Growing older causes many changes in the body, and your memory is not different. A lapse in memory can happen at any age, but it becomes more worrisome as we get older. Have you ever walked into a room and forgot why you were in there? Or opened the refrigerator and stared blindly inside wondering why you even opened the door? It happens to me all the time, and sometimes I wonder if this is some precursor to dementia, or is it a normal part of the aging process.
When your young and forget it’s usually due to lapse in concentration or simply not caring. Similar to asking your children to bring their laundry upstairs and still, the basket sits waiting to make the 8 step journey. The lapse in memory isn’t a cognitive function issue as much as it’s not caring. They may say they “forgot” but this memory lapse is reasonable.
Many of these issues or brief episodes of forgetting as we get older are standard and not of significant concern. Research tells us that the structure and function of the brain changes, so this change in remembering is natural. These changes can slow learning and cause frustrating situations, but there are ways to help sharpen our memory skills.
5 Important Memory Sharpening Skills You Need To Know
Figure it out yourself
We surround ourselves with all sorts of devices that can help us. Siri and Alexa are always at the ready to help us answer any question we have. Google is a mere keystroke away on our phone, tablets, and computers. What if we just tried to figure things out the old way and thought it through? Use electronics as a last result and let your brain do some of the work now and then.
Mnemonics have been used to increase memory capacity and recall for years. Think of mnemonics as a device or code to learn or remember. You might have learned this way and not even known it. “In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue” or ROY G BIV for the colors of the spectrum are both examples of how we use mnemonics. For more of these visit Mental Floss. Some people also use music as a similar tool to Mneomics.
Repeat after me
Repetition is a crucial tool to use for learning and to improve memory. Repetition is how actors and musicians learn their lines and music. The repeat it over and over again until it becomes second nature to them. Write things down a few times as well to help commit what you are trying to remember to memory.
Exercise your brain
Working out your mind as it if were a muscle in your body is how you keep it in top physical shape. Memory and cognition improve when you push your brain daily. Regular exercises for your mind in the form of puzzles like Sudoku or games like chess help to push your limits and increase memory. There are several different apps for helping with memory. My favorite is Lumosity.
Eat, sleep and exercise
You can’t expect your brain to be functioning at top level unless you are taking care of yourself. That includes eating healthy foods that fuel your body. Foods that are high in sugar, for example, will only work for a short time providing you energy. Afterward, you will crash. Try vegetables, fish nuts, and chicken for improved memory sharpening.
Sleep a minimum of 8 hours a night whenever possible. Go to bed at the same time every night and get your body into a routine of sleep. When you wake us feeling well-rested each morning, you can tackle the day properly and know you will have the energy to sustain you.