Memory loss can be caused by a thousand different things, but generally, time spent on Planet Earth is the heaviest factor weighing on our memories. As the years continue to roll by, there are many ways to combat the effects that age has on memory loss, and below are 7 easy-to-implement life changes geared toward garnering a better memory and ultimately avoiding the lengthy list of issues related to memory loss.
Whether referring to an adult or a child, one daily living activity that needs to be learned is how to improve sleeping habits. A well-rested brain is a higher-functioning brain, and this is true for everyone. For youngsters, this generally means more focus and better grades, and for folks on the high side of 30, it also means a more preserved memory bank.
Reduce “Added” Sugar
You’ve probably heard this one from your dentist a lot, as a way to keep your pearly whites shining, but it also doubles as a great habit for memory conservation and improvement. Reducing your intake of foods that have added sugars such as sodas, candy, pies, and dairy desserts, will pay dividends far beyond preserving your pretty teeth and sharp memory.
Social interaction sparks the brain in a number of beneficial ways. Meeting new people gives our brains the same stimulation as seeing a new country or trying a new food, but unlike those two things, walking down the street and saying hello to people is free!
If you have cold feet about ways to improve your social interaction (and ultimately your memory) try a quick internet search of “meetups” in your area regarding, literally, anything you’re interested in. This can range from softball to surfing to music to an affinity for WWII aircraft. You’ll most likely be very surprised to find that there are other people interested in even the weirdest interests you may have.
Cut Down on Alcohol
It’s no secret that drinking too much alcohol has an endless list of negative health impacts on the body and brain, but when relating it to memory we normally just think of it affecting our short-term memory. Long-term memory is affected as well, as excessive alcohol intake damages the hippocampus, which is the most vital part of the brain regarding recollection.
Practice Memory Recollection
Practice makes perfect! (Or, in this case, at least improves your cognitive skills.) Some classic ways of practicing cognitive skills are daily crosswords and sudokus in your newspaper, but many smartphone apps have been developed and proven to improve memory as well.
Cut the Carbs
This one has a little overlap with the “cutting added sugars” paragraph above, but it’s not only sugar in your food that can be detrimental to your memory. Refined carbohydrates have a similar effect as far as hurting the memory. Cakes and cereals, and rice and bread all contain high levels of processed carbohydrates, so keeping an eye on your intake of these foods will keep you ahead of the memory game as well.
Mediation can be one proverbial stone that kills a lot of proverbial birds when it comes to cognitive health, especially with positivity and memory. “Mindfulness” is defined as the psychological process of bring one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment. In short, it means taking a few moments to appreciate what you have. It’s been repeatedly proven that meditation focused around mindfulness bolsters the cerebral cortex of those who practice it, and the cerebral cortex deals with learning, concentration, and a better memory.
There is no way to turn back the hands of time (yet!), but every single day there is more information about how to set ourselves up for mental and physical success as we continue to age. This list is just a small sample of healthy habits that increase brain function, but all of them are easily implementable and most of them are quite enjoyable, too!
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