No one really wants to have a bad memory or to experience memory lapses from time to time. Furthermore, we also don’t like the lack of focus or concentration, particularly when we’re working on something extremely important. Luckily, there are many ways you can deal with these issues and they all revolve around improving your brain health. Optimal brain health is vital for all cognitive functions. For this purpose, throughout the article, you will see 7 easy and effective tips on how to improve memory and overall brain health.
1. Quit smoking
If you’re a smoker, then the first and the most important thing you can do to improve your health is to quit the bad habit. A study conducted by Rusanen M from Department of Neurology, the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio, Finland showed that heavy smoking in midlife is strongly associated with a greater than 100% increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
The study which lasted between 1978 and 2008 included 21,123 participants and its findings were published in journal Archives of Internal Medicine. If you’re a heavy smoker now and think it’s already too late to quit, think again – the study also showed that people who quit smoking didn’t have increased risk of dementia.
Therefore, to preserve and improve brain health and memory as well as overall wellbeing, the best thing to do is to quit smoking. All you need is willpower.
2. Have a healthy relationship
A psychologist Daniel Wegner developed a concept of transactive memory in 1985. In this form of memory, we are excellent in memorizing one type of information and usually have the responsibility for it. For example, if you’re married or in a relationship, and you go with your significant other to a party one partner is usually better at remembering people’s occupations and some characteristics, while other partner is better at remembering their faces.
In these cases, couples work as a team. Transactive memory isn’t only applied to love relationships, but to all relationships in our life. For example, your friend might remember some things that you don’t and vice versa. Having a healthy relationship with other people keeps your mind open, how to improve memory, and engages you to think creatively.
3. Think positive
This is known as the Pygmalion effect and is usually used to describe situations where teachers expect more of particular children who strive to meet the expectations. Thinking positively allows you to accomplish and do things that you didn’t know you could do.
For example, American Psychological Association published a study conducted by psychologist Aronson J in which seven-grade students from the unprivileged school in New York City were taught to think that intelligence is changeable, not fixed. Along the course of the study, students who were taught they can achieve great things and improve had better grades compared to students in controlled group who weren’t taught these things.
Positive thinking can do wonders for your brain health and memory. When you stop concentrating on flaws and beliefs that you can’t do something and decide to have faith in yourself and your abilities, you will constantly strive to achieve more which is only beneficial for the brain.
4. Challenge your brain
When you or someone you know have a baby, the more you talk, play games or communicate with them, the smarter they get. Well, adults aren’t that much different either. Challenging your brain is important for improving its overall functionality because it positively affects neurogenesis. Brain training strengthens all cognitive abilities and there are many ways you can do so:
- Learn a new language
- Learning new skills
- Expressing your creativity.
You can find more ideas to challenge your brain right here.
Exercise improves blood flow which increases the amount of oxygen and glucose your brain receives. Furthermore, exercises include physical coordination which means your brain is challenged as well.
Furthermore, physical activity helps with growth of new brain cells and improves the entire process of neurogenesis. Plus, exercising is free and you don’t experience any side effects. To become physically active, you don’t need gym membership or to pay fitness trainers, you just decide to job, ride bicycle, or even do some exercises in comfort of your home.
Stress is one of the biggest enemies of poor memory and impaired brain health. The stress response prioritizes immediate information which shortens the attention span. In turn, we become less productive or even feel too exhausted to start with assignment or work project due to lack of focus and concentration.
To get the “job” done and think intelligently, you have to engage your mind and concentrate and when you’re stressed out you can’t do that. That’s why; meditation is the perfect way of relieving stress in order to become more productive.
Meditation techniques vary, but they all focus in proper posture, focusing on breathing, and being calm to connect your body, mind, and soul. Meditation has been around for thousands of years and is regarded as one of the best techniques for relieving and managing stress.
Stress management will improve your focus, productivity, and attention span.
7. Eat brain food
Just like your body, the brain needs vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to function properly. Therefore, to improve brain health, you should include brain-healthy foods into your diet. Brain-healthy foods that can improve your memory, concentration and even decrease risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease or dementia include:
- Salmon and other fatty fish due to Omega 3 fatty acids
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole grains
- Dark chocolate
- Pomegranate juice
- Dark green leafy vegetables.
Brain health can be significantly improved by reducing or managing stress, having healthy relationships with people that surround you and ditching bad lifestyle habits. It’s important always to strive to learn something new (it could be just about anything) to keep your brain challenged.