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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

Learning Methods to Help You Learn Effectively and Easily How to Take Advantage of the 80 20 Rule to Succeed in Life How to Find a Sense of Purpose to Live a Full Life How to Set Professional Development Goals for Success Social Learning How Social Learning Helps You Learn Faster and Easier

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Published on October 5, 2020

What Are Creative Problem Solving Skills (And How To Improve Yours)

What Are Creative Problem Solving Skills (And How To Improve Yours)

I think we’re all familiar with that feeling of needing to solve a problem, trying way too hard, getting frustrated, and then throwing our hands up in defeat. For example, when my editor assigned me this topic, the structure and concept of the piece weren’t instantly clear to me. I had to problem-solve to figure out how to even begin. But problem-solving isn’t quite so linear. It’s not just a matter of brute force. You can’t just muscle your way through. This is where creative problem solving comes in.

Creative problem solving is about using what we know about how the brain works to come up with outside-the-box solutions to creative problems. Sure, we can do things the same way we’ve always done them. Or we can try creative problem solving, which means we spend time ideating (a.k.a. brainstorming), collaborating, ruminating, and refining to land on better and more novel solutions than we could have if we tried to force or rush a solution.

Stages of Creative Problem Solving

There’s no right or wrong way to try creative problem solving, but there are some stages that can help you integrate it into your creative process. Here are the 4 stages of creative problem solving

1. Ideating/Brainstorming

If we’re using creative problem solving, we’re not just going with the first idea that pops into our heads. Brainstorming is crucial to come up with more novel solutions.

One of the most important things to keep in mind during brainstorming is that this is not the time to evaluate or judge ideas. The goal of ideating is to come up with as many ideas as possible.

There’s an improvisation rule called “Yes, And” or the rule of agreement that can help you get the most out of your brainstorming sessions.[1] The idea is simple. If you’re brainstorming in a group and someone tells you an idea, you need to go along with that idea. That’s the “Yes” part of “Yes, And.” Then, you can take it a step further by trying to add to that person’s idea.

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Let’s say you and your team are trying to figure out how to rebrand your shoe company. Your colleague says you could use a mascot. If you’re using improv’s “Yes, And” rule, you might agree and say that the mascot could be a shoe or a sock or a lonely sock looking for a shoe.

During the ideation stage, no one should be worried about which ideas are good and which are bad. Everyone is trying to come up with as many ideas as possible, and everyone should be trying to make the most of everyone else’s ideas.

“Yes, And” can also work if you’re creative problem solving alone. Instead of discarding ideas, you should be saying yes to your ideas, writing them all down, and trying to make all of them as workable as possible. But before you get too far in your creative process, it’s important to run your ideas by someone else.

2. Collaboration

I know sometimes you don’t want to share your ideas with other people. Maybe you’re self-conscious or you just don’t think that your idea is ready for prime time. However, it’s important to step out of your comfort zone and let other people join your creative process if you want to reach the best possible creative solution.

When we’re working in a team, it’s important to not judge each other’s ideas until we’re safely in the final stage of the creative problem-solving process. That means no critiques, no evaluations, and no snarky comments. Not yet, at least.

The reason to hold off on evaluating ideas at this stage is that some people tend to shut down if their ideas are judged too early. There’s a concept called creative suppression that occurs when people stop a creative pursuit temporarily due to feeling judged, shamed, or embarrassed.[2] Even worse, creative mortification is when judgment, shame, or embarrassment makes you quit your creative pursuit altogether.

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When you’re collaborating with others while creative problem solving, you don’t want to shut anyone down. The more people who are actively engaged in the creative process the better.

In improv, there’s something called “group mind.” The basic idea is that a group can come up with a better solution than any single individual. It makes sense since each person in the group enters the creative process with their own strengths, knowledge, background, experience, and ideas. That means that when the group is working harmoniously, the best contributions of each individual will be reflected in the team’s solution, making that solution far better than what any individual could have come up on their own.

So, find someone you trust and lay the ground rules for your collaboration. Tell each other that you won’t be judging each other’s work just yet to bring out the best and make it as creative and effective as possible.

3. Pause

It can seem counterintuitive to pause during the creative process. But to tap into the creative unconscious parts of your brain, you need to stop forcing it and let your mind wander.

The part of your brain that you’re using to understand this article right now is not necessarily the part that’s going to come up with the most novel solution to your problem. To start using your creative unconscious brain, you need to take a break.

Have you ever had that experience of struggling with a problem and then effortlessly figuring it out while you were showering or walking the dog? That’s your unconscious brain doing the heavy lifting.

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This part of the brain can’t be forced into creative problem solving, so stop consciously obsessing about your problem for a while. Take a walk. Go for a drive. Let your mind wander. Dream. This gives your unconscious mind a chance to sort information and come up with some truly novel solutions.

The bonus to letting your unconscious take over is that it’s effortless. Conscious thought requires you to burn lots of energy, while unconscious doesn’t. So, stop trying so hard and let ideas come to you.

4. Refine

At some point, you’re going to have to start evaluating, eliminating, and refining your ideas to get to the best solution. But if you’ve brainstormed, collaborated, and ruminated enough, you should have plenty of material to work with.

An Example of Creative Problem Solving

I think it’s helpful to walk through an example of creative problem-solving in action. Let’s go back to the example of me writing this article.

First, I was presented with the problem, so I started brainstorming and “Yes, And”-ing myself. I thought about everything I already know about creative problem solving and did some preliminary research, but I still didn’t have a structure or theme to tie my ideas together.

Once the problem was marinating in my mind, I started talking to people. I talked to an old friend about my initial ideas about the article, but I still didn’t have any words on the page just yet.

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Then, one morning, the article seemed to come fully formed while I was showering. I could see which examples would work best and how to structure the article. So, I sat down to write and refine the ideas. During the refining stage, I swung back to the collaboration stage when my editor further refined and improved my ideas.

It’s important to remember that these four stages of creative problem solving aren’t linear. They’re circular. After I refine an idea, I can go back to brainstorming, collaborating, and pausing as needed to develop and improve that idea.

Bottom Line

Creative problem solving is, first and foremost, creative. You have to give yourself time and space to be able to reflect and ruminate. It’s also important to collaborate as necessary to improve your ideas with the help of other people.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you can’t force creative problem-solving. Forcing it only leads to frustration and failure, so give yourself some time and a team you trust to come up with the best possible solution to your problem.

More About Creative Problem Solving

Featured photo credit: Per Lööv via unsplash.com

Reference

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