5 Tips for Overcoming Memory Loss
There’s an old joke about memory loss being one of the first three signs of old age, but no one can remember the other two. Memory loss isn’t funny when you’re experiencing it. Although you may not be able to stop the effects of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease on your memory, you can take steps to keep your brain healthy to remember more of what is important to you.
1. Participate in Aerobic Exercise
Harvard Health Publishing reports that “exercise helps memory and thinking through both direct and indirect means.” Exercise stimulates the growth of new brain cells. It reduces inflammation and reduces insulin resistance. Regular exercise increases the ability to sleep, which improves cognitive function. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. You want to do something that gets your heart rate up and makes you break a sweat. Walking is highly recommended, but with so many forms of fitness, such as gardening, dancing, tennis, biking, swimming and more, you should be able to get active to help your heart and brain.
2. Don’t Cram to Memorize a Lot of Knowledge at Once
Cramming is one of the least effective methods to learning. Instead, information that is stored and indexed in a structured method is more likely to be retained and recalled. Most people need to study over time to fully engage information in the brain. Cramming gives you a false sense of memory. When you need to retain information, you need exposure to the material spread out over time to help you remember better. If you’re studying to learn a new language or pick up new dance moves, it’s better to give yourself time to absorb the information and to keep practicing instead of doing it in one evening.
3. Work Out Your Brain
The Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health calls mental fitness one of the six pillars of brain health. Learning something new keeps your brain muscles healthy and boosts memory. Developing new skills helps you process and remember information. Work crossword puzzles, use brain games or play chess to keep your brain active. Learn new skills that challenge you and your brain. Practicing music or a new hobby can keep your brain developing even in your golden years. Adult coloring can even contribute to your brain health.
4. Mindfulness, Meditation, and Mantras
Harvard Health Publishing recommends maintaining soft skills to improve memory. Soft skills are those things help you interact with others, such as conflict resolution, teamwork, flexibility and people skills. These skills aren’t only important during your career, but for your overall life. Soft skills influence how you treat and communicate with others. Continue developing soft skills regardless of where you are in your career. These three soft skills are especially important to memory.
——— ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW ———
- Mindfulness can help you increase your concentration, which helps you retain information when you’re talking to someone. Make eye contact with the person you are talking to. Don’t interrupt or think about how you want to respond.
- Meditation helps you train your brain to avoid scattered thinking. If you tend to let your mind wander around from thought to thought, use meditation to help you focus and avoid distractions.
- Mantras can help give you a confidence boost, which in turn helps you think positively. Remind yourself of your capabilities by choosing an inspirational message that you can recite when you are speaking critically to yourself.
5. Get Yourself Organized
If you continually lose your keys or forget where you put a bill, it could simply be a lack of organization in your home. Use a calendar to track appointments. Declutter your kitchen and make places for your essentials. Practice keeping your keys on a hook except when you’re using them. Have a place for your eyeglasses when you aren’t wearing them. To improve your memory, limit distractions. Focus on information that you want to retain. Use mnemonics to help you connect information to something familiar. Relate information to smells or colors to help imprint it on your brain.
Do You Need Professional Help With Memory Loss?
The Mayo Clinic recommends seeking professional help with memory loss when it starts to disrupt your life. Memory problems are sometimes the symptoms of a serious disease or illness. Identifying the cause of your memory issues early can lead to better treatment outcomes. Not all memory problems are related to dementia. You could be experiencing a vitamin B-12 deficiency or have head trauma or another reversible condition.