1. Rest and
As muscles require periods of rest, so does your brain need some time
off to process events and unwind. Bodybuilders build lean muscle mass by
working their bodies hard, followed by a period of restorative rest - you
should do the same for your brain. Yoga practitioners believe a a few
moments spent in quiet without outside stimuli, is extremely beneficial to
your overall mental state.
Some video games are actually great for stimulating your mind,
especially brainteasers and puzzle games. Continuing to stimulate and
challenge yourself to recall facts or solve puzzles will help you retain
this function later in life. It seems there is much truth to the saying, you
have to use it or lose it.
One scientific study of long term practitioners of meditation found
they had the highest level of gamma wave patterns in their brains of anyone
ever tested. This is the pattern of brain activity associated with
attention, memory, and learning. Meditation is a calming, de-stressing
practice for your mind that has been shown to enhance your ability to learn
and sharpen your memory. One way to meditate is to sit comfortably and bring
awareness to your breath. Or you may want to try a form of movement
find a yoga class or go for a mediatative walk outside.
4. Tune Out
and Tune In
Pay undivided attention to one task at a time. As difficult as it can
be today, the more you turn off your cell phones, iPods and all general
chatter as much as possible, the better the chance you'll have to process
and recall what's going on around you. When you multitask, your brain
physically processes the information differently and your memories will
contain fewer details (such as the name of that awesome restaurant, or the
name of the person standing in front of you awaiting introduction).
5. Use Memory
You have two secret weapons to help you recall details: your
calendar, and repetition. Writing down important information, names, and
dates helps your recall for two reasons: writing focuses your attention, and
many people can recall written communication better than aural. If you don't
have a chance to write something down, simply repeating out loud what you
want to remember will help implant the memory. Repetition is especially
useful for names when you're introduced to someone new.
Aerobic exercise increases blood flow throughout the body, including
flow to the brain. Studies suggest those who participate in regular
cardiovascular exercise have greater brain volume and white matter (more
brain cells, and better connections between them).
Benefit from yoga by practicing inverted postures that nourish the brain
by increasing the circulation of blood and oxygen.
7. Eat Your
Studies suggest that increasing your vegetable intake helps decrease
memory loss. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts)
and leafy greens high in iron (spinach, kale) are excellent memory boosters.
Foods containing certain phytochemicals such as red grapes, blueberries,
eggplant, red onions, red cabbage, beets, red apples and apricots are known
to actually reverse age-related memory loss.
8. Drink a
Glass of Red Wine
Alcohol increases blood flow and lowers cholesterol. The net effect
is an overall increase in blood flow which increases the availability of
nutrients reaching and nourishing your brain. In addition, red wine contains
resveratrol which studies suggest can help ward off Alzheimer's by
preventing the formation of a protein found in Alzheimer patients.
9. Check Your
Many common prescription and over-the-counter medications affect
memory, though this side effect is often overlooked. As you age your
metabolism slows, meaning these drugs will remain in your system for a
longer period of time. What this means, is that you may become more prone to
contraindications with medications, and may experience a greater occurrence
in severity of side effects such as memory loss.
10. Go Ahead
and Have Your Coffee
Mild stimulants such as the caffeine found in coffee and tea, act to
jolt your system and stimulate proper brain function. There actually might
be some truth to the old adage "I simply can't function until I've had my
cup of coffee in the morning". If you’re not a fan of coffee, rosemary and
green teas also contain stimulants known to have a similar effect.