Where are those keys when you need them? No one can remember everything, every time, but these strategies can improve recall:
- Give your brain a workout. Keeping your mind active helps stave off memory loss. Do crossword puzzles. When driving to work or the grocery store, take a new route. Learn a new skill that flexes your mental muscle, like playing a musical instrument.
- Rest after learning. Want to lock in knowledge? Immediately after learning new information, take a break and do nothing at all. In a study published in the medical journal Neuron, researchers from New York University asked participants to pair several sets of images, and then had them rest, while taking MRI images of participants’ brains. The MRI images suggested, and a memory test confirmed, that rest strengthens recall.
- Get physical. Try to get at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity every day—it increases blood flow to your brain, which may help to preserve memory.
- Watch what you drink. Too little water or too much alcohol can lead to confusion and memory loss.
- Don’t stress out. When you experience stress, your body releases cortisol, which can worsen memory. To stay calm, try not to assume the worst outcome in a given situation. Resist making negative generalizations such as, “I haven’t found a job yet, so I probably never will.” Also, practice a stress management technique, such as meditation.
- Get to dreamland. Recent research reveals that sleep helps fix memories in the brain so we can better retrieve them later.
Have Concerns About Your Memory? For those who are 65 or older, John Muir Health offers a seven-minute memory screening that will give you information to share with your doctor.
For more info and to reserve your spot, call (925) 947-3300.