8 Ways to Boost Your Memory

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Experiencing baby brain? Try our tips to help boost your memory.

WORDS Rachel Lim

Tip 1: Eat Brain-boosting Foods
The brain needs fuel. A diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, good fats and lean protein is clean fuel for your brain and can help improve memory. The following nutritional tips will help boost your brain power:

  • Include Omega-3s – Research has shown that Omega-3 fatty acids are highly beneficial for brain health. Fish is a rich source of Omega-3, especially “fatty fish” such as salmon. Non-fish sources of Omega-3 include walnuts and flaxseeds.
  • Avoid saturated fats – A diet high in saturated fats (e.g. red meat, cream, and processed foods) may impair concentration and memory.
  • Be sure to eat more greens – Fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants. Antioxidants protect your brain cells from damage.

 

Tip 2: Exercise
Incorporating a gentle workout into your day can give you an oxygen boost and chase away sluggishness both physically and mentally. Exercise plays an irreplaceable role in neuroplasticity by boosting growth factors and stimulating new neuronal connections.

Physical activities that require hand-eye coordination such as
racquet games are tonics for the brain.

Many exercises are safe to do during pregnancy, as long as you exercise with caution and not overdo it. The safest and most productive ones include swimming, brisk walking, jogging (especially when you have been doing it pre-pregnancy), indoor stationary cycling, elliptical machines, low-impact or aqua aerobics, prenatal yoga and Pilates (at normal room temperatures).

Tip 3: Play Mind Games
Memory, very much like muscular strength, calls for us to use it or lose it. What better way to flex your memory than to have fun while you are at it. Try these board games with your young (at heart) ones if you haven’t already:

  • Taboo
  • Munchkin
  • Sudoku
  • Monopoly Deal
  • Boggl
  • Saboteur

 

Tip 4: Mix it Up
Humans are largely creatures of habit and many of your activities are actually more or less automatic reflexes, or in psychological terms, part of your schema. By adulthood, your brain has developed millions of neural pathways to help you process and retrieve information quickly, solve familiar problems and execute daily tasks with minimal mental effort. However, if you are going to stick to these mundane ways of doing things, you would be depriving your brain of the stimulation it needs to keep renewing. Get creative, mix it up and give your brain a challenge by getting out of your comfort zones. The best brain exercises break your routine and compel you to form new brain pathways.
    
For a start, try these:

  • Take a new route when you drive to work or when you jog in the neighbourhood.
  • Floss your teeth in reverse order i.e. from left to right instead if you usually go from right to left.
  • Hold the chopsticks with your non-dominant hand.

 

Tip 5: Learn a New Skill or Language
Oftentimes when you are picking up a new skill or language, you are overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy. It is when you find your task demanding that your brain makes significant gains. Cognitive psychologists suggest that challenging activities such as learning a new skill or language strengthen the entire networks of the brain. Other than a language of your interest, here are some interesting ideas on skills to learn during and after pregnancy:

  • Digital photography to capture million dollar moments of your baby’s many firsts.
  • Knitting/quilting to DIY some adorable crochet baby bootiesto keep your baby’s feet warm and safe.
  • Baking to make some delish lactation cookies for yourself at a fraction of the retail price.

 

Tip 6: Massage the Reflexology Point for the Brain
From a Traditional Chinese Medicine point of view, foot reflexology may help to boost memory. The brain reflexology point is located on the bottom of your big toe. You can use your thumb to press and rub your big toes in an up-and-down as well as side-to-side motion, for one to two minutes each day. Always verify the safety of your massages during pregnancy with your healthcare provider.

Tip 7: Get Enough Sleep
Medical research has shown that sleep is necessary for memory consolidation, with key memory-enhancing activity occurring during the deepest stages of sleep. Always guard your sleep by practising these sleep hygiene tips:

  • Fix your bedtime and wake time (for both night rest and naps).
  • Make sure your bedroom environment is conducive for sleep (put on dimmed lightsand lulling music).
  • Have a wind-down routine (e.g. prayers or meditation).
  • Avoid over-stimulating yourself just before bedtime (put away electronics, online games and/or social media).
  • Communicate with your partner. If his snoring makes it impossible for you to fall asleep, gently request for his tender love to let you fall asleep before he does.
  • Reduce your caffeine intake in the day.

 

Tip 8: Meditate
Brain images of regular meditators reveal that meditation increases the thickness of the cerebral cortex and encourages more connections between brain cells. This, in turn, increases attention span, mental sharpness, and memory ability. Meditation is the action or practice of meditating. As long as it is an activity free from any other distraction to the mind, it is effective meditation. Meditation is not necessarily religious prayer or worship. It is a state of consciousness when the mind is free of scattered thoughts.
    
If all else fails, in the words of the most forgetful movie character, “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.”

Thanks for sharing!