Can’t find your keys? Forgot your new co-worker’s name? Can’t remember what you had for dinner last night? If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. Although these are common complaints, memory loss can start to cause us concern especially as we age.
Experts believe that consistent brain activity can help prevent future memory loss and cognitive decline. In addition, keeping the brain busy has many great benefits including: less stress, increased focus and concentration, elevated mood, increased motivation, heightened productivity, faster reaction times, sharper senses, and even greater self-confidence. It’s easy too!
Brain Training Apps
Training your brain and exercising it sounds intimidating, but it’s really easy. There is a plethora of free online brain training apps available today including:
- Eidetic (available on iOS)
- Lumosity (available on iOS and Android)
- Peak (available on iOS and Android)
- Elevate Brain Training (available on iOS and Android)
- CogniFit (available on iOS and Android)
- Fit Brains Trainer (available on iOS and Android)
- NeuroNation (available on iOS and Android)
- Brain Wars (available on iOS and Android)
- Brain Dots (available on Android)
- What’s My IQ? ™ (available on iOS and Android)
Some Tips to Try
If, however, you’re trying to refrain from so much time online, try exercising your brain with these 7 non-digital activities proven to improve your memory and strengthen your brain:
- Try something new. Taking up a creative hobby, especially one you have never tried before, can boost the brain. Create any form of art, or try dancing, scrapbooking, or martial arts, to name a few.
- Use your less dominant hand. Switching your hands, which can be challenging at first, results in increased brain activity. This challenge gives the brain a workout. Something as simple as brushing your teeth or using your computer mouse with your non-dominant hand is a great place to start.
- Learn a new language or learn how to play a musical instrument. Activities that are challenging to master help stimulate brain activity. As such, learning a new language or tests the brain, and also helps you step out of your comfort zone.
- Take time to meditate. Data from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) reveals that over 18 million Americans perform some sort of medication. Experts from Harvard, Mayo Clinic, and the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) have all praised its many benefits. In fact, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has even called meditation “pushups for the brain.”
- Make time to exercise. Researchers from the University of California at Irvine proved how hitting the gym could yield not just physical benefits, but also mental advantages as well. Some of the benefits include improving memory and thinking skills, prevent depression, and pump more oxygen into the brain thus creating an optimal environment for healthy brain cells.
- Play board or even solo games. If you don’t have board games or at times don’t have other people around to play, solo games like crosswords and Sudoku can also help improve memory and give your brain a workout.
- Spend time with friends and family. In a recent Harvard School of Public Health study, it was revealed that people who have an active social life are most likely to have a slower rate of memory decline compared to others who do not spend as much time with their loved ones. It makes you feel good, creates great memories, and boosts brain activity!
Memory Boost Tricks
Still feeling forgetful? Try these three memory-boosting tricks:
Repeat out loud. Try to repeat what you want to remember several times, whether in your mind, or (better) out loud. This works great when trying to remember people, locations, and even inanimate objects. When meeting people, repeat their name as they introduce themselves. For instance: “Hi, I’m Steve.” “Hi, Steve. How are you doing today?” It may seem simple, but it works!
Add an image or association. Forming associations is a nifty old trick that helps you remember things more easily. For instance, if you want to remember that your coworker Kyla lives on Jackson street: “Kyla lives on a street with the name of the Prince of Pop.”
Group it or chunk it. Experts say short-term memory can only hold a limited number of items. In that regard, break down complex information and group things up as well. This is the reason phone numbers are divided, as it’s much easier to remember 987-654-3210 rather than 9876543210. When trying to memorize a speech, try to focus on sentences or paragraphs at a time instead of the whole thing in one go.
Whether young or old, we all need to keep our memory as sharp as we can. The above tips are just a few of the things you can do every day to keep the brain in shape.