Whether studying for an exam or trying to remember why we walked into a room, our memory is a valuable trait. Unfortunately, memory begins to dwindle with age, hence the occurrence of “senior moments”. These senior moments affect the thalamus and brain stem of our brains as these parts send signals to the body of how to remain healthy. In turn, this may lead to body abnormalities and early death. Thus, it is best to improve our memory while we’re young (and even middle aged) for a brighter and more successful future.
One method of improving memory is by avoiding any form of social media. According to psychologist Marlynn Wei, social media poses a threat to our memory as “the collection of posts and gifs have a mnemonic effect on our cortex. It distracts our ability to recall events and memory capacity”. For some, avoiding social media may be effortless, but with technology advancing, news and social media have become so widespread that it’s almost effortless to avoid. Furthermore, Harvard studies have shown that over 80% of teenagers are on social media. Therefore, avoiding Facebook and Twitter to improve memory may not be as easy as it seems. Here are some easier ways to improve memory:
Meditation: Simply closing our eyes and visualizing successful goals can help improve memory. This is because, according to The Education Corner, “meditation is linked with association. We associate certain characters to simplify concepts, ideas, and events”. This not only affects our memory for the better, but it changes our method of learning. Who said meditation is only spiritual?
Exercise More: According to nutritionists Amy Reichelt, Fred Westbrook, and Margaret Morris, “high calorie diets can impair memory due to inflammation. Therefore, dieting and losing weight affects both our physical and mental health”. Admittedly, eating less is not easy for many people. If food is available, chances are, it would be devoured by the end of the week, perhaps even the end of the day! One way to prevent this is by not buying food, but because food is essential for life and because sales are tempting, cutting back a few calories can be a huge dilemma. Therefore, instead of eating less, exercise more. Effective exercises include jogging, holding planks, and push-ups. They could be done right at home and they don’t waste much of the day. With enough exercise, we will eventually lose weight and improve our memory for adulthood.
Journalizing: Writing our goals on a piece of paper has similar affects to meditation. It provides confidence and association of concepts, ideas, and events. Journalizing can also be used to write a schedule which, of itself, has numerous benefits to our brain. According to psychologist Tina Dovito, “building a solid routine on paper reduces stress levels and improves efficiency. This gives our short term and long term memory more room to remember other information. It also helps improve organization”. Just be sure to abide by the schedule to maximize confidence and efficiency!
Sleep: For some, sleep comes naturally and pleasurably. For others, especially college students who submit assignments at midnight, sleep is practically inexistent. According to the National Sleep Foundation, “7% to 19% of adults do not receive adequate sleep with over half of adults not getting the recommended eight hours of sleep per night”. However, sleeping is beneficial to our physical and mental health. According to reporter Kyan Patten, “poor sleep affects memory consolidation. NREM and REM is necessary to retain memories and avoid false memories created by the brain during lack of sleep”. Being sleep deprived also weakens our immune system which, in turn, reduces physical activity. Sleeping is not only enjoyable but also healthy. For those who find difficulty sleeping due to assignments, it may be best to create a schedule and plan the day better to reserve time for the body and mind to rest (See “Journalizing”)
While memory loss is normal, it is unhealthy and even frustrating at times. By practicing these methods, however, we can recollect our memories a little longer and make us a sharper senior citizen. It is never too early to start, so make changes now and improve yourself later. Time and memory waits for no man!