As we grow older, we notice that we tend to remember less. With our busy schedules and the advancement of technology, our brains will ultimately get rusty and slow. In school, most children find it extremely difficult to concentrate for a long duration of time, and find it harder to recollect what was taught an hour ago. Adults start to forget names, and small things like ‘what they ate for dinner’. It is important that we care for our brain, just like we take care of our skin, hair or nails. We need to keep our brain busy, challenge it with difficult puzzles and energize it with a good diet. Here are nine ways to improve your memory and concentration, and to keep your mind calm and relaxed.
1. Grab an adult coloring book
Adult coloring books have become extremely popular in recent times. It might seem absurd for adults to make time for coloring in their busy lives, but research shows that coloring can actually be therapeutic and can calm the mind. It also ensures that we use both our right part and left part of the brain. According to psychologist Gloria Martinez Ayala, “The action involves both logic, by which we color forms, and creativity, when mixing and matching colors.” The intrinsic details in each page helps improve your concentration, and reduce your stress. Moreover, it can also bring out the inner child in you!
2. Physical exercise
Physical exercise will increase the oxygen sent to the brain, and can help reduce the risks of disorders and alleviate stress. It is extremely important to keep your brain active and healthy. High intensity exercises like aerobics and skipping are extremely effective, but you can also take short breaks during your day to take a short walk or do yoga.
3. Sleep well
You might contemplate staying awake and burning the midnight oil before a big exam. However, sleep deprivation actually decays the body and the mind. It is more likely that you won’t be able to remember what you read when you were tired and sleepy, and there are chances that you will not recollect what you have already learnt before. Make sure you get at least six hours of sleep on the night before an exam. Stay away from coffee as it will just ruin your sleep cycle. Rather than staying up all night, go to bed early and wake up early, when your mind is fresh and alert, to retain information faster.
4. Laugh out loud
LOL is more than something that we just type on social media platforms. Laughing out loud is actually extremely effective to help boost your memory and concentration power. Laughing helps engage most parts of the brain, which will calm the mind and body. No wonder laughter is considered the best medicine!
5. Watch what you eat
Apart from physical exercise, it is equally important to watch what you eat. Following a diet of fruits vegetables, lean protein, limited carbohydrates and healthy fats is actually good for the brain. Eat food that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as fish, kidney beans, broccoli, walnuts and flax seeds. Green tea is also effective as it contains antioxidants that can help improve your memory. Don’t forget to stay hydrated!
6. Take up a complex hobby
Another effective tool to help improve your memory and concentration is to take up a complex hobby. Pick up a new language, or learn chess, or you can even join a salsa class! You can also spend some time solving difficult puzzles, or playing a board game. Taking up activities that are challenging and that requires you to work out your brain can actually help improve your memory. Moreover, these activities can be fun and can be a good stress-buster for your busy life.
Visualization is a powerful tool to improve your memory retention power. It can be extremely hard to recollect a name, or remember a phone number. Link the name with an image that you can associate it with, so that when you need to remember it, you can visualize the person’s name by thinking of the image. To remember a phone number, break it down into sections of four digits each, close your eyes and visualize it. When you need to recollect it later, you will be surprised by how easily you remember it!
One of the most effective techniques for memory enhancement and to improve one’s concentration is meditation. Doing a few minutes of Pranayama every day can help improve your concentration significantly. Moreover, it can relax your mind and is useful for people suffering from anxiety disorders.
9. Speak out loud
The reason most of us don’t remember new names or places is because we have only heard it once. It is not enough to merely listen to something; it is equally important to process the information. The next time somebody tells you their name, say it back to them aloud so that the name registers in your brain and you won’t forget it. If you are placing your car keys in the bed side drawer, say it out loud to yourself. You won’t have to frantically search for it later because you will be able to easily recollect where you placed it.