Most of the time it happens that when we were about to do something, we forget what it was and we go a few steps backwards to recollect what it was.
This kind of memory lapses is common and normal too. The memory strength depicts the health and vitality of our brain. With too many things going around us and when we are forced to do them, we cannot blame our brain if it fails to do its duty to the fullest. The memory lapses are the indication that the brain needs some boosting or is tired. It may also mean that the grey matter is deteriorating. It is up to us to do the effort to bring it back in action and improve and sharpen the memory.
Factors Affecting Memory
Restoring the brain power is no rocket science. It is done with some simple methods that we often do not pay much attention to. It is important to know that whatever we do in a day affects our brain and directly or indirectly our actions reflect the brain functioning. The secret passage to a sharpened memory is to sleep well, keep the stress out, eat right and indulge in some kind of workouts- both physical and mental.
Sleep: Our memory is similar to a pile of books that need some stacking. A not-so-proper stack can stumble even with the slightest wind and we find it difficult to compile them. If we tire our brain without much sleep, the brain cannot stack the memories according to its relevance and a randomly stored thought is difficult to find and we forget things. A good night’s sleep provides the necessary rest and also allows the brain to stack the thoughts and store them so that they are accessible easily when we want them back. Without sleep, the thoughts are scattered and we find it difficult to remember them. If you are one of those who has difficulty falling asleep, take a glass of warm milk before bedtime or indulge in activities that can promote sleep.
Stress: Stress can affect the normal functioning of the whole body and it affects the brain more. Stress releases stress hormones and the major part of the brain takes part in handling the nervous system that goes out of hand and affects its storage function resulting in forgetfulness and memory slip. Until and unless we find a way to destress the body we will continue to be a forgetful person who will even forget the simplest things in our day-to-day life.
Food: Our daily diet has a major role to play to maintain a normal and healthy memory. Memory loss due to aging is caused by cell deterioration and the lack of enough antioxidants in the diet. This will cause premature death of cells in the body and brain. Death of brain cells is the major reason for diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. Omega 3 fatty acids are needed to restore the brain cells and a lack of them in the diet can affect the restoration process. This is why certain food are important for the brain and memory, like almonds that contain a god amount of omega 3 fatty acids to help restore a healthy brain.
Lack of Exercise affects many vital organs and all these organs are related to the brain and its smooth functioning. Exercises boost the heart functioning so that it can pump more blood to the brain. Research has found that exercises results in increase in brain volume after a workout session. Exercises help maintain the BMI. Staying in the normal body mass index also plays a major role in keeping a good memory. Persons who have normal BMI are more likely to have better memory than those who are above it.
Tips to Improve Memory and Sharpen the Brain
Chewing Gum is found to improve concentration during learning. If a person chews gum while learning, he/she is found to do well in the tests. Chewing a gum involves some brain activity that helps with concentration and increases the memory.
Complex images help slow down the deterioration of the brain cells as they are forced to be useful to make sense of what is seen. Setting the wallpaper of the computer or the phone helps the brain activate instantly because it will be most watched thing of the day.
Cut the calories: Calorie cut is said to be a short cut for a sharp memory especially in elders. Low calories make way for low insulin and so the inflammations are also reduced. This helps in brain functioning. Reduction in calories does not mean that it has to be way below normal, but only restrict it to what is normal and try not to exceed the limit continuously for two consecutive days.
Food: Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants that protect the cells from damages. Choose the super foods that can also add some energy into the system. Almonds contain omega 3 fatty acids. Green tea not only protects the brain cells but also improves the mental alertness and slows down the brain aging as well.
Fun and Laughter: Laughter is the best therapy to relax the whole body from head to toe. When we laugh the muscles get some movements and rejuvenate the body. This refreshment helps boost the brain functioning. The best way to have some laugh is to hang out with buddies who can make us laugh. Simply laughing even over a chat in the media can also make quick brain rejuvenation. Choose friends who can lighten the group than the ones who likes to go out roaming around. A good humorous time can make us forget about a lot of problems and can rid us of some amount of mental burden.
Go shopping: Do not get shocked. Yes it is true that shopping helps restore memory as it is both a physical and mental workout. When we shop we THINK about what to buy and what not to, we think whether we should buy this or that, we think which shop will be better for something etc. this refreshes the brain and improves memory. Not to mention the physical benefits of shopping by walking all the way up and then again to the ground floor.
Languages: Learn new languages to help improve our communication skills as well as the memory. Brain likes challenges and what better way than an unknown language and trying to make sense of a complex word or making a sentence in what we are not good at.
Magnesium is an essential mineral related to memory or memory loss. Including magnesium rich food in the diet helps fight the memory loss due to aging.
Mind Games makes the brain think and use the grey matter more. Try to solve some puzzles, crosswords, Sudoku, or any game of activity that demands some concentration and thinking. Choose the one that interest you and can be fun and enjoyable.
Power nap: As much as a good night’s sleep is essential for better memory, a power nap for a few minutes can work wonders in sharpening the memory. Napping for a good 10-20 minutes can refresh both the body and mind and an improved alertness is also felt.
Rosemary oil is found to improve memory for a longer time than other oils. Inhale some rosemary scent in the morning for a refreshed day and better concentration and memory.
Walking keeps the memory sharp. Elders who walk for at least half an hour daily are less likely to suffer memory problems because of their age. Research also finds that walking for 6-9 miles in a week can ward off the age related memory loss.
Wine: A glass of red wine can actually improve the memory. In contradiction that alcohol damages the health, red wine is beneficial as long as it is consumed in moderate amounts. Juts a glass for women and two for men is healthy enough. It boosts the blood flow to the brain and can even prevent memory related diseases.
Memory needs some boosting when there are frequent memory lapses. First find out the reason and try to deal the matter from the correct angle rather than searching for solutions in the dark. Elderly people will need more care in dealing with memory loss. They need a routine to get used to so that it is easier on their brain to know what to do at what time of the day. The younger generation needs measures to keep the brain health and to stay healthy for a longer period and at the same time as a preventive measure against any future possible memory problems.
I finished my masters in finance and worked for the Largest Private sector banking company in India. When the time came, I moved on to something less demanding and more creative. The influence of Indian culture asks us to put satisfaction upfront and I was in search of it. Writing struck me as a possibility and soon a passion. I am not creative but I am very thorough. Technical writing is my forte and at times I do delve into the creative side, though the stint usually lasts not more than a day! I enjoy traveling, reading and shopping.