Improving your memory and concentration means never having to hut for lost car keys again. These brainy tips range from memory vitamins to cognitive games.
This is a guest post from Alex Colket, the creator of PlayWithYourMind.com. His site features over a hundred brain fitness games, all designed to improve memory, concentration, clarity of thought, and brain plasticity.
Before his tips, a quip:
“Every man can, if he so desires, become the sculptor of his own brain,” says Santiago Ramon y Cajal.
You have the power to improve your memory, concentration, clarity of thought, and problem solving skills. Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything. Here’s what one reviewer says:
“When I started reading this book, I anticipated that it would be a boring read because I couldn’t imagine how a non-fiction book about the history and biology of human memory could be interesting. I was delighted and surprised to find out that this book is loads of fun to read. It features a cast of interesting characters, some useful tips about how to improve your own memory, and a premise that is compelling: turning someone with an average memory into a world-class competitive memory champion in less than a year. Although the book is well-researched, the subject matter never seems dry. The author presents it with lots of humor and anecdotes that had me chuckling out loud.”
Here are Colket’s ten ways to improve your memory and concentration…
10 Ways to Improve Your Memory and Concentration
Guest post – Alex Colket
Long-believed to be static, science has now conclusively demonstrated that our brains are plastic and ever-changing. Our brains are constantly being shaped by our thoughts and experiences, and by choosing these wisely, we can become smarter and healthier. These tips for improving memory power will increase your memory and concentration.
If your memory is particularly poor, read 10 Brain Fitness Tips to Reduce Memory Loss.
1. Set and achieve your goals — it will improve cognitive health. Every time you set a goal and achieve it, you mentally reinforce the notion that you have the power over your life. It makes you feel strong, capable and better prepared for the next challenge. Accomplishments — both performance and self-improvement goals — remind you of the great potential of your mind and your life, and increase your desire to create a better memory.
2. Meditate to increase problem solving skills. Talk to anyone who practices this regularly, and they will extol the benefits of meditation on improving memory power! Talk to a neuroscientist about meditation, who will explain that it has a profound effect on the mind and the power to transform the physical structure of the brain.
3. Eat and exercise to boost memory power. Exercise is great for physical health, and it’s also an important way to improve your memory and concentration. Don’t underestimate the value of blood flowing to your brain. Get that heart pumping by jumping rope, taking a swim, or dancing around your apartment! Avoid sugars and processed foods; instead eat whole foods such as grains, fruit, veggies and nuts. And, don’t forget the benefits of eating Omega-3 fatty acids.
4. Listen to music or make art to sharpen brain connections. If you aren’t used to playing music, take a seat at the piano or the drumset. If you don’t usually create art, grab that paintbrush or clay. Just do it – doing new creative, artistic things will give you more and better memory power.
5. Learn a new language to improve concentration. Yes, the “best” period for learning a new language is well past you. You will most likely never be able to make or hear all the sounds necessary for fluency. But don’t worry about that — learning a new language is great mental exercise and can be very useful for work, travel and making friends.
6. Find new hobbies to make your brain stronger. Picking up a new hobby or learning a new craft has many benefits. Almost any new activity you pick up will provide you with meaningful challenge and stimulation, which are brain or memory “vitamins” that improve memory power.
7. Play brain games to improve memory and problem solving skills. Games have great potential to sharpen your mind, as they can be fine-tailored to a specific task and engaging enough to keep you working at it. With the advent of online brain fitness programs, you can now exercise your memory, verbal skill, attention, problem-solving, visuospatial ability and more all in one convenient place.
8. Challenge your balance and motor skills to boost brain power. Play with balls, whether it be juggling, ping pong or a game of catch. Learn to tie knots. Practice standing on one leg or walking along balance-beam like objects (better yet, do yoga or dance). These are fun activities that will help you develop a better memory.
9. Write to improve your cognitive health. If writing isn’t a regular part of your life, it should be (and I am not talking about business emails). Do something creative or expressive. Start a blog, keep a diary, compose a poem or find a pen pal. Or, write about something in your life – such as how illness has affected your brain and memory.
10. Feed your brain with sleep — it improves cognitive function. Insufficient sleep affects mood and performance considerably. Having a well-rested and well-fed brain is the foundation for all these other steps; without that, you may not have the energy for much else.
“Exercising our brains systematically is as important as exercising our bodies,” says Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg, Clinical Professor of Neurology at New York University School of Medicine. “In my experience, ‘Use it or lose it’ should really be ‘Use it and get more of it.'”
For more memory and concentration tips, read How to Find the Right Brain Games and Brain Exercises.
If you have any thoughts improving your memory and concentration, please comment below…
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Alex Colket is an amateur neuroscientist, professional game developer, and brain fitness junkie. Visit Play With Your Mind to check out his 100+ brain fitness games and tips on neuroplasticity, sustainability and cognitive health.