There are certain health impairments that we all share. The occasional memory lapses are high on that list, I assume.
Contemplating this subject was triggered by number of things and events:
a client, 80 years old, who talked about practicing her memory based on the reading of Michael Powel’s Memory Power book; my mother, 83 years old, who daily and diligently works on resolving crossword puzzles, and my own observation about the memory capabilities etc.
We tend to blame 21st-century information overload for our everyday memory lapses — misplacing the glasses or walking into the kitchen only to forget what we needed there. There’s some truth to that, say the scientists, and it’s also likely that because there are more memory challenges now, our slips are more noticeable. However, we know from the popular as well as from scientific texts that our lives may be more frenetic, but we actually have the capacity to remember much more than we do. What we need to do is simply to work on improving our attention.
Fortunately, research is opening new ways to do that, to sharpen memory now and keep it strong as we get older.
Searching through some interesting articles, I found some good advice for these short- and long-term strategies that can improve our memory and I would like to share them with you.
Let us start with stress because, in my opinion, it affects many of our abilities, especially once the stressful event escalates. Today there is firm evidence indicating that a high level of stress increases the hormone cortisol in the hippocampus — the brain’s control center for learning and memory — and may interfere with encoding information or retrieving it. That is why it is very important to address those stressful issues and start working on the solutions, that is, to reduce or avoid stress, without delay.
Sleep is what helps knit all those memories together. We also need sleep to make long-term memories last.
Foods that keep our heart healthy are also good for our brain. To name just a few: fish high in omega-3 fatty acids (including sardines and salmon) fight artery-damaging inflammation; walnuts; berries, especially blueberries, which are loaded with anthocyanins — potent antioxidants that protect cells, including those in the brain.
In addition, it has been found that when you exercise, your brain gets a workout of its own. A new study of 161 adults ages 59 to 81 found that the hippocampus was larger in those who were physically active. This is the topic we have already written about in one of our previous blogs and I think it is important to be reminded.
There are many more tips and tricks that will make your memory fresh and agile and they can be accessed in books, articles as well in personal trainings or presentations.
So, gladly work on removing the obstacles that cause your stress in order to detach yourself from the pressing work and life concerns. Let your brain and your memory immerse in beautiful, relaxing sights, sounds, readings and company.