When it comes to studying we all find it difficult to retain all that new information but fear not; help is at hand.
In fact, scientists have discovered that with the right stimulation that the brain has the ability to form new neural pathways, alter existing connections and adapt to new process – what a clever brain.
Amazingly, by the time we reach adulthood our brains have developed millions of neural pathways. However, if we stick to these well-known paths we aren’t stimulating our brains in the way we should. As the brain is a muscle, it’s the ‘use it or lose it’ phrase that springs to mind (pardon the pun); the more you work out the better your memory will become.
This ability is called neuroplasticity (we’re getting very scientific) and can easily be harnessed by some of the techniques we are about to show you.
Brain boosting exercise!
Exercise not only benefits the body but also the brain. Scientists have found that even 30 minutes of daily walking can the part of the brain (hippocampus) which processes new information and long term memory storage.
Why not try some of these?
- Aerobic exercise has been found to be particularly good for the brain. In general, exercise which benefits your heart, benefits your brain.
- Physical activities which require hand eye co-ordination.
- A brisk walk or a few star jumps also helps to re boost the brain.
Get some Z’s
Scientists have discovered that 95% of adults need between 7.5 and 9 hours sleep every night to avoid sleep deprivation, even if you scrimp on a few hours, your memory, creativity and problem solving skills could be affected – scary thought! This is because sleep is necessary for key memory enhancing activity to occur during the deep stages of slumber.
How to improve your sleep:
- Have a regular sleep schedule – It may seem a little tedious but going to bed at the same time every night could work wonders.
- Avoid screens before bed – The blue light emitted from TV, Tablets and phones can supress the sleep hormone (melatonin) which isn’t what you want when you’re trying to snooze.
- Reduce your caffeine intake – This may not be applicable to you as caffeine effects people differently but if you think it’s keeping you awake; cut it out!
Meet with friends
One study by the Harvard school of Public Health found that those with the most active social lives had the lowest rate of memory decline – another great reason for that arranging that get together.
It may seem obvious of how you could achieve this brain boosting technique but why not take a look below at some ideas?
- Join a club
- Get a pet
- Talk on the telephone
Manage those stress levels
Stress is one of the brain’s worst enemies. Over time chronic stress destroys brain cells and damages the hippocampus (there’s that words again). There have also been studies which looked at the effects of stress and memory loss such as; Roozendaal (1998), Bremner (1998) and Wolf (2009).
Tips for managing stress
- Take regular breaks
- Say No – you can’t do everything
- Don’t keep feelings bottled up
- Have a healthy balance between work and life
- Focus on one task rather than multi-tasking
Enjoy a giggle
Emotional responses limited the workings of specific areas of the brain but not when you’re having a giggle. Laughter engages multiple regions across the whole of the brain. In fact, listening to a joke and working out the punch line activates learning and creativity – I suppose you rarely see a forgetful comedian…
How to get more laughter in your life:
- Share embarrassing moments – Learn to laugh at yourself
- Hear laughter? Join in – When you hear a group having a giggle go over and see what’s going on. More than likely the joker will gladly like to share the story to a new listener.
- Surround yourself with amusing images – Choose a screensaver which makes you chuckle or bring an item to pop on your desk which reminds you of a funny moment.
Eat a brain friendly diet
A diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and ‘healthy’ fats (olive oil, nuts and fish) can improve memory. So, next time you head to the biscuit tin maybe think twice.
What to eat/drink:
- Omega-3 – Research shows that these fatty acids are beneficial to a healthy brain. Fish is an easy way of getting your Omega-3 intake, especially cold water such as; salmon, tuna, trout and herring. Don’t worry if you’re not a fish fan, you can also get these brain boosting fatty acids by eating: walnuts, spinach, broccoli, pumpkin seeds and soybeans.
- Limit your calories and saturated fat – Research shows that diets high in saturated fat have an increased risk of dementia and poor concentration and memory.
- Drink green tea – Green tea contains polyphenols a powerful antioxidant that protects against damaged brain cells. Regular consumption can also enhance memory and mental alertness.
We hope you’ve found this blog useful and remember (sorry) it’s impossible to retain everything we take. Don’t be hard on yourself and enjoy our tips!