They say that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but when it comes to the brain, scientists have discovered that this old adage simply isn’t true. The brain’s incredible ability to reshape itself holds true when it comes to learning and memory. Just as an athlete relies on sleep and a nutrition-packed diet to perform his or her best, your ability to remember increases when you nurture your brain with a good diet and other healthy habits.
Treating your body well can enhance your ability to process and recall information. Physical exercise increases oxygen to your brain and reduces the risk for disorders that lead to memory loss, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. When you think of ways to improve memory, do you think of “serious” activities such as wrestling with the New York Times crossword puzzle or mastering chess strategy, or do more lighthearted pastimes—hanging out with friends or enjoying a funny movie—come to mind? Research shows that having meaningful relationships and a strong support system are vital not only to emotional health, but also to brain health. There are many ways to start taking advantage of the brain and memory-boosting benefits of socializing.
You’ve heard that laughter is the best medicine, and that holds true for the brain as well as the body. Furthermore, listening to jokes and working out punch lines activates areas of the brain vital to learning and creativity. When you hear laughter, move toward it. Most of the time, people are very happy to share something funny because it gives them an opportunity to laugh again and feed off the humor you find in it. Spend time with fun, playful people. These are people who laugh easily–both at themselves and at life’s absurdities–and who routinely find the humor in everyday events. Pay attention to children and emulate them. They are the experts on playing, taking life lightly, and laughing. Get your omega-3s. More and more evidence indicates that omega-3 fatty acids are particularly beneficial for brain health.
Limit calories and saturated fat. Research shows that diets high in saturated fat (from sources such as red meat, whole milk, butter, cheese, sour cream, and ice cream) increase your risk of dementia and impair concentration and memory.
Eat more fruit and vegetables. Produce is packed with antioxidants, substances that protect your brain cells from damage. Drink green tea. Green tea contains polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that protect against free radicals that can damage brain cells.
Drink wine (or grape juice) in moderation. Keeping your alcohol consumption in check is key, since alcohol kills brain cells.
By the time you’ve reached adulthood, your brain has developed millions of neural pathways that help you process information quickly, solve familiar problems, and execute familiar tasks with a minimum of mental effort. Memory, like muscular strength, requires you to “use it or lose it.” The more you work out your brain, the better you’ll be able to process and remember information. It’s new. No matter how intellectually demanding the activity, if it’s something you’re already good at, it’s not a good brain exercise. It’s challenging. Anything that takes some mental effort and expands your knowledge will work. Mnemonics (the initial “m” is silent) are clues of any kind that help us remember something, usually by helping us associate the information we want to remember with a visual image, a sentence, or a word.
Visual image – Associate a visual image with a word or name to help you remember them better.
To remember the name Rosa Parks and what she’s known for, picture a woman sitting on a park bench surrounded by roses, waiting as her bus pulls up. Acrostic (or sentence) – Make up a sentence in which the first letter of each word is part of or represents the initial of what you want to remember. The sentence “Every good boy does fine” to memorize the lines of the treble clef, representing the notes E, G, B, D, and F.
Acronym – An acronym is a word that is made up by taking the first letters of all the key words or ideas you need to remember and creating a new word out of them. The word “HOMES” to remember the names of the Great Lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior.
Rhymes and alliteration – Rhymes, alliteration (a repeating sound or syllable), and even jokes are a memorable way to remember more mundane facts and figures.
The rhyme “Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November” to remember the months of the year with only 30 days in them. Chunking – Chunking breaks a long list of numbers or other types of information into smaller, more manageable chunks. Remembering a 10-digit phone number by breaking it down into three sets of numbers: 555-867-5309 (as opposed to5558675309). Method of loci – Imagine placing the items you want to remember along a route you know well or in specific locations in a familiar room or building. For a shopping list, imagine bananas in the entryway to your home, a puddle of milk in the middle of the sofa, eggs going up the stairs, and bread on your bed.
Pay attention. You can’t remember something if you never learned it, and you can’t learn something—that is, encode it into your brain—if you don’t pay enough attention to it. Involve as many senses as possible. Try to relate information to colors, textures, smells, and tastes. Relate information to what you already know. Connect new data to information you already remember, whether it’s new material that builds on previous knowledge, or something as simple as an address of someone who lives on a street where you already know someone. For more complex material, focus on understanding basic ideas rather than memorizing isolated details. If you think that your mind is not working properly or it is too slow, then you don’t need to stress anymore! I rarely lose my things like keys or sunglasses because I put them in the same place every time. If you really want to remember something critical, intentionally break the routine surrounding it. Lots of brain foods improve your memory because they are filled with special vitamins and antioxidants. I am all for zoning out on light fiction and mindless videos, but actually challenging my brain makes me sharper and more effective at remembering the things. Numbers and names by themselves can be easily forgotten if there is little small or no context involved.
I constantly use to make up songs, poems and other mnemonics to lock important facts in my memory.
