10 Suggestions for Maintaining Your Memory
Try the following 10 strategies to protect your memory and keep it strong.
1) Focus on Attending
If you are listening to someone, repeat or paraphrase what they have said along with writing it down, if possible. Try different ways of attending, this helps make new neural connections. In a Dale Carnegie course, the manual suggests that you shake a person’s hand and repeat their name upon meeting. Now with Skype and other digital media this can be impossible, but you can still repeat information out loud and take notes. There is research on whether typing information into a computer or the actual act of writing on a piece of paper helps the attention process along with proper storage. It is important to have undivided attention when you are focused on the new information. The Chinese Ideogram for “To Listen” is eyes, ears, undivided attention and a heart. If you are thinking, when someone is presenting information, you often are not listening to what is presented. Also, it is important to keep the task within your ability or understanding. It is extremely hard to properly process and store information when you don’t have a good understanding of that information or meaning of what is being said.
2) Learn Novel ways of Thinking
Use it or lose it. Do crossword puzzles help? Yes. Does Luminosity and similar websites help? Yes. However, if all you ever do is crossword puzzles eventually other areas of the brain and brain connections will die off. It’s important to have a balanced life of conversations with new friends, new routines, and taking different routes when doing your morning run or bicycle ride. As mentioned above, those connections you do use will get stronger, however if you aren’t doing something novel, the connections you’re not using will die off. This is especially true if your brain injury is from disease and/or trauma. If you had a sport-related concussion and you continue on the same path of recovery, the areas that are damaged due to the TBI may never recover. You need to use your brain as much as possible in a variety of ways.
3) Stress Reduction
For many, this is one of the hardest things to do. There is extensive research on how stress affects your ability to attend, concentrate, store and retrieve information. Add to this a disease and/or trauma and your brain just shuts down. Heart rate breathing is extremely important. The heart to brain communication system is through the vagus nerve and
the sympathetic afferents. Through controlling your breath, you are able to have control of your brain and higher brain centers that influence registration, storage and retrieval. The emWave2 is a method to help you learn heart rate breathing. This method is not going to make the baby stop crying or make the leaky roof go away. Rather, it is going to give you a tool to help you cope better, which reduces the stress, thus allowing you to attend, concentrate, store and retrieve information more effectively.
What you eat affects your brain. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet that is high in protein and Omega 3 really makes a difference. I go into great details about the foods to eat and the foods to avoid my book, Coping with Concussion and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. Also, in the Brain Health Recipes portion of my blog there is a wide variety of recipes specifically to help your brain health and your memory. Lastly, as part of our integrative team, we have an amazing nutritional educator.
Continue reading the full article: PsychologyToday
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