Memory is the process by which we reproduce information that we have learned or experienced. The memory process involves several parts of the brain, so it is a very complex process, whose mechanism has not been fully elucidated.
Scientists classify memory in short-term memory, such as remembering a phone number till we save it, and long-term memory, which contains memories, experiences, etc..
Memory is a psychological process, and like anything that happens in the brain, it has an organic component, that is based on connections between nerve cells (neurons) which perform real neural networks that communicate with each other by using substances called neurotransmitters. It is therefore important to assure that the brain gets all substances it needs for the memory process. Here are ten tips on how to improve your memory.
1. Get enough oxygen
Oxygen is very important for the metabolism of neurons and for producing neurotransmitters. The Department of Psychology, University of Northumbria in Britain has conducted a study that demonstrated improved short memory in the presence of high levels of oxygen. For severe cases of loss of memory there is the possibility of a hyperbaric oxygen therapy (high pressure). Therefore, make sure that you work in a ventilated area, well oxygenated, avoid polluted areas, take long walks in open spaces and fresh air in order to clear your mind.
2. Glucose is your friend
Glucose is the only “food” that neurons consume and actual studies have proven the role of glucose in long-term memory. It is important to have an optimal level of blood glucose. The idea that high levels of glucose mean a better memory is false, a constant blood glucose above normal can be a sign for diabetes. Therefore it is important to measure blood glucose at least once a year.
3. Not a single day without iron
It is known that iron is an important mineral for good memory. It has an important role because it helps transport oxygen in cells and neurons are very sensitive to fluctuations in oxygen levels. Iron deficiency is associated with memory loss and learning problems not only in cases of anemia (severe lack of iron) but also in moderate deficiencies. Women are somewhat prone to deficiencies due to menstrual bleeding which means lose of iron. To prevent iron deficiency eat green vegetables, beans, nuts, cereal and chicken.
4. Another trusty ally
Potassium facilitates absorption of lecithins, substances particularly important in mental processes. The greatest sources of potassium are fish, chicken, fruits like bananas, apricots, plums and vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes.
Vitamins are involved in the production of neurotransmitters and some of them are antioxidants with cell protective role. A good memory requires an optimal intake of vitamins that you can get from green vegetables, fruits, grains.
To remember something, that thing must be taught and to remember it, you need attention. It is believed that it takes eight seconds to focus on a information to be processed and integrated in the memory center.
7. Memory exercises
As physical exercises help you keep your body in shape, your memory must be “trained” to get the performance that we want. Organize your information, make connections, repeat, focus on understanding basic ideas. There are also classes you can take which train your memory to remember things in an easier way.
8. Avoiding stress
A clear mind is more effective when it comes to memory. Take frequent walks, keep a positive attitude, adopt a less stressful lifestyle. Meditation can help lower stress and remarkably improve your memory.
Sleep can influence physical activity more than you might think. Not just resting physically but also mentally sharpens memory and strengthens our memories. Eight hours of sleep without interruptions, improves memory and its functions.
A positive mental feedback can bring amazing results. Tell yourself that you can learn and you can remember a certain something.
Unfortunately, there hasn’t been invented a chip which we can have implanted in our brains and not have memory problems. However, observing some simple rules and a little practice, you can improve what you already have, and next time you can’t find your car keys, you could easily remember that you left them on the refrigerator.