You exercise your body to stay physically in shape, so why shouldn't you exercise your brain to stay mentally fit? With these daily exercises you will learn how to flex your mind, improve your creativity and boost your memory. As with any exercise, repetition is necessary for you to see improvement, so pick your favorite exercises from our daily suggestions and repeat them as desired. Try to do some mentalrobics every single day!
A new study provides evidence that people who meditate are improving their brains. MRI brain scans showed that meditating can increase the thickness of the cortex by causing blood vessels to expand and neurons to have increased branching. The areas that involve attention and sensory processing seem to be the most affected.
In a different study, sleep-deprived volunteers were given mental reaction tests. They were then instructed to either take a short nap or meditate. They were then retested. The volunteers who meditated showed superior performance on the tests, even though they had no prior experience with meditation.
There have been numerous studies comparing the memory performance of smokers to nonsmokers, and smokers always come out behind. Several studies show a direct correlation between smoking and decreased performance in memory for names and faces, as well as a decline in verbal memory. Another recent study included nearly ten thousand people and tracked their memory decline with age. People who smoked had five times the amount of decline that nonsmokers had.
There are two possible reasons for the memory decline experienced by smokers. The first is that smoking damages the lungs and constricts the blood vessels. This decreases the amount of oxygen that can get to the brain, which causes the brain to function at decreased efficiency and can cause some damage. The second reason is that smoking can cause hypertension which can damage the tiny blood vessels that feed the neurons in the brain. Without proper blood flow, the neurons will become damaged. The good news is that quitting smoking can reverse the decline and improve memory performance.
Most people know that the saturated and trans fats that are found in meats and processed foods are bad for their heart, but you may not know that they are also bad for your brain too! Unsaturated fats like those found in fish, nuts and most vegetable oils can actually improve your cognition. A recent study found that people who ate large quantities of saturated and trans fats had an increased risk of getting Alzheimer's disease. In the study, those people who ate the more unsaturated fats had a decreased risk of getting the disease.
In particular, eating fish has been showing to decrease Alzheimer's risk and protect other memory functions. This may be because fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to have beneficial effects on health.
Vitamin B12 is a compound that is essential for proper brain functioning. This vitamin helps keep neurons healthy by maintaining the myelin sheath that protects the axons. Insufficient vitamin B12 can cause serious and permanent damage to the neurons, which can lead to memory loss, fatigue and slowed thinking.
Vitamin B12 is found in fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk and fortified breakfast cereals. Vegetarians and vegans should be careful to make sure they are getting enough B12 as part of their diet, or via supplements.
Age, smoking and drinking are all factors that contribute to deficiencies in vitamin B12, however it is possible for a deficiency to occur because of a problem absorbing the vitamin through digestion. If this is the case, eating more B12 will not help; the individual will need to get monthly injections.
We're sorry to say that there is no "secret technique" or "quick fix" that will give you a miraculous memory. If you want to improve your memory ability, you are going to need to learn a variety of different techniques that you can apply to different situations. Just like you would pick a hammer (not a saw) to drive a nail, you'll need to pick the right memory tool for each memory task.
Some of the things that will affect which memory tool you choose are: How familiar with the topic are you? What are you trying to remember (names, facts, numbers, etc)? How specific does your memory need to be (concepts only, word-for-word)? How long do you need to remember this information?
We will present a tool for each situation, so if you practice our exercises, you will eventually have a complete tool chest of memory techniques.