Ultimately you want to shift important facts from your short-term memory to your long-term memory. The exercises mind sharp improve memory time, research book sharpbrains guide brain fitness.


Copyright © 2012 Rachael Edwards, All trademarks are the property of the respective trademark owners. Many students have issues with evaluating, memorizing and responding to information that the brain receives.
As you begin reaching adulthood, millions of neural pathways have already developed into your brain, which helps you in processing and recalling information fast, solving familiar issues and executing familiar tasks using minimal mental effort. Regardless of how much the activity is intellectually demanding, if it is a task you have already mastered, it isn’t proper brain exercise.
Choose activities that will present you with the opportunity to begin at a simple level and then work your way up once you begin to improve your skills. So, try to think of something that you have always wanted to learn, such as juggle, playing the guitar, making pottery, speaking French, playing chess, mastering your golf swing, dancing the tango or perfect your essay writing.
Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising. How to Improve Your Memory & Exercise Your Brain Everyone can take steps to improve their memory, and with time and practice most people can gain the ability to memorize seemingly impossible amounts of information.
Whether you’re a student studying for final exams, a working professional interested in doing all you can to stay mentally sharp, or a senior looking to preserve and enhance your grey matter as you age, there are lots of things you can do to improve your memory and mental performance.
You can harness the natural power of neuroplasticity to increase your cognitive abilities, enhance your ability to learn new information, and improve your memory. Research shows that sleep is necessary for memory consolidation, with the key memory-enhancing activity occurring during the deepest stages of sleep.
In one recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health, for example, researchers found that people with the most active social lives had the slowest rate of memory decline.
Volunteer, join a club, make it a point to see friends more often, or reach out over the phone. Unlike emotional responses, which are limited to specific areas of the brain, laughter engages multiple regions across the whole brain. The best way to take ourselves less seriously is to talk about the times when we took ourselves too seriously. Over time, if left unchecked, chronic stress destroys brain cells and damages the hippocampus, the region of the brain involved in the formation of new memories and the retrieval of old ones.
In fact, some of the symptoms of depression include difficulty concentrating, making decisions, and remembering things.
Studies show that meditation helps improve many different types of conditions, including depression, anxiety, chronic pain, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Brain images show that regular meditators have more activity in the left prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain associated with feelings of joy and equanimity. You probably already know that a diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and “healthy” fats will provide lots of health benefits, but such a diet can also improve memory.
Fish is a particularly rich source of omega-3, especially cold water “fatty fish” such as salmon, tuna, halibut, trout, mackerel, sardines, and herring. Eating too many calories in later life can also increase your risk of cognitive impairment. Among many other benefits, regular consumption of green tea may enhance memory and mental alertness and slow brain aging. But in moderation (around 1 glass a day for women; 2 for men), alcohol may actually improve memory and cognition.
But if you always stick to these well-worn paths, you aren’t giving your brain the stimulation it needs to keep growing and developing. The best brain exercising activities break your routine and challenge you to use and develop new brain pathways. Examples include learning a new language, instrument, or sport, or tackling a challenging crossword or Sudoku puzzle.
The more interested and engaged you are in the activity, the more likely you’ll be to continue doing it and the greater the benefits you’ll experience. Positive, pleasant images that are vivid, colorful, and three-dimensional will be easier to remember. It takes about eight seconds of intense focus to process a piece of information into your memory.
This “spaced rehearsal” is more effective than cramming, especially for retaining what you’ve learned. On the rare occasions I really don’t put them in their proper place, I can drive myself crazy trying to find them.
Try adding more green tea, salmon, blueberries, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, dark chocolate and turmeric to your daily intake. Mental challenges like studying complex concept make simple tasks like remembering names at a party seem like a piece of cake.
As you are being introduced to new information, be aware of the surroundings and any possible details you may associate with specific information. But it is not necessarily your best friend if you want to remember some of those important nuggets off the top of your head. Science dictates that this process takes about 8 seconds of focused attention on a specific item. Not only does exercise make the brain work better, getting the blood pumping actually makes it work harder. It weighs at around 1.5kg and consists of more than 100 billion neurons that pass along signals to each other. However, if you continue to stay with well-worn paths, you are not providing your brain with the stimulation it needs in order to continue growing and developing. The more workout you give your brain, the better you will be able to take in and remember information. The activity you do should be something unfamiliar to you and a bit out of your comfort zone. This allows you to stretch your capabilities since you are constantly pushing the envelope. The more engaged and interested you become in an activity, the more you will likely continue doing it and the more benefit you will get from it.
It’s a community of like-minded individuals who are passionate about knowledge, awareness and self-improvement. Whether you want to win the World Memory Championships, ace your history test, or simply remember where you put your keys, this article can get you started. Regular aerobic exercise improves circulation and efficiency throughout the body, including in the brain, and can help ward off the memory loss that comes with aging.


