Whether it’s setting down something then not remembering where we put it or walking into a room and forgetting why we went there, we’ve all had frustrating moments of forgetfulness.
Harvard Health noted that while genes do play a role in whether people lose their memories as they age, choices and lifestyle have an impact as well.
“Just as muscles grow stronger with use, mental exercise helps keep mental skills and memory in tone,” Harvard Health noted.
While “any brain exercise is better than being a mental couch potato,” some are better than better, in particular activities that take you out of your comfort zone, such as learning a new language or volunteering.
And The Memory Institute noted there are limitless benefits to a better memory, from improved work performance to seldom forgetting where you put your car keys.
- Do a crossword puzzle, read a newspaper section you tend to skip, take alternate driving routes to stimulate your brain.
- Pay attention to what you're trying to learn. Involve all the senses that you can, review what you’ve learned and use mnemonic devices, such as the acronym of HOMES to remember the names of the Great Lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior.
- Take breaks when taking in new information. The ability to retain what you’re learning drops after a certain time period, which leads to a fatiguing information overload.
- Get together with loved ones. Lack of social interaction can lead to depression and stress, which can contribute to memory loss.
- Organize your home because you’re more likely to forget where things are if it's in disarray. Keep track of tasks in a planner, possibly even repeating it aloud for further emphasis.
- Get a good night’s sleep, about seven or eight hours a day because it helps consolidate your memory for better recall.
- Stick to a healthy diet, with fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat protein. Watch what you drink as well. Too much alcohol or not enough water can mess with your memory.
- Make physical activity a part of your routine. It increases blood flow to your body, including the brain, which might improve memory.
- Follow doctor recommendations for chronic conditions, such as depression or kidney or thyroid problems. Similarly, unexplainable dips in memory may be caused by heart disease, diabetes, hormone imbalance and medications, which is something to talk to your doctor about.
- Meditate. There’s only so much information the brain can process at one time, and too many distractions can interfere with the transfer of information to long-term memory.
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