk of Alzheimer’s, too.[6]

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7. Avoid the Wrong Foods

Once again, you are what you eat.

Bad food can affect you equally as much as good nutrition.

If your goal is to avoid memory loss, you should also be avoiding the following:

Refined Carbs

Refined carbs include foods like cake, white bread, white rice, etc. These carbs are digested quickly and cause a steep increase in blood sugar levels. That in itself is harmful.

Moreover, refined carbs are also closely associated with obesity. Overweight individuals suffer from memory loss at younger ages. In fact, it is strongly recommended that people who want to enhance their memory should maintain optimum weight. Obesity is directly linked with dementia and a decline in brain activity.[7]

With the rising trend of fast food, refined carbs have become a part of pretty much every human’s diet. From kids to elders, everyone is exposed to foods that seem to be harmless but end up being highly risky.

Sugar

As mentioned above, high blood sugar levels are not good for the brain. This is why sugar intake must be monitored.

People with higher sugar levels have worse memories and lesser brain volume in comparison with people who have lower sugar levels.

Furthermore, research has proven that sugar is one of the major causes of short-term memory loss.[8]

By decreasing your sugar intake, you’ll not just improve your memory, but you will also get rid of numerous other health risks.

Alcohol

Alcohol in the blood leads to a memory deficit. Although occasional drinking doesn’t have a noticeable effect, habitual drinkers are at a huge risk.[9]

Excess alcohol intake has neurotoxic effects. It can directly attack the part of the brain that deals with memory.

The Bottom Line

If you get to it with full passion, you can experience noticeable results in your mind’s performance within a few weeks. Since none of these tips are hard to follow, you should begin with a positive attitude right away!

More Tips on Enhancing Memory

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Published on July 29, 2020

How to Build Strategic Thinking Skills for Effective Leadership

How to Build Strategic Thinking Skills for Effective Leadership

Have you been thinking of how you can be a more strategic leader during these uncertain times? Has the pandemic thrown a wrench at all your carefully laid out plans and initiatives?

You’re not alone. The truth is, we all want some stability in our careers and teams during this disruptive pandemic.

However, this now requires a bit more effort than before and making the leap from merely surviving to thriving means buckling down to some serious strategic thinking and maintaining a determined mindset.

Is There a Way to Thrive Despite These Disruptions?

Essentially – yes, although you need to be willing to put in the work. Every leader wants to develop strategic thinking skills so that they can enhance overall team performance and boost their company’s success, but what exactly does it mean to be strategic in the context of the times we live in?

If you happen to be in a leadership position in your organization right now, you are most probably navigating precarious waters given the disruptions caused by the pandemic. There’s a lot more pressure than before because your actions and decisions will have a much greater impact these days not just on you, but also to the people who are part of your team.

Companies often bring me in to coach executives on strategic thinking and planning. And while pre-pandemic I would usually start by highlighting the advantages of strategic thinking, nowadays, I always begin these Zoom coaching sessions by driving home the point that this pandemic has now made strategic thinking not just an option but an absolute must.

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Assessing and making plans through the lens of a good strategy might require significant work at first. Nevertheless, you can take comfort in the fact that the rewards will far outweigh the effort, as you’ll soon see after following the 8 strategic steps I have outlined below.

8 Steps to Strategic Thinking

As events unfold during these strange times, you’re bound to feel wrong-footed every now and then. Being a leader during this pandemic means preparing for more change not just for you, but for your whole team as well.

As states and cities go through a cycle of lockdowns and reopening, employees will experience the full gamut of human emotions in dizzying speed, and you will often be called on to provide insight and stability to your team and workplace.

Strategic thinking is all about anticipation and preparation. Rather than expending your energy merely helping your company put out fires and survive, you can put the time to better use by charting out a solid plan that can protect and help you and your company thrive.

Take the following steps to build solid initiatives and roll out successful projects:

Step 1: Step Back, Then Set the Scope

One of the things that leaders get wrong during their first attempt at strategic thinking is expecting that it is just another item on a checklist. The truth is, you need to take a good, long look at the bigger picture before anything else. This means decisively prioritizing and stepping away from tasks that can be delegated to others. Free up your schedule so you can focus on this crucial task at hand.

