We all have moments when we forget something—car keys, phones, that one important email you were supposed to send out before the end of the day. Although it does happen to everyone, forgetting things can be frustrating and make our lives more difficult. Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can improve your memory, and they can all be done naturally right now! Here are seven natural ways you can give your memory a well-deserved boost!
The effects of meditation can go beyond giving you some peace of mind and a moment of relaxation. By taking time to meditate each day, you’ll be actively reducing your blood pressure, increasing blood flow to the brain and improving your memory, among plenty of other health benefits.1
The gray matter in our brains allows us to control functions like movement, emotions and memory. But as we age, we can lose gray matter.2 However, long-term meditation habits can help increase the gray matter in our brains and protect our memory.3 The positive effects that meditation can have on your memory happen over months or years of practice, so, work this relaxing habit into your daily life now and keep your memory healthy in the long run!
- Don’t kick coffee
A study from Johns Hopkins Medicine gave participants either a 200-milligram caffeine tablet or a placebo before being shown a series of images. The participants that were given the tablets were better able to distinguish the same images from similar ones when tested again 24 hours later. While more data is needed, it seems that moderate caffeine consumption may actually boost our memories.
The caffeine in your cup of coffee has other benefits for your brain as well. It can increase awareness by blocking the chemical adenosine, which makes you sleepy. Additionally, the antioxidants in coffee have also been shown to help lead to a reduced risk of neurological diseases like Parkinson’s.4
- Pick up an instrument
Playing an instrument has been proven to help increase the amount of gray matter in your brain and lead to better mental processes.5 When you play an instrument, you use both hemispheres of your brain, strengthening the organ and improving literacy skills and spatial reasoning along with your memory. Instruments are also often used in studies to help improve memory functions in people suffering from Alzheimer’s.
- Go for a run or walk more often
Regular exercise has a wealth of physical and mental benefits. From boosting heart health to helping fight depression and improving your memory, when you’re physically active, your mood improves, and you get better sleep while reducing anxiety and stress. Lack of sleep and higher levels of stress have been shown to negatively affect cognitive functions.
In as short a time as six months, regular exercise can help increase the size and function of different regions of your brain, including those for thinking and memory.6 If you’re looking for a fun way to help you stay active, Foresters Go™ gives you motivational activity challenges to take part in, healthy tips and blog articles to read and amazing rewards you can earn from living well.
- Avoid multitasking too often
While multitasking may make you feel more productive, it can actually put your brain under more stress. That stressful feeling releases hormones that interfere with your short-term memory and make it difficult to return to a task when you’re interrupted.7 Instead, focus on one task at a time. Start by limiting your distractions, like your phone or TV, while working, and setting aside time when you can catch up on emails or news around your working hours.
You can also batch your smaller tasks together and work on them at a specified time in your day. These should be light jobs and handled when you have relatively low energy. Save bigger tasks for more productive times and focus on one at a time to help keep your memory sharp.
- Limit sugar
Consistently eating too much sugar can affect your body in a number of negative ways. Everything from weight gain to an increased risk of heart disease to developing type 2 diabetes and a fatty liver has been linked to high-sugar diets. But it can also impact your brain and its functions as well.
When it comes to your brain, consuming too much sugar has been shown to impact your hippocampus, a key part of the brain where short-term memories are turned into long-term memories.8 Instead of feeding that sugar craving, try swapping in healthier alternatives like dark chocolate, high-protein Greek yogurt, and whole grains. This article from Healthline has a great list of alternate foods you can turn to when you’re feeling like having a sugary snack.
- Train your brain
Playing brain games is a fantastic way to help improve your memory and give it the boost it deserves.9 Pick up a crossword every day, try some sudoku, play a game of Tetris, or challenge your partner to a round of chess—these games test your vocabulary skills, memory retrieval and short-term memory while also working the left and right sides of the brain at once.
At Foresters, we offer our members a unique benefit called Lifelong Learning. This benefit gives you access to a wealth of online courses that you can use to learn new skills at your own pace. Members can use Lifelong Learning by signing into MyForesters and browsing our catalog of unique courses. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can improve your memory, why not start with our “How to improve your memory” online course? It’ll give you great insight into how you can boost your memory and improve your thought clarity and overall focus.
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