With the right stimulation, your brain can form new neural pathways, alter existing connections, and adapt and react in ever-changing ways. Fuzzy thinking and memory loss is a normal part of aging. But behavioral strategies and memory-enhancing techniques can help improve the ability to learn new information and retain it over time.
Give your brain a boost: Think of something new you’ve always wanted to try, like learning how to play the guitar, make pottery, juggle, play chess, speak French, dance the tango, or master your golf swing. Any of these activities can help you improve your memory, so long as they keep you challenged and engaged. If you don’t sufficiently challenge your brain with new, surprising information, it eventually begins to deteriorate.
Exercise: Aerobic exercise is particularly good for the brain, so choose activities that keep your blood pumping. In general, anything that is good for your heart is great for your brain.
Socialize: Humans are highly social animals. We’re not meant to survive, let alone thrive, in isolation. Relationships stimulate our brains—in fact, interacting with others may be the best kind of brain exercise. Studies have indicted that caring for a dog, creating art, and spending time with a grandchild can boost different aspects of memory and reasoning.
Laugh: Share your embarrassing moments. The best way to take ourselves less seriously is to talk about the times when we took ourselves too seriously. You’ve heard that laughter is the best medicine, and that holds true for the brain and the memory, as well as the body. Unlike emotional responses, which are limited to specific areas of the brain, laughter engages multiple regions across the whole brain.
Read a book: An analysis of records of 5,635 participants in the Health and Retirement Study linked regular book reading with a 20% reduced risk of dying over a 12-year period.
Take care of your teeth: Periodontal disease, the leading cause of adult tooth loss, is an inflammatory condition that may increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and dementia. The best defenses are regular brushing and flossing, along with not smoking.
Listen to music: Music aids formation and recovery of memory.
Use tools: Using tools such as calendars, cellphone alarms, and organizing apps can aid with memory. Have one central place to jot down important appointments, to-dos, and notes. If you’re tech savvy, that can be a smartphone app. Or, you can use an old-fashioned paper organizer, calendar, or notebook. You can even put up an erasable board in your kitchen to write down items. Use an address book. Jot down the names, addresses, and phone numbers you need—including those of family, friends, your doctors, and the companies with which you do business (bank, dry cleaner, mechanic, etc.). Keep them together in a paper book or use the contacts tool on your computer or phone, and update them as needed.
Get enough sleep: When people don’t get enough sleep, their attention and concentration abilities decline. Their reaction time lengthens, they’re inattentive, and they don’t respond as well to environmental signals. That means they can’t take in new information or react to dangerous situations. But people can make up for lost sleep and restore focus and clarity by seeing a doctor about a possible underlying cause of sleep trouble, seeing a sleep specialist, cutting out caffeine and foods that cause heartburn, practicing good sleep hygiene, and exercising earlier in the day.
Mediate: Meditation can increase blood flow in the brain and improve memory, according to researchers who tested a specific kind of meditation and found the improvement after just eight weeks. Read about this study: Can meditation reverse memory loss.
Also read How To Mediate