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Then, proceed with setting the scope and the strategic goals of the project or initiative you plan to build or execute. Ask yourself the bigger question of why you need to embark on a particular project and when would be the right time to do so.

You need to set a timeline as well, anywhere from 6 months to 5 years. Keep in mind that your projections will deteriorate the further out you go as you make longer-term plans.

For this reason, add extra resources, flexibility, and resilience if you have a longer timeline. You should also be making the goals less specific if you’re charting it out for the longer term.

Step 2: Make a List of Experts

Make and keep a list of credible people who can contribute solid insight and feedback to your initiative. This could range from key stakeholders to industry experts, mentors, and even colleagues who previously planned and rolled out similar projects.

Reach out to the people on this list regularly while you work through the steps to bring diverse insight into your planning process. This way, you will be able to approach any problem from every angle.

Bringing key stakeholders into this initial process will also display your willingness to listen and empathize with their issues. In return, this will build trust and potentially pave the way for smoother buy-in down the line.

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Step 3: Anticipate the Future

After identifying your goals and gathering feedback, it’s time to consider what the future would look like if everything goes as you intuitively anticipate. Then, lay out the kind and amount of resources (money, time, social capital) that might be needed to keep this anticipated future running.

Step 4: Brainstorm on Potential Internal and External Problems

Next, think of how the future would look if you encountered unexpected problems internal and external to the business activity that seriously jeopardize your expected vision of the future. Write out what kind of potential problems you might encounter, including low-probability ones.

Assess the likelihood that you will run into each problem. To gauge, multiply the likelihood by the number of resources needed to address the problem. Try to convert the resources into money if possible so that you can have a single unit of measurement.

Then, think of what steps you can take to address these internal and external problems before they even happen. Write out how much you expect these steps might cost. Lastly, add up all the extra resources that may be needed because of the different possible problems and all the steps you committed to taking to address them in advance.

Step 5: Identify Potential Opportunities, Internal and External

Imagine how your expected plan would look if unexpected opportunities came up. Most of these will be external but consider internal ones as well. Then, gauge the likelihood of each scenario and the number of resources you would need to take advantage of each opportunity. Convert the resources into money if possible.

Then, think of what steps you can take in advance to take advantage of unexpected opportunities and write out how much you expect these steps might cost. Finally, add up all the extra resources that may be needed because of the different unexpected opportunities and all the steps you committed to taking to address them in advance.

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Step 6: Check for Cognitive Biases

Check for potential cognitive biases that are relevant to you personally or to the organization as a whole, and adjust the resources and plans to address such errors.[1] Make sure to at least check for loss aversion, status quo bias, confirmation bias, attentional bias, overconfidence, optimism bias, pessimism bias, and halo and horns effects.

Step 7: Account for Unknown Unknowns (Black Swans)

To have a more effective strategy, account for black swans as well. These are unknown unknowns -unpredictable events that have potentially severe consequences.

To account for these black swans, add 40 percent to the resources you anticipate. Also, consider ways to make your plans more flexible and secure than you intuitively feel is needed.

Step 8: Communicate and Take the Next Steps

Communicate the plan to your stakeholders, and give them a heads up about the additional resources needed. Then, take the next steps to address the unanticipated problems and take advantage of the opportunities you identified by improving your plans, as well as allocating and reserving resources.

Finally, take note that there will be cases when you’ll need to go back and forth these steps to make improvements, (a fix here, an improvement there) so be comfortable with revisiting your strategy and reaching out to your list of experts.

Conclusion

A great way to deal with feelings of uncertainty during this pandemic is to anticipate obstacles with a good plan – and a sure road to that is practicing strategic thinking.

In the coming months and years, you’ll need to continue navigating uncharted territory so that you can lead your team to safe waters. Regularly doing these 8 steps to strategic thinking will ensure that you can prepare for and adapt  to the coming changes with increasing clarity, perspective, and efficiency.[2]

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Featured photo credit: JESHOOTS.COM via unsplash.com

Reference

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