10 ways to boost your memory…and make a note of them, just to be on the safe side
It doesn’t matter how old you are, we’ve all had times when our memory has let us down. But now a new study by the University of Montreal has unlocked a secret way of helping improve our power of recall. Just say the thing you need to remember out loud, even if you’re talking to yourself. Here are more cheap and simple tricks to stave off those head-scratching moments:
Listen, question, repeat
One of the reasons we can’t recall names is because we didn’t hear them properly in the first place. Every time you’re introduced to someone, you should listen carefully, ask a question and then repeat the name, according to expert Michael Tipper, who won silver in the 1998 World Memory Championships. He explains, “When the other person introduces themselves, repeat their name and ask them something about it. For example, if they are called Stephen, ask them if it is spelled with a v or a ph.”
Eat garlic and berries
Not keen on fish? Fresh fruit and vegetables can help. They contain antioxidants that help stop the breakdown of our brain cells. Foods high in antioxidants include broccoli, berries. spinach and garlic.
Walk for 30 minutes a day
A study by the University of British Colombia said regular aerobic exercise appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain we use for verbal memory and learning. The expert consensus is that 30 minutes of physical activity most days will help most. If that seems too much, start with five or 10 minutes and build up slowly.
Drink green tea…and eight glasses of water
A team of Swiss scientists found last year that an extract in green tea improves cognitive functions. It’s also important to drink lots of water. Estimates suggest we need up to eight glasses a day to be fully hydrated, although it can vary. Our brains are made up of 80 per cent water, so if we are dehydrated they do not work so well
Make new friends
Research shows that having meaningful relationships is most vital to brain health. A study by Harvard School of Public Health found people with the most active social lives had the slowest rate of memory decline. So get out there and make new friends.
Have a laugh
New research links humour with improved short-term memory. A study by Loma Linda University in Southern California asked one group of people to watch a funny video for 20 minutes, while another group sat calmly watching nothing. The video group scored better, possibly because they had less of the stress hormone cortisol.
Do a crossword a day
Trying to solve puzzles like crosswords and sudoku can help improve your memory, but only if you do them regularly. Tipper says, “The more active your brain is the better it will function Studies have shown that we can evolve our brains even up to the point of death. Half an hour a day of mental activity should be considered the minimum.
Become a doodlebug
Plymouth University researchers found in a 2009 study that doodlers do 29 per cent better in memory tests when asked to recall names and places. A separate study in medical journal The Lancer in 2011 suggested it could be because drawing squiggles keeps a baseline of activity in the cerebral cortex when there’s no outside stimuli.
Go on holiday
Pack a suitcase and go somewhere new. Tipper says it’s important to learn new skills and explore new countries. He says, “Broadening your horizons stimulates your brain because your brain likes novelty.”
And finally … get a good night’s sleep
Sleep helps strengthen memories you have formed throughout the day, according to research at the University of Berkeley in California. If you haven’t slept well, your ability to remember can drop by up to 40 percent.
Source: Economic Times|Daily Mirror