Admit it – wouldn’t it be nice to not need that afternoon jolt of caffeine to get you to the end of the workday? If you’re doing something that requires a lot of brain power, your energy can get drained incredibly fast whether you want it to or not. It never hurts to take the time to zone out and recharge, but you can also utilize some techniques to ensure that you have that brain power whenever you need it. Practice all (or just some) of the below to strengthen your memory and think better, faster and stronger.
Read Challenging Books
Try stepping up to more challenging, thought provoking non-fiction reading such as philosophy, science, and psychology books. By reading challenging books you’re creating new neurological connections in your brain and strengthening your existing ones. Think of reading as exercise for your brain!
By exercising regularly, you’re ensuring that your brain is strengthening the interconnections between nerve cells. Better connections lead to stronger cognitive functions (i.e. learning) and has allegedly expanded the memory centers of individuals involved in this recent study. To go further try “skilled” fitness, such as boxing, MMA or judo, which also require mental agility.
Eliminating stressors from your life not only clears your mind, but it calms it down. Depression, anxiety and stress can take up the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory, which is why feeling down can also feel like you’re forgetting things. Taking the time to meditate means that you’re eliminating stressors, which will help you concentrate when you need to.
Small puzzles like crosswords, Sudoku and other brain games and apps such as Luminosity are designed to help improve brain function. Even just five minutes of game playing per day can help sharpen your skills and help keep your brain strong.
Vitamin D + Get Outside
Low levels of vitamin D are linked to poorer brain function, so make sure you’re actively including vitamin D in your diet. Orange juice, bread, milk and other dairy products are chockfull of it, and a walk in the sun is an easy way to get some vitamin D in your system.
Are you worried you’re going to forget an important fact? Write it down. Yes, it’s an obvious way to remember things, but you’ll also be developing the habit of writing important things down. Once you do this enough, your brain will associate written notes as important and will increase its capacity to memorize that information.
Try New Activities
Undergoing “meaningful activities” keeps your brain active and reduces the risk of dementia. Instead of mindlessly turning on the TV or going through your social media channel the next time you’re bored, pick up a new book, read an insightful article, try a new sport. By adding new experiences and novelty to your life, you’ll stimulate your brain.
Research has suggested that certain songs can be helpful in recalling memories. If you play music while you’re doing an important task then re-listen to the music later, it can be helpful in coming up with that information later.
Eat Healthy Fats
Our brain needs food and specifically fats to operate, so indulge in seafood, nuts, eggs and olives (along with berries and plenty of vegetables). Avoid excess caffeine, sugar, and trans fats and focus on including as much healthy fat into your diet as you can.
Get some rest
Getting consistent amounts of sleep (ideally seven or eight hours) will improve your memory. When you’re asleep, the brain firms up recently learned information and completing a full rhythm of sleep ensures that your brain will operate at full capacity. (And yes, naps count! Don’t hesitate to take them.)