Our memories are strong assets and keeping it sharp is key to success in numerous industries and fields. Recent studies show that one in nine adults in America suffer from memory loss. Short-term memory loss affects millions of Americans as well and determines the outcomes of almost every scenario. As human beings, our brains are constantly taking in and processing all kinds of information. I run a sewing business and have noticed issues with short-term memory loss sneaking in as I try to accomplish an abundance of tasks each day.
One second, I’ll be taking a measurement and somewhere between the measuring and writing it down, I’ll forget a number I just read, and will have to remeasure. This doesn’t happen all the time, but lately, it’s been causing some nuances and unnecessary setbacks. I’ll do a fitting with five or more clients, and I’ll need to keep a journal with a pen by my side so I can accurately recite the jobs on each garment. If I skip the steps of writing names and the tasks next to them, I’ll immediately forget. And, within the next few days, when I sit down to tackle the projects, if I didn’t write it all down, I’ll be scratching my head and struggling to remember all that needed to be done.
Now, though, since I’ve gotten in the habit of consistently taking notes on each client, my memory has sharpened as a result. Writing and hearing are two different processes that the brain, at times, sorts and uses differently. Seeing things in writing is an effective way to jog memory and recall those important details that were previously addressed about the tasks you need to accomplish. Hearing the information doesn’t necessarily get it nested into our long-term memories so we can use or refer to it later on. I’ve found myself in social situations where someone said something interesting, and I’d comment on it, and down the road, I won’t remember all of what was said or only bits of what was said. If you’ve noticed changes in the function of your memory due to overworking and overstress or feeling that you’re juggling a lot in general, then these eight strategies will keep your memory sharp in the long-term.
Eat brain boosting breakfasts
Consuming foods, during breakfast especially, such as blueberries and blackberries, produce that contains antioxidants and serotonin boosting effects will keep your thought and memory process operating smoothly. Consider beginning your day with green tea or other herbal beverages that promote memory enhancement. Diet is a major contributing factor to how well we navigate our lives day-to-day.
Journal multiple times a day
Wellness warriors mention journaling in the morning in your routine just after rising. I very much agree with this as writing first thing is another approach for exercising the brain. We’re more visual and inspired in the early hours just after opening our eyes. Ideas come to us more fluidly and that’s when it’s time to take advantage of tackling your to-do list. If might help to start by listing your intentions and goals. Specifically, under those, write bullets of tasks off the bat, that you know you need to finish. Making this a daily habit will take part in transferring information from short-term to long-term memory.
Engage in a morning routine that exercises the brain and your body
On your morning walk or run, listen to an informational podcast or an audiobook. I’ll sometimes listen to a podcast while also focusing on my feet hitting the pavement. Doing both of these things is how you can exercise your brain and body simultaneously. After I listen to a podcast, I feel an extra boost of motivation and inspiration and I’ll write down essential pieces of information I heard.
Eat a diet high in tryptophan:
Our bodies don’t naturally produce tryptophan. Google describes tryptophan, and I quote: “Tryptophan is an α-amino acid that is used in the biosynthesis of proteins. Tryptophan contains an α-amino group, an α-carboxylic acid group, and a side chain indole, making it a non-polar aromatic amino acid. It is essential in humans, meaning that the body cannot synthesize it and it must be obtained from the diet.” Focusing on eating a diet high in tryptophan will sustain memory sharpness throughout the day.
Regular deep breathing
We’ve all heard about the benefits of deep breathing. Did you know that deep breathing not only activates the brain and mind, but it can also improve memory? Doing deep breathing exercises eases stress throughout the body and forces us to slow down. In turn, when we’re at ease and calm, this is when our brains perform at its highest level. Next time you’re feeling stressed, slow breathing down and focus on lowering your heartrate. You’ll notice a change in how your memory operates throughout the day.
Meditative stretching each day
Every morning, it helps to begin the day with meditative stretching. Doing so will prevent potential pain flareups from wreaking havoc on your central nervous system. Tension of any kind is very damaging to memory as it causes an interference in the brain’s abilities to process information and manage the usual stressors of daily living.
Practice stillness even in times of chaos
Just practicing regular stillness can clear the mind of unnecessary clutter. The act of stillness reduces anxiety and stress and allows you to refocus on the important tasks at hand. Overwhelm and overstress can come from being too on the go and run. There is a cost for always moving and shaking and one of them is your energy! Being on the run constantly is the surefire route to burnout and issues with anxiety and depression. Integrating stillness preserves your energy and optimizes brain and mind function.
Take pictures and videos frequently
This is a more hands-on approach to exercising and improving memory function. Having something concrete to refer to keeps both sides of your brain active. Visuals allow imagery and information to move into the long-term memory. Pulling up images jogs the memory and offers opportunities to recall more information that might’ve been previously forgotten.
Memory is an asset and aids in our overall wellness and functionality, so it’s important to protect it. Engage in activities that support the central nervous system, which directly affects multiple brain functions. Mindfulness is a great way to sustain sharpened memory, and in many professional fields and in everyday living, it’s even more essential.