Body & Fitness

15 best-ever memory-boosting tips

Losing the plot a bit lately? Here’s how to sharpen your mind.

1. Train your brain

Just like our bodies, the brain needs a workout. Challenge yours to learn something new – study a language, do crossword puzzles or learn a musical instrument. These activities have been found to help build new cells and strengthen connections in the brain, preventing memory loss.

2. Stay active

Regular exercise is essential for maintaining good brain health because it boosts oxygen and blood flow, improving cognitive function. An Aussie study has found regular exercise in middle age is the best lifestyle change a person can make to prevent cognitive decline in old age.

3. Make a fist

It sounds strange, but next time you’re struggling to remember a name or a phone number, clench your right fist to activate the left hemisphere of your brain, responsible for memory formation, then clench your left to awaken the right hemisphere and assist with recall.

4. Be a doodler

Everyone’s talking about doodling. Far from being a bad habit, scribbles while you’re on the phone or in a meeting have been linked with improving concentration, keeping you in the moment and boosting creativity.

5. Get your Zzzs

When you sleep, your brain repairs itself and commits to memory what you did during the day. Skimping on sleep interrupts this important process, so experts recommend we aim for seven to nine hours of quality slumber each night.

6. Meditate

US scientists have found that this all-round wellness practice can make our brains bigger! Meditation exercises our brains, improving existing connections between cells and encouraging new ones to form, which boosts our ability to learn new information and recall memories.

7. Choose red wine

Good news for all you red wine lovers – the flavonoids in a drop of red actually boost brain function. The research, conducted by Oxford University, discovered half a glass of red wine

a day can improve your memory and cognitive abilities. Win, win!

8. Stress less

When we’re uptight, our bodies produce the stress hormone cortisol, which affects our ability to remember. Over time, stress can damage the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for forming new memories and recalling old ones.

9. Talk to yourself

We’re not suggesting you need to have a full conversation with yourself, but if you want to commit something to memory, one of the most effective ways is to say it out loud. Try it next time you’re introduced to someone and want to remember their name.

10. Quit smoking

Not that you needed another reason to kick the nicotine habit, but smoking literally destroys brain cells. Research has also shown that smokers have an increased risk of developing dementia later in life.

11. Chunk down

This is when you break big pieces of information into more manageable, smaller chunks. Try this when committing a phone number to memory: break it down into segments of two or three numbers at most. You’re far more likely to recall it this way.

12. Eat like a European

The Mediterranean diet has been shown to be the best food plan to boost your memory and stave off dementia. This healthy diet is high in fresh fruit and vegetables, good fats like olive oil and nuts, and protein in the form of chicken and fish – with less red meat and dairy.

13. Tidy up

Physical clutter can affect how your brain processes new information. If you’re someone who tends to live in a state of chaos – even the organised kind – clearing the clutter around you at work or at home can improve your focus and help you retain new information better.

14. Drink green tea

Having a regular cup of green tea could prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Chinese research suggests the tea’s powerful antioxidant qualities can help prevent degenerative disease and memory loss.

15. Laugh out loud

Laughter is not only the best medicine, it can also boost your short-term memory. US research has found a good belly laugh, or even watching 20 minutes of comedy, can lower your stress levels, which helps you to remember things.

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