Chronic stress, although it does not physically damage the brain, can make remembering much more difficult. There are a lot of herbal supplements on the market that claim to improve memory, but none have yet been shown to be effective in clinical tests (although small studies have shown some promising results for ginkgo biloba and phosphatidylserine). Often we forget things not because our memory is bad, but rather because our observational skills need work. Whether you’re studying, working, or trying to juggle life’s many demands, sleep deprivation is a recipe for disaster.
But countless studies show that a life that’s full of friends and fun comes with cognitive benefits.
Relationships stimulate our brains—in fact, interacting with others may be the best kind of brain exercise. And if a human isn’t handy, don’t overlook the value of a pet—especially the highly-social dog. If you are mentally sluggish because of depression, seeking treatment will make a big difference in your cognitive abilities, including memory.
Meditation also can improve focus, concentration, creativity, and learning and reasoning skills.
Meditation also increases the thickness of the cerebral cortex and encourages more connections between brain cells—all of which increases mental sharpness and memory ability.
In addition to boosting brainpower, eating fish may also lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. If you’re not a fan of fish, consider turning to fish oil supplements. Try leafy green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, romaine lettuce, Swiss chard, and arugula, and fruit such as apricots, mangoes, cantaloupe, and watermelon.
Red wine appears to be the best option, as it is rich in resveratrol, a flavonoid that boosts blood flow in the brain and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The activity should be challenging, yes, it should also be something that is fun and enjoyable to you. Recognize the order of events and then you can replay them in your mind to retrieve the answer. I still use the 30 days has September poem from childhood to figure out the number of days in each month. So next time you have to encode something important, focus on it while counting to 8 alligators and lock it in. The brain is what controls the cognitive functioning of our thinking, speaking, imagining, planning, physical movements and reasoning. There are several reasons for a lack in memory power, which include stress, improper nutrition, deficiency of oxygen and lack of physical activity.
If you find you are starting to feel comfortable with a skill that was previously difficult, you need to move on to tackling the next level of performance. Therefore, select activities that, except for being challenging, are also satisfying and enjoyable.
Scientists believe that exercising your brain can create a cognitive reserve that will help you stay sharp as you age.
Too many people get stuck here and convince themselves that their memory is bad, that they are just not good with names, that numbers just slip out of their minds for some reason. The brain is not a muscle, but regularly exercising the brain actually does keep it growing and spurs the development of new nerve connections that can help improve memory.
Exercise also makes you more alert and relaxed, and can thereby improve your memory uptake, allowing you to take better mental pictures. Even temporary stresses can make it more difficult to effectively focus on concepts and observe things. A healthy diet, however, contributes to a healthy brain, and foods containing antioxidants ”broccoli, blueberries, spinach, and berries, for example”and Omega-3 fatty acids appear to promote healthy brain functioning.
One common situation where this occurs (and which almost everyone can relate to) is meeting new people. With the right stimulation, your brain can form new neural pathways, alter existing connections, and adapt and react in ever-changing ways. Other non-fish sources of omega-3s include walnuts, ground flaxseed, flaxseed oil, pumpkin seeds, and soybeans. Other resveratrol-packed options include grape juice, cranberry juice, fresh grapes and berries, and peanuts. Carbohydrates fuel your brain, but simple carbs (sugar, white bread, refined grains) give a quick boost followed by an equally rapid crash. Make an activity more pleasurable by appealing to your senses—playing music while you do it, or rewarding yourself afterwards with a favorite treat, for example. If you establish desktop folders and specific e-mail for critical documents, you’ll know right where to go first. Put them in your left side pocket in the morning so when you are ready to leave you have to break your pattern.  The odd feeling acts like a string around your finger and making you aware that something needs to be done. Of course, too much of that and you probably won’t remember that what happened the night before. The actual act of physically writing something down helps to register text in your mind where you can recover it later. To enhance your thinking, analyzing and planning skills, you will need a good memory power. The best exercises for your brain will break you of routine and challenge you into using and developing new brain pathways. By developing new mental skills especially complex ones such as learning a new language or learning to play a new musical instrument and challenging your brain with puzzles and games you can keep your brain active and improve its physiological functioning. Try to relax, regularly practice yoga or other stretching exercises, and see a doctor if you have severe chronic stress. For energy that lasts, choose complex carbohydrates such as whole-wheat bread, brown rice, oatmeal, high-fiber cereal, lentils, and whole beans. Grazing, eating 5 or 6 small meals throughout the day instead of 3 large meals, also seems to improve mental functioning (including memory) by limiting dips in blood sugar, which may negatively affect the brain. One way to train yourself to be more observant is to look at an unfamiliar photograph for a few seconds and then turn the photograph over and describe or write down as many details as you can about the photograph. Use a new photograph each time you try this exercise, and with regular practice you will find you're able to remember more details with even shorter glimpses of the photos.



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