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Last Updated on December 14, 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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Last Updated on January 12, 2021

Science Says Silence Is Much More Important To Our Brains Than We Think

Science Says Silence Is Much More Important To Our Brains Than We Think

In 2011, the Finnish Tourist Board ran a campaign that used silence as a marketing ‘product’. They sought to entice people to visit Finland and experience the beauty of this silent land. They released a series of photographs of single figures in the nature and used the slogan “Silence, Please”. A tag line was added by Simon Anholt, an international country branding consultant, “No talking, but action.”

Eva Kiviranta the manager of the social media for VisitFinland.com said: “We decided, instead of saying that it’s really empty and really quiet and nobody is talking about anything here, let’s embrace it and make it a good thing”.

Finland may be on to something very big. You could be seeing the very beginnings of using silence as a selling point as silence may be becoming more and more attractive. As the world around becomes increasingly loud and cluttered you may find yourself seeking out the reprieve that silent places and silence have to offer. This may be a wise move as studies are showing that silence is much more important to your brains than you might think.

Regenerated brain cells may be just a matter of silence.

 A 2013 study on mice published in the journal Brain, Structure and Function used differed types of noise and silence and monitored the effect the sound and silence had on the brains of the mice.[1] The silence was intended to be the control in the study but what they found was surprising. The scientists discovered that when the mice were exposed to two hours of silence per day they developed new cells in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a region of the brain associated with memory, emotion and learning.

The growth of new cells in the brain does not necessarily translate to tangible health benefits. However, in this instance, researcher Imke Kirste says that the cells appeared to become functioning neurons.

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“We saw that silence is really helping the new generated cells to differentiate into neurons, and integrate into the system.”

In this sense silence can quite literally grow your brain.

The brain is actively internalizing and evaluating information during silence

A 2001 study defined a “default mode” of brain function that showed that even when the brain was “resting” it was perpetually active internalizing and evaluating information.

Follow-up research found that the default mode is also used during the process of self-reflection. In 2013, in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Joseph Moran et al. wrote, the brain’s default mode network “is observed most closely during the psychological task of reflecting on one’s personalities and characteristics (self-reflection), rather than during self-recognition, thinking of the self-concept, or thinking about self-esteem, for example.

“When the brain rests it is able to integrate internal and external information into “a conscious workspace,” said Moran and colleagues.

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When you are not distracted by noise or goal-orientated tasks, there appears to be a quiet time that allows your conscious workspace to process things. During these periods of silence, your brain has the freedom it needs to discover its place in your internal and external world.

The default mode helps you think about profound things in an imaginative way.

As Herman Melville once wrote,[2]

“All profound things and emotions of things are preceded and attended by silence.”

Silence relieves stress and tension.

It has been found that noise can have a pronounced physical effect on our brains resulting in elevated levels of stress hormones. The sound waves reach the brain as electrical signals via the ear. The body reacts to these signals even if it is sleeping. It is thought that the amygdalae (located in the temporal lobes of the brain) which is associated with memory formation and emotion is activated and this causes a release of stress hormones. If you live in a consistently noisy environment that you are likely to experience chronically elevated levels of stress hormones.

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A study that was published in 2002 in Psychological Science (Vol. 13, No. 9) examined the effects that the relocation of Munich’s airport had on children’s health and cognition. Gary W. Evans, a professor of human ecology at Cornell University notes that children who are exposed to noise develop a stress response that causes them to ignore the noise. What is of interest is that these children not only ignored harmful stimuli they also ignored stimuli that they should be paying attention to such as speech. 

“This study is among the strongest, probably the most definitive proof that noise – even at levels that do not produce any hearing damage – causes stress and is harmful to humans,” Evans says.[3]

Silence seems to have the opposite effect of the brain to noise. While noise may cause stress and tension silence releases tension in the brain and body. A study published in the journal Heart discovered that two minutes of silence can prove to be even more relaxing than listening to “relaxing” music. They based these findings of changes they noticed in blood pressure and blood circulation in the brain.[4]

Silence replenishes our cognitive resources.

The effect that noise pollution can have on cognitive task performance has been extensively studied. It has been found that noise harms task performance at work and school. It can also be the cause of decreased motivation and an increase in error making.  The cognitive functions most strongly affected by noise are reading attention, memory and problem solving.

Studies have also concluded that children exposed to households or classrooms near airplane flight paths, railways or highways have lower reading scores and are slower in their development of cognitive and language skills.

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But it is not all bad news. It is possible for the brain to restore its finite cognitive resources. According to the attention restoration theory when you are in an environment with lower levels of sensory input the brain can ‘recover’ some of its cognitive abilities. In silence the brain is able to let down its sensory guard and restore some of what has been ‘lost’ through excess noise.[5]

Summation

Traveling to Finland may just well be on your list of things to do. There you may find the silence you need to help your brain. Or, if Finland is a bit out of reach for now, you could simply take a quiet walk in a peaceful place in your neighborhood. This might prove to do you and your brain a world of good.

Featured photo credit: Angelina Litvin via unsplash.com

Reference

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