Our brain is a mysterious organ that can be trained and improved. A phenomenon called neural plasticity looks at the ability of our brain to change their distribution and amount of cells. The brain adapts when we learn new skills, but it also changes negatively when it is not used frequently. Studies show that the number of brain cells reduce progressively throughout our life and our cognitive skills with them. There are techniques to help boost your memory and intellectual wellness in order to keep our minds young and sharp.
5 Natural Ways Improve Your Memory
Memory is the faculty of the brain that allows us to encode, store and retrieve information over time. A survival mechanism helps us remember dangerous situations (in order to avoid them) and where the food and water are located is for example. Without memory, it would be impossible to have language, relationships, or personal identity.
We have two kinds of memory, short-term and long-term memory. Short-term memory is a working memory. It allows us to recall events that happened seconds or minutes ago. This information is only kept for short periods and later it is forgotten or consolidated. If the particular event is consolidated, the information will transform from short-term memory to long-term memory. This one stores much larger quantities of information for a potentially unlimited period.
Memory deteriorates over time, mostly because of age and genetic factors; however, studies show that techniques can help boost your memory and prevent possible memory loss in the future.
1. Going on walks
Cardiovascular exercise like running or walking boost your memory by increasing the blood flow and volume to the hippocampus (the area of the brain responsible for creating and evoking memories). A study of the University of Kansas shows how low impact exercise prevents early onset dementia and improves memory.
2. Eating foods with flavonoids
After a meal, the increase of glucose and insulin levels promotes the creation of new memory and consolidation. (The conversion of short term to long-term memory). Food high in flavonoids, such as blueberries are shown to increase the ability to recall past events, protect neurons, and stimulate regeneration.
3. High quality personal relations
Having friends or a social cycle improves memory. Older adults with good relationships have better cognitive responses. Friends create social pressure that makes us take care of ourselves. Social interaction presents complex cognitive memory challenges that stimulate our brain.
4. Practice sharpening your memory
The differences in memory skills is not because of anatomical differences which means anyone can improve their memory skills with daily training. A study shows that 30 minutes of training for the duration of 6 weeks improves the cell connections in the hippocampus to a level comparable to individuals with “super memory”.
5. Sleep well
Sleeping has a critical role in memorizing. During deep sleep, the hippocampus shows sharp waves related with consolidation of memory. Sleep enhancement represents a key opportunity to improve cognitive performance.
Work on Your Intellectual Wellness
Working on your intellectual wellness means being open to new ideas and critical thinking. Participating in cultural and community activities. Learning new skills and being creative. Intellectual wellness values curiosity, creativity, and life-long learning. There are different techniques that can help you improve your mental wellness, here are some of them:
1. Read for pleasure
Choose an area that you enjoy and read a book about it; this can be an educational reading or just an entertaining one. If you have not read in a while, starting can be challenging, but it will get easier as you keep practicing.
2. Talk and debate your ideas with friends
Try to think outside the box, and discuss a topic with a friend. Choosing a subject out of your comfort zone or even opposite to your basic beliefs, will open a new world of ideas and expand the mind to grasp new information, sharpening it.
3. Attend a lecture
Expose yourself to new ideas. Learn about a new topic or learn a new skill. New information does not rely on old neural patterns and does not allow your brain to operate on autopilot. This helps create new neural pathways.
4. Start a hobby
This can be anything. Hobbies are meant to be enjoyable, so try to appeal to your own liking. For some people baking or running is considered a hobby while painting or cooking is a better option for others. Regardless of what you choose, doing a new activity and one that you enjoy is a great way to improve your cognitive abilities.
5. Play games
Playing games online, trying the crossword puzzle and even board games and cards games – all of which will help with intellectual wellness.
Journaling can be a great tool to help you express your feelings and ideas, as well as remembering everyday events. It helps to create a sense of calm within you while putting you in a restful zone that allows you to process emotions, experiences and ideas.
Training your brain is just as important as training your body. Mental exercises, playing games and just talking or debating with friends can be a turning point in boosting your memory and intelligence wellness. No matter your age always, try to learn something new.