Memory: how to sharpen it

Memory is the capacity or mental faculty to retain and relive facts, events, impressions, etc. Alternatively, it can be defined as the mental faculty to remember or recognize previous experiences. It is fundamental in our daily life. We would not be able to function in the present without relying on our memory.

Human memory involves three components:

1. Coding- Encoding is the first step in creating new memory. It allows information to become a construct that is stored in the brain. It is a process that begins with perception through the senses. The creation of memory begins with attention. A memorable event causes neurons in the brain to fire more frequently, making the experience more intense and increasing the likelihood that the event will be encoded as a memory. Emotion tends to increase attention.

2. Storage and retention of information – Storing and retaining is the more or less passive process of retaining information in the brain, be it sensory memory, short-term memory, or more permanent long-term memory. The more information is repeated or used, the more likely it is to be retained in long-term memory.

3. remembering – Memory recall refers to the subsequent access to events or information from the past, which have been previously encoded and stored in the brain. In common parlance, it is known as remembering.

However, memory is malleable and tends to decline with age. So one can stay alert by learning about the science of recollection.

The human brain has an incredible capacity for reshaping itself when it comes to learning and memory. The brain’s natural power of neuroplasticity allows us to learn and improve our memory at any age.

Ways to sharpen memory –

The following are some of the important ways to sharpen your memory:

Exercise your brain Memory, like muscle strength, requires one to “use it or lose it.” The more the brain is exercised, the better it will be able to process and remember information. To strengthen the brain, one needs to keep learning and developing new skills. The activity has to be something that is unfamiliar and out of our comfort zone. The activity must be challenging. An activity is more suitable, which allows us to start at an easy level and which makes its way as our skills improve, pushing us to continue expanding our capabilities. However, we must choose activities that, although challenging, are pleasurable and satisfying.

Do physical exercise regularly – Exercise reduces stress hormones. Perhaps, exercise plays an important role in neuroplasticity by boosting growth factors and stimulating new neural connections. Aerobic exercise is particularly good for the brain, so choose activities that keep your blood pumping. In general, any physical exercise that is good for our heart is excellent for our brain. A year of regular aerobic exercise can increase the size of an adult’s hippocampus by 2 percent, says research from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Researchers have also found that regular strength training can increase short- and long-term memory performance and focus. Physical activities that require complex motor movements are particularly beneficial for brain development.

Go get the joe – Researchers have discovered that caffeine blocks inflammation in the brain, specifically adenosine receptors, which can start a chain reaction that initiates cognitive decline in the mind. The amount of caffeine we drink depends on the strength of the coffee and the size of the cup. The limit of drinking three standard size cups of coffee per day must not be exceeded to obtain the benefit. Conversely, consuming more coffee than this can negatively affect mental health.

Develop healthy sleep habits – More than 95% of adults need between 7.5 and 9 hours of sleep each night to avoid sleep deprivation. Even skipping a few hours makes a difference! Memory, creativity, problem solving skills, and critical thinking skills are compromised. Research shows that sleep is necessary for memory consolidation, the key memory-enhancing activity that occurs during the deepest stages of sleep.

Make friends – Human beings are very social. We are not meant to survive, let alone thrive, in isolation. Relationships stimulate our brain. In fact, interacting with others may be the best type of exercise for the brain. Research shows that having meaningful friendships is vital not only for emotional health but also for brain health. Researchers have also found that people with the most active social lives have the slowest rate of memory decline.

Keep stress under control Stress is one of the worst enemies of the brain. Over time, chronic stress destroys brain cells and damages the hippocampus, the region of the brain involved in forming new memories and retrieving old ones. Studies have also linked stress to memory loss.

Eat foods that stimulate the brain A diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats (such as olive oil, nuts, fish) and lean protein will provide many health benefits. Such a diet can also improve memory. For brain health, it’s important that it’s not just about what we eat, but also what we don’t eat.

Improve skills to memorize – We can take practical steps to support learning and memory by:

• Pay attention,

• Involve as many senses as possible,

• Relate information to what we already know,

• Focus on understanding basic ideas for more complex material,

• Rehearse the information we have already learned,

• Use mnemonic devices to facilitate memorization.

The conclusion is that human memory tends to decline with age but, on the contrary, is malleable due to the brain’s remarkable power of neuroplasticity. We can sharpen our memory by taking the appropriate measures, which are within everyone’s reach but must be practiced regularly and effectively.