About a week ago, I met a friend for lunch. I hadn’t seen her in months and so we had a lot to catch up on. A couple times, however, I’d be talking and completely lose my train of thought.
Can anyone else relate?
If you’re like me, there have been numerous times where I couldn’t function without my phone reminders or sticky notes. Sometimes my family would even laugh at me when I’d have to whip out my phone and say, “O.K. Google, remind me to…”.
Improving memory and cognitive function is such an important thing, however often times people push it to the side or don’t even think to spend time on it. If you’re wondering how to boost memory, then you’re in the right place! Check out these helpful tips for not only boosting your memory, but your brainpower as well.
Step 1 – Minimize a Fatty Diet
This may not come as a surprise, but eating a relatively low-fat diet improves memory and the formation of neural pathways in the brain. You know the old saying, “you are what you eat”?
It’s so, so true.
When you fill your diet with saturated fat, sugar and other nutrient-depleted foods, your body has nothing to fuel new growth. This not only holds true for improving memory but also for building muscle growth, bone formation, heart health and pretty much everything else in your body.
Instead of always choosing the heavier, greasier options, try something lighter! These foods are especially good if you want to boost memory because of their powerful antioxidants, vitamins and non-saturated heart-healthy fats.
- Dark chocolate
- Lean chicken
For more info on the health benefits of dark chocolate, read Dark Chocolate and Your Health – Is It Really Good for You?
Step 2 – Get Your Zzzs
This step is easy to say, but so difficult to do. In a world filled with smart phones, smart watches, TVs, computers and every other gadget imaginable, getting a solid 7-8 hours of sleep at night isn’t easy.
I know I’ve fallen into a bad habit of looking at my phone every night before falling asleep. Some nights it keeps me up until past midnight. That’s an extra 2-3 hours I could’ve been sleeping! On the days where I’ve forced myself to put the phone away, though, the next day I always feel so much better. I would definitely encourage you to try avoiding screens before bed! If only just for a week. See how you feel and function the next day.
If you’re like me and have trouble not scrolling through Instagram or Facebook before bed, try reading a book or magazine instead. Simply replacing the LED screen for paper not only helps your brain to wind down, but is also puts less strain on your eyes.
Step 3 – Exercise Your Body
If you’re not that big of a gym guru, no worries! Exercising your body doesn’t mean you have to make yourself miserable. Find something that you enjoy doing (while getting your HR up) and just do it! Initially it may not be the most exciting thing to do, however over time your body will begin to crave the exercise. Why?
The science behind it lies in how exercise affects the body. When you exercise, so many beneficial changes occur. You:
- Decrease stress (through the release of endorphins)
- Sleep better (since you’re body needs more time to recover)
- Improve your mood
- Improve brain function (through the increase of oxygen flow)
- Increases blood flow (which lowers your risk of heart disease)
After a good workout, you may feel tired. Overall, though, your body is in so much better shape inwardly (and outwardly) than it was before. This makes you feel good! Naturally, your body wants to always feel this good.
This is why athletes, trainers and competitors genuinely enjoy working out and eating healthy. It may seem bizarre to someone who never exercises, but over time these people have learned that if they take care of their bodies the right way, they feel so much better. Why would anyone not want to feel good?
Step 4 – Decrease Stress
This is another difficult one, however it’s pivotal if you want to boost memory. With our lives constantly being bombarded by work, school and social activities, keeping stress to a minimum is…well…stressful!
Lately I have been trying to incorporate more prayer into my everyday life. Not just when I feel stressed in the moment, but during the times I’m not feeling stressed. This form of meditating and talking to God builds such a good momentum. I’ve found it makes going through stressful times way easier because I’m already in the mindset that the creator of the universe loves me and is there to ease my burdens if I merely ask.
It takes a HUGE load off your shoulders.
Additionally, I try to take at least 20-30 minutes of time each day to enjoy a hobby. It doesn’t matter what it is (some days it’s simply watching a TV show). But having that time to decompress and de-stress allows the hundreds of neural pathways in my brain to slow down.
I encourage you to try meditating, praying and slowing down. It’s easier said than done, however the results are truly wonderful.
Step 5 – Cut Back on Multitasking
If you’re like me, when you’re body is under stress it tries to do everything at once. Multitasking makes me feel like I can accomplish more in less time. Even though it’s helpful sometimes, I often find myself sacrificing other things in return. Being happy, calm and having a sharp short-term memory are often times neglected.
Although it may feel like 24 hrs is nowhere near enough time to do everything in a day, try to cut back on multitasking. It may be as simple as doing the laundry before cooking dinner, instead of trying to cook dinner, do the laundry and vacuum all at the same time. It might take you longer to get your checklist knocked out, but your brain will function much more efficiently.
In turn, if you want to boost memory, this will definitely help.
Step 6 – Exercise Your Brain
This is the fun part! All you have to do is find an activity that challenges you cognitively. Board games, memory boosting apps, reading, writing and learning how to do something new are all great ways to exercise your brain.
Here’s some specific games are are excellent for boosting memory:
- Word searches
- Crossword puzzles
- Jigsaw Puzzles
- Rubix Cube
Want an app to download? Check these out!
- Luminosity (you can get limited access for free – monthly subscription is $15 or $80 yearly)
- Brain Trainer Special (free)
- Memory Games (free)
- Memory Cards HD (free)
- Happify (free version)
- Fit Brains Trainer (free)
- Brain Workout (free)
Step 7 – Try Something New
Ever heard the phrase, “can’t teach an old dog new tricks”? I inwardly cringe when I hear this saying because it couldn’t be farther from the truth. Even though our cognitive function declines as we age, it doesn’t mean we can’t challenge our brains by learning something new.
Boosting memory goes hand in hand with challenging yourself to try new things. Your brain forms new pathways which in turn creates more connections. For example, the first time I used brush pens, my brain was on overload trying to understand how to write differently. Trying to understand the different strokes wasn’t easy. My hands were super shaky at first.
Over time, though, I got better. Brush penning became something that I didn’t have to think twice about. Now, I’m able to remember certain things better like names or Bible verses because I spent time learning how to write them out. It just sticks better.
What kind of things do you like to do? Trying something new could entail literally anything. It could mean learning a new instrument, going to an art class, cooking a new recipe, building something…anything you want!
Get your brain out of its comfort zone. Continually having an open mindset allows you to not only grow as a person, but it also does wonders for your memory and brain function.
Conclusion: How to Boost Memory
If you’ve been wondering how to boost memory power, then you’re already on the right track. Having the self awareness and discipline to try some of these tips is already boosting your cognition. Why? Because your brain is not only reflecting…but reacting. You’re telling yourself that you want to improve, and so you’re taking the action to make that happen.
If you have any tips or stories on how to boost memory, drop a comment below! I’d love to hear how you build brain power!