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Everyone has that moment where they suddenly forget something such as forgetting to remember the name of the person they just talked with. Forgetting why they went to the kitchen in the first place, or not remembering their phone number. Memory lapses can occur at any age, and aging is not generally the cause of memory decline. When an older person loses his or her memory, it is generally not because they are aging, but due to other factors like neurological illness, brain injury, etc. 

 

The good news is that there are various strategies we can use to sharpen our brains. 

 

Give Your Brain a Proper Workout

By the time you reach adulthood, your brain has created millions of neural pathways that help you recall and process information quickly, solve problems, and execute habitual tasks. But if you stick to the same old routine, process, and habitual tasks, you are not giving your brain the stimulation it needs. 

 

Your memory works like your muscles in a way that the more your brain works, the better you’ll be able to process or remember information. The best exercises for your brain are those that break your routine and challenge you to use and develop new brain pathways. 

 

Learning a new skill is an example of training your brain. There are many activities you can choose to train your brain, but the key here is to find something that pushes you out of your comfort zone and the one you can give your full attention to. 

 

Examples are: 

 

  • Learn to play the piano or any musical instrument. 
  • Learn a new language
  • Teach yourself to dance
  • Play mind games such as chess or sudoku. 

 

Studies have shown that speaking more than one language can delay the onset of memory problems for people with dementia.

 

Exercise

Your physical health is just as important as your mental health. Physical exercise helps keep your brain sharp as it increases oxygen to your brain and reduces the risk for disorders that lead to memory loss. 

 

Exercises also help release helpful brain chemicals and reduce the production of stress hormones. It also helps boost neuroplasticity growth factors and stimulate new neuronal connections. 

 

Get Some Sleep

Researchers have long studied and concluded the benefits of sleep for improving memory. It has also shown that if you take a nap after you learn something new, it can actually help you learn faster and remember better. 

 

Read More Books

People who read a lot of books have sharper brains and are better at recalling information than non-readers. Rather than wasting a lot of time watching TV or scrolling on your phone, check out your public library and find books to read. 

 

Socialize

Studies have shown that those who are socially active are at lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. When we interact with other people, we are actually training our brains. Social motivation and social contact can help improve memory formation and protect the brain from neurodegenerative diseases. A study by Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, IL shows that maintaining close friendships later in life can help prevent mental decline. 

 

Meditate

Meditation is a type of brain exercise that has been used for thousands of years yet just recently gained recognition for its effectiveness. Meditation, particularly mindfulness meditation teaches you to slow down racing thoughts, let go of the negativity, and calm both your mind and body. Studies have shown that mindfulness meditation engages neural pathways which result in increased mental flexibility, and improved self-observational skills. 

 

Use All Your Senses

One way to keep your brain sharp is to take advantage of all your senses when learning something. This helps to keep your brain more involved in retaining memory. Do not just memorize a word or phrase, instead try to incorporate color, smell, taste, and feel to it whenever possible.