9 Memory Training Techniques to Improve Cognitive Functioning
Have you ever been envious of people with exceptional memories? Well, it is essential to know that there are various ways for you to improve your memory capacity.
In order to do this, first, it is vital to understand the science of memory – how does your brain work? The first step in having a good memory is through encoding. This is when the brain consciously encodes information based on sensory details, feelings, images, and sounds.
This information will be stored in different areas of your brain, either permanently or temporarily. That is why different memories are stored in long-term memory while others are stored in short term depending on when the memory was first formed.
In order to retrieve this information, your brain performs a function called recall. Therefore, if you want to increase your cognitive abilities, try some of the following memory training techniques.
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1. Eat a brain-boosting diet
The food you eat can influence your brain for better or for worse. A healthy diet that is based on lean proteins, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits not only boost the function of your body as a whole but can specifically help improve your memory and brain function.
It is essential to have a diet that is rich in Omega-3 because research has shown that this nutrient may have a good influence on your brain health. However, if you’re not fond of seafood, there are other sources of omega-3 such as pumpkin seeds, broccoli, spinach, beans, soya beans, flaxseed oil, and seaweed.
It is also important to limit saturated fats and calories because they disrupt your concentration, which eventually affects your memory. Therefore, you need to eat more vegetables and fruits, which are rich in antioxidants to protect your brain cells from damage.
Green tea is another healthy food to implement in your diet because it can increase your mental alertness while helping to slow the process of brain aging.
Since red wines have a significant amount of antioxidants, you can drink a glass here and there, but not too much because alcohol kills brain cells.
2. Have a laugh
You probably know that laughter is one of the best remedies for your brain because emotional responses relate to neurons in your nervous system and brain.
Therefore, it is important to appreciate the joyful experiences in your life and spend time with people you enjoy spending time with and who make you laugh.
3. Manage your stress
Too much stress can have a detrimental effect on the brain, and with time, it will damage the hippocampus and brain cells – both of which are involved in memory storage.
Therefore, it is essential to learn how to manage stress by expressing your feelings instead of piling them up.
The idea is to focus on one task at a time, strike a balance between your leisure time and work, and have realistic expectations on life.
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4. Make Friends
Nurturing healthy relationships is among some of the best brain exercises ever. Research has shown that spending time with meaningful friends not only provides good emotional health, but can help to enhance brain health.
There are many ways you can make good friends and cultivate positive relationships. You can join a club or volunteer in a charitable organization where you’ll meet people who can add value to your life.
By doing this, you may notice your memory skills sharpen.
5. Get adequate sleep
Sleep is essential for the development of the brain. People who have an adequate amount of sleep tend to have a good memory and critical thinking skills.
This is because sleep consolidates your memories, which in turn enhances memory skills. It is vital to have a regular sleeping schedule and to get up at the same time every morning so that you build a routine that will work well for your brain health.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to avoid all screens at least an hour before your bedtime. Phones, computers, and TV lights suppress melatonin, a hormone that helps you sleep. You also need to cut off your caffeine intake because it can tamper with your sleeping patterns.
6. Physical Exercises
Physical exercise is good for mental health because it increases oxygen intake to your brain, therefore reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Both of these heart conditions can contribute to memory loss.
Physical exercises require you to sharpen your complex motor skills as well as hand-eye coordination which is essential in brain building. Keeping up with a regimen of physical activity can also reduce stress hormones, which might compromise your cognitive skills if they are produced in excess.
Take morning exercises seriously because it will make you stay alert throughout the day. Choose aerobic exercises that will keep adequate blood circulation because it works great for your brain.
7. Treat health conditions
Some health conditions can negatively affect your cognitive skills. Alzheimer’s and dementia are two commonly known causes of memory loss, but other health disorders can interfere with your memory.
Diabetes and cardiovascular infections affect your brain health. Additionally, hormonal imbalance can also lead to confusion and memory loss. You may also need to avoid over the counter drugs because some medications such as antidepressants and allergy medication can affect your brain.
8. Try Mnemonics
Mnemonics are proven memory techniques that will significantly boost and sharpen your memory skills. Try simple mnemonics that can help you to get started.
For instance, you can use music mnemonics, which emphasizes repetition or rhyming to help you build your cognitive skills. It relies on a pattern that organizes your brain to store information effectively, so it can be easy to recall.
Meditation involves closing your eyes, relaxing, breathing deeply, and emptying your mind (not thinking about anything). The whole point is to reduce stress and improve cognitive function. This helps strengthen the signal and structure of the frontal cortex that is responsible for concentration.
There have been studies that utilize MRI machines on monks that meditate daily and people who don’t meditate. The MRI detects a higher and more robust structure and brain signals on the monks.
This shows the effectiveness of meditation and how it can improve memory and cognitive function. It is highly recommended to meditate daily for 15-30 minutes.
The human brain can adapt to changes irrespective of age; this is called neuroplasticity. It enhances the learning of new information and increases cognitive abilities.
Therefore, if you implement the tips that are provided in this article, it might help sharpen your memory skills to promote better mental health. The idea is to avoid any unnecessary activities that compromise your mental health.
It will take time to experience some cognitive improvement from these mental exercises. However, with enough patience and perseverance, you may notice a significant improvement in your memory abilities.
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