Have you ever felt scattered, confused, unable to remember what you had planned next? Have you felt your thoughts and memories slipping away more and more the harder you try to grasp at them? Have you wanted to improve your memory, but can’t think of where to start?
You’re not alone. Many people struggle with memory and understanding how to improve it. Whether recalling specific events from a decade ago or what you had for breakfast yesterday, memory is something we can all work on.
Here’s a quick list of tips and tricks to help boost your mental functions, and maybe help you remember where you left your car keys for once.
This one seems pretty self-explanatory, but it’s tougher than it looks. If you can’t remember where you leave things, it’s probably because they’re not in normal or logical places. Simple organization can quickly improve your memory. Instead of rooting through the pockets of your dirty laundry for your keys or wallet, put them in the same place every night before you go to bed.
Likewise, keeping your living and work spaces cleaned and organized can do wonders for your own mental organization. If you spend every day trying to remember the little, disorganized items you’ll have no time to focus on remembering less-direct things like birthdays and anniversaries.
2. Diet and Exercise
Have you heard this one before? You should have — a proper diet and exercise regimen every day will improve functionality in just about every part of your life, memory included.
Foods to avoid: sugars, fats, oils. Basically, anything that makes you sluggish physically will also zap your brain power and encourage you to waste your time on things that don’t challenge your memory. Some scientists suggest eggs for breakfast, as well as loads of fruits and veggies and plenty of protein for the workouts.
For workouts, you don’t need to set the bench record or run a marathon. Anything that gets you moving and elevates your heart rate will get the blood flowing to all parts of your body. The better your blood circulation, the more blood that makes its way to your brain. More blood to your brain means better recall and sharper thinking.
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Not only does sleep let you recharge and process the events of your daytime hours, but studies also suggest short naps can do wonders for brain power and information retention. In addition to getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep every night, a daytime nap will process whatever you were thinking about before you closed your eyes.
Not getting enough sleep, on the other hand, leaves you fatigued, drained and unable or unwilling to focus on memories that might otherwise be easy to recall.
4. Challenge Yourself
This one comes from personal experience — if you think you can’t remember a password or a birthday or directions to a certain store, don’t dig out your phone and look it up right away.
Instead, take a guess. Most times it’s relatively low-risk and won’t waste much of your time. On the flip side, challenging your recall and brain power will help you remember the same and similar things in the future. Your brain retains tons of information unconsciously, and you’ll often find yourself remembering things you didn’t know you knew.
You can also begin games and puzzles that engage the problem-solving sections of your brain. Board games engage cognitive capabilities and help you to recall vocabulary and solve puzzles in the process. Your brain is a muscle, and it should be worked out like any other muscle.
But That’s Not All
While this list is focused on memory, it’s also a pretty basic guide to general self-improvement in general. Any and all of these suggestions are fundamentally good life practices. While they all should help boost your mental functionality, they’ll also have positive effects on your life at large.
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