We’ve all experienced moments where we find ourselves with a word on the tip of our tongue or unable to remember the next item on our to-do list. Forgetfulness is a normal part of life, and it’s particularly common in those of us in high-stress professions. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to improve your recall!
Memory is closely linked to the health of the rest of your brain. Although our brains are more malleable when we’re young, there are still plenty of ways to improve memory, even as we get older. Enhanced memory also increases our ability to learn brand new information. With that in mind, here are 5 tips to help you train your brain!
Learn something new
Although this one may seem counterintuitive when it comes to trying to remember things you already know, there’s really nothing like learning something new to help improve your memory. Memory works a lot like any other muscle, in that it grows stronger the more you use it. The more information you give your brain, the better you’ll be able to process and remember information. But not all activities are equal. Additionally, like with other muscles, the best strengthening tool is learning something that breaks routine and helps you develop new brain pathways.
Keep up with friends
Have you ever gone a few weeks without seeing your friends and realized you were starting to feel down? There’s a good reason for that! Humans are built to be intensely social, and when we keep ourselves closed off, other areas of our life begin to suffer. Healthy, exciting relationships are deeply stimulating to our brains and can have a positive effect on both mental and emotional health. A recent study from Harvard even found that people who were the most social experienced the least memory decline!
Give yourself a bedtime
As irritating as it is, one of the greatest predictors of mood and performance is the amount and quality of sleep from the previous night. Over 95% of adults actually need at least 7.5-9 hours of sleep to function at their best. Few of us actually reach this goal, and when we don’t, we impair our memory, as well as our problem-solving and critical thinking abilities.
Eat to fuel your brain
Of course, a healthy diet and exercise are known as a common cure for most ailments, but in the case of memory, there are some very specific steps you can take! A diet that is based on fruits, vegetables, and lean protein can also help improve your memory. Fruits and veggies are packed with antioxidants, substances that protect your brain cells from damage. More colorful foods are particularly good antioxidant "superfood" sources!
Experiment with recall tricks
Other healthy habits can be very helpful in improving memory, but they aren’t the only tools at your disposal! For many people, memory tricks like acronyms and mnemonics are very helpful in recalling difficult or complex information. You can also try repeating what you’ve learned at a later time to help cement the information. Human brains respond to novelty, so repeating something in a different way will make the most of the novelty effect, which fosters stronger and more easily accessible memories.