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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 December 10, 2019

How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

It is hardly a secret that the key to successfully accomplishing one goal after another is staying motivated. There are, of course, tasks which successful people may not like at all, yet they find motivation to complete them because they recognize how each particular task serves a greater goal.

So how to stay motivated most of the time? Here are 5 simple yet effective ways on how to stay motivated and get what you want:

1. Find Your Good Reasons

Anything you do, no matter how simple, has a number of good reasons behind it.

You may not be able to find good reasons to do some tasks at first but, if you take just a few moments to analyze them, you will easily spot something good. We also have many tasks which don’t need any reasoning at all – we’ve been doing them for so long that they feel natural.

If you’re ever stuck with some tasks you hate and there seems to be no motivation to complete it whatsoever, here’s what you need to do: find your good reasons.

Even when you set goals, there needs to be reasons behind these goals. They may not be obvious, but stay at it until you see some, as this will bring your motivation back and will help you finish the task.

Some ideas for what a good reason can be:

  • A material reward – quite often, you will get paid for doing something you normally don’t like doing at all.
  • Personal gain – you will learn something new or will perhaps improve yourself in a certain way.
  • A feeling of accomplishment – at least you’ll be able to walk away feeling great about finding the motivation and courage to complete such a tedious task.
  • A step closer to your bigger goal – even the biggest accomplishments in history have started small and relied on simple and far less pleasant tasks than you might be working on. Every task you complete brings you closer to the ultimate goal, and acknowledging this always feels good.

2. Make It Fun

When it comes to motivation, attitude is everything. Different people may have completely opposite feelings towards the same task: some will hate it, others will love it.

Why do you think this happens? It’s simple: some of us find ways to make any task interesting and fun to do!

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Take sports for example. Visiting your local gym daily for a half-an-hour workout session sounds rather boring to some. Yet many others love the idea!

They like exercising not only because they recognize the good reasons behind it, but simply because it’s fun! At certain time of their daily schedule, they find going to gym to be the best thing to do, simply because nothing else will fit their time and lifestyle so perfectly.

Depending on how you look at it, you can have fun doing just about anything! Just look for ways of having fun, and you’ll find them!

A simple approach is to start working on any task by asking yourself a few questions:

  • How can I enjoy this task?
  • What can I do to make this task fun for myself and possibly for others?
  • How can I make this work the best part of my day?

As long as you learn to have the definite expectation of any task being potentially enjoyable, you will start to feel motivated.

Some of you will probably think of a thing or two which are valid exceptions from this statement, like something you always hate doing no matter how hard you try making it fun. You’re probably right, and that’s why I don’t claim everything to be fun.

However, most tasks have a great potential of being enjoyable, and so looking for ways to have fun while working is definitely a good habit to acquire.

3. Change Your Approach And Don’t Give Up

When something doesn’t feel right, it’s always a good time to take a moment and look for a different approach for the task.

You may be doing everything correctly and most efficiently, but such approach isn’t necessarily the most motivating one. Quite often, you can find a number of obvious tweaks to your current approach which will both change your experience and open up new possibilities.

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That’s why saying “one way or another” is so common — if you really want to accomplish your goal, there is always a way; and most likely, there’s more than one way.

If a certain approach doesn’t work for you, find another one, and keep trying until you find the one which will both keep you motivated and get you the desired results.

Some people think that trying a different approach means giving up. They take pride in being really stubborn and refusing to try any other options on their way towards the goal.

My opinion on this is that the power of focus is great, but you should be focusing on your goal, and not limiting your options by focusing on just one way to accomplish it it.

4. Recognize Your Progress

Everything you may be working on can be easily split into smaller parts and stages. For most goals, it is quite natural to split the process of accomplishing them into smaller tasks and milestones. There are a few reasons behind doing this, and one of them is tracking your progress.

We track our progress automatically with most activities. But to stay motivated, you need to recognize your progress, not merely track it.

Here’s how tracking and recognizing your progress is different:

Tracking is merely taking a note of having reached a certain stage in your process. Recognizing is taking time to look at a bigger picture and realize where exactly you are, and how much more you have left to do.

For example, if you’re going to read a book, always start by going through the contents table. Getting familiar with chapter titles and memorizing their total number will make it easier for you to recognize your progress as you read. Confirming how many pages your book has before starting it is also a good idea.

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You see, reading any book you will be automatically looking at page numbers and chapter titles, but without knowing the total number of pages, this information will have little meaning.

Somehow, it is human nature to always want things to happen in short term or even at once. Even though we split complex tasks into simpler actions, we don’t quite feel the satisfaction until all is done and the task is fully complete.

For many scenarios though, the task is so vast that such approach will drain all the motivation out of you long before you have a chance to reach your goal. That’s why it is important to always take small steps and recognize the positive different and progress made. This is how your motivation can sustain in long term.

5. Reward Yourself

This is a trick everyone likes: rewarding yourself is always pleasant. This is also one of the easiest and at the same time most powerful ways to stay motivated!

Feeling down about doing something? Dread the idea of working on some task? Hate the whole idea of working? You’re not alone.

Right from the beginning, agree on some deliverables which will justify yourself getting rewarded. As soon as you get one of the agreed results, take time to reward yourself in some way.

For some tasks, just taking a break and relaxing for a few minutes will do.

For others, you may want to get a fresh cup of coffee and even treat yourself a dessert.

For even bigger and more demanding tasks, reward yourself by doing something even more enjoyable, like going to a cinema or taking a trip to some place nice, or even buying yourself something.

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Your progress may not seem to others like anything worth celebrating but, take time and do it anyway! It is your task and your reward, so any ways to stay motivated are good.

The more you reward yourself for the honestly made progress, the more motivated you will feel about reaching new milestones, thus finally accomplishing your goal.

Mix and Match

Now that you have these five ways of staying motivated, it is a good moment to give you the key to them all: mix and match!

Pick one of the techniques and apply it to your situation. If it doesn’t work, or if you simply want to get more motivated, try another technique right way. Mix different approaches and match them to your task for the best results.

Just think about it: Finding good reasons to work on your task is bound to helping you feel better; and identifying ways to make it fun will help you enjoy the task even more.

Or, if you plan a few points for easier tracking of your progress and on top of that, agree on rewarding yourself as you go; this will make you feel most motivated about anything you have to work through.

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Featured photo credit: Lucas Lenzi via unsplash.com

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