Your Marvelous Memory: 10 Easy Ways to Improv...

Your Marvelous Memory: 10 Easy Ways to Improve your Memory
by Jamie Jefferson

Do you ever feel like you're losing your mind?

Do you ever walk into a room, and you can't remember why?

Do you ever get to the store and you can't remember what you came in to buy?

Do you ever wonder where you put your sunglasses, and then you find them on top of your head?

Many of us have these experiences, especially when we are stressed and distracted. We can use these experiences as cues to sharpen our minds and our memory skills.

Here are 10 of the best and easiest ways to do just that:

1. Get a checkup. If your memory loss is significant, or if its onset is sudden, the first thing you'll want to do is make an appointment with your doctor to make sure you're healthy. Many illnesses can impair your memory.

Once you get a clean bill of health, know that slight memory loss is a normal part of life. As we age, our capacity to remember things declines. But there are things we can do about it. There are ways to improve your memory, as well as to prevent further age-related memory loss.

2. Write things down. Start your day by looking at the day's to-do list and stay organized with small notebooks and calendars. There's no shame in writing down those things you need to remember.

3. Be consistent. Make it easy on yourself by organizing your home and keeping the things that you are frequently misplacing (such as your car keys, pocketbook, sunglasses) in the same place each time.

4. Get your zzz's. Research shows that skipping just a few hours of shuteye each night can result in slower reaction times and impaired memory. Make sure you are getting a minimum of 6 hours of quality sleep every night.

5. Eat nutritious whole foods. Make sure your daily diet contains whole grains as well as fresh fruits and vegetables. Healthy, whole foods can help your body fight illnesses that may be related to memory loss.

Research also touts the benefits of omega 3s for brain health, so if your diet doesn't include many foods that are rich in Omega 3s, consider taking a supplement. While you're at it, take a multivitamin as well, just to make sure you're getting sufficient nutrition.

6. Exercise your brain. In your free time, play cards or chess or do crosswords or Sodoku puzzles. You can also stimulate your brain by learning something new, such as a foreign language or a new dance step.

7. Exercise your body. You don't have to run up mountains. Simply put on some good shoes and go outside for a brisk walk each day. Studies show that a regular exercise routine can help improve your memory, and it can make learning new things easier, too. Exercise has a great way of increasing focus and helping the body deal with stress, as well.

8. Do anything else you can to reduce your stress levels. When you are under stress, your body releases cortisol, which can actually impair your memory centers. Try gentle stretching as well as guided visualization and meditation techniques to reduce your stress levels further.

9. Learn memory tricks. There are a variety of useful mnemonic devices to help you remember things, but sometimes, the best memory trick of all is to simply remind yourself to pay attention. Listen actively and strive to stay present when someone is telling you something that you need to remember. Then write it down if you need to.

10. Restrict your consumption of alcohol, tobacco and other substances. Many drugs, including over-the counter and prescription medications, can reduce memory function. You might see your memory improve as soon as you stop using these substances.

Of course, you'll want to check with your doctor before changing any dosages of prescription medication. Talk with your physician about possible memory-related side effects of the medications that you are taking and ideas for combating those effects. Talk to your doctor about any supplements or herbal remedies that she might recommend to help your mind feel sharper, as well.

Take care of your mind and body, get organized, decrease your stress, and pay better attention and you might find your memory improving in magnificent ways.

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