Ever get mid-sentence and completely forget what you were saying? Or forget where you parked – again? Even though most people will say YES, I think some people are definitely worse than others. So I’ve done a little research and come up with some tips to boost memory and (hopefully) even improve your concentration!
1. Have a drink!
Surprised? Don’t be – I said “a drink,” not “a bottle.” Drinking too much will obviously impair recollection and immediate cognition, which anyone who’s had a hangover will know. But studies have found that moderate drinking can actually improve memory and cognition, as well as reducing risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease by 45%.
2. Eat Smart
Kick start your day with breakfast! I know you’ve heard that one before in relation to metabolism, but a healthy and balanced breakfast has been shown to increase concentration, cognition and retention – studies have shown that adults score better on memory tests after breakfast, and children’s exam scores were improved.
Certain types of fatty fish that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids are great natural boosters of Brain Derived Neuritrophic Factor (BDNF), the protein responsible for boosting memory, mood and alertness. Fish like salmon, Atlantic mackerel, sardines and herring are great and recommended to be consumed 2-3 times per week.
Cutting back on red meat and dairy products can also help – many cuts of red meat and whole-milk dairy products are high in unhealthy saturated fats, which raise levels of “bad Cholesterol” (LDL), which has been linked to memory impairment.
In general, rightly coloured fruits and dark green vegetables contain powerful antioxidants that repair damage to healthy cells and help stave off memory decline. Snack on strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and grapes, and add some kale, beets, asparagus or red peppers to your meals!
3. PAY ATTENTION!!!
This one is fairy obvious! But listen to this fact: it takes a mere 8 seconds of concentrating on something to transfer it from our short-term memory to your long-term memory! This kind of explains why you forget things so easily when they’re done absent-mindedly (like putting your keys down!)
4. Visualization and Association
This is another one I’d heard before but I have to admit it actually works! I sometimes have trouble remembering people’s names – so I’ll pick little things based on their appearance, where I meet them, what they’re wearing, even their occupations, and spend 30 seconds committing it to memory.
Another tick is to make little anagrams, like if you need to remember to bring things to a picnic, take the first letter of each word and rearrange to make an actual word that you can remember (or write down!) Example: cheese, apple pie, tomatoes, champagne, ham: CATCH. Or make it into a sentence, with the first letter of each word corresponding to an item: Cool Animals Throw Croissants Hard. Sounds ridiculous but trust me, many an exam has been passed via this technique!
5. Get refreshed!
Is your mind over-crowded? How easy is that when you’ve got things to remember for work, groceries to buy, social engagements, family time – it’s surprising we remember to eat at times!
How many times have you been in the shower and had a complete brainwave? Or even on the toilet? I have awesome ideas when I go running – completely freeing you mind of distractions is a great way to get some clarity, which in turn helps aid concentration and retention.
Additionally, studies have shown that multi-tasking greatly reduces the brain’s ability to retain and learn information. This is because your attention is split, not allowing it to attend to every relevant piece of information. So next time you’re watching TV while finishing off that report, or texting while trying to listen to someone, be mindful you may have the best recollection later on!
OK what other tips have you guys got? Curious to know what you do to improve your memories!