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10 Practical Tips on Improving Your Memory

10 Practical Tips on Improving Your Memory

As long as there’s a scrap of paper to be written on, anything can be remembered. But why rely on writing everything down when there are easy, natural, and sometimes strange ways to improve your memory? These ten practical tips on improving your memory will definitely stimulate your brain.

1. Play brain games.

By the time you’re an adult, you probably have a routine carved out. Get up, go to work, come home, be with family. These habits work because you’ve done them over and over, and they use the same neural pathways in your brain. Shaking up this routine can stimulate your brain so it keeps developing. Find brain teasers, or do sudoku and crossword puzzles in the paper. There are an influx of websites and game cartridges that will help you use your brain in different ways. Brain games don’t have to be on a computer or handheld device! Taking a new way home from work, visiting different places over the weekend, and reading different types of books will also activate lesser-used areas of the brain. Anything that’s new, fun, and challenging will stimulate your brain.

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2. Eat brain foods.

Food is fuel for the body, and also fuels the brain! Eating a well-balanced diet will not only improve your memory‒it can reduce your risk of dementia in old age. Eat plenty of omega-3s, which can be found in a variety of fish. If you don’t like seafood, try eating more walnuts, spinach, broccoli, and kidney beans. Eat more fruits and vegetables; they’re packed with antioxidants that protect brain cells from damage.

3. Exercise.

Exercising keeps your body in shape, but it also keeps your brain healthy. Losing weight not only restores your body to how it used to look, it also improves your memory function. Walking six to nine miles a week, especially as you get older, helps preserve your memories. It’s been shown that, after nine years of this type of exercise, you’ll have more brain volume than someone who has led a more sedentary lifestyle.

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4. Get enough sleep.

It’s common sense that you need a certain amount of sleep to function every day, but did you know that sleep improves memory? It’s because your brain stays so busy, even while you’re asleep! The brain works on memories, even reorganizing them. Now some of your dreams make a little more sense, right?

5. Chew gum.

A study showed that chewing gum helped individuals stay more focused on a task. They also had improved short-term memory compared with those who didn’t chew gum. Just make sure your chewing doesn’t turn into annoying chomping‒that might disrupt others’ concentration!

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6. Manage stress levels.

Stress makes you feel strung out and hectic, but it also negatively impacts your brain. Over time, chronic stress kills brain cells and damages the hippocampus, the section of the brain that forms new memories and stores old ones.

7. Have a healthy iron level.

Iron deficiency can have adverse effects on brain function, including attention and memory issues. Studies have shown that people who have low iron levels and took memory tests took longer to finish these tests, as well as scored significantly lower than people with normal iron levels. Thankfully, taking an iron supplement easily reverses these negative points. In that same study, people who took supplements scored at a normal level just a couple of months later.

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8. Clench your right fist.

Sounds crazy simple, right? … Or just crazy. But a study was done showing that individuals who clenched their right fists while learning new material, then clenched their left fist when recalling that material, remembered more than groups who didn’t clench their fists at all.

9. Learn to focus.

Multitasking has always been hailed as a good thing, a trait that makes people more productive. But it’s not. Multitasking actually distracts your brain. Trying to juggle too many tasks at once prevents you from focusing on, and completing, one thing.

10. Sip red wine.

Last but certainly not least! Don’t we always love a doctor-given reason to drink wine? Red wine is rich in resveratrol, which boosts blood flow in the brain and reduces risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Be sure you drink in moderation, since alcohol can kill brain cells. Doctors recommend one glass a day for women, and two for men. If you want to stay away from alcohol completely, resveratrol is also found in cranberry juice, grape juice, peanuts, and fresh grapes and berries.

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Last Updated on March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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