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Be social

Be social
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Spending time with friends and loved ones is an important factor in brain health in general and memory specifically, Dr Merrill says. “Our brains are wired for human connection and a big part of that is making memories together,” he says. Having a rich social life not only reduces stress but is a great way to make sure you have lots of opportunities to rehearse and relive the memories you’re forming, and thus improve your memory, he says. If you read a novel on your own, you might not remember all the details in it, but if you discuss it with your book group, you’ll have chances to describe what really moved you and you’ll be reminded of secondary characters that your friends found memorable.

Use smartphones wisely

Use smartphones wisely
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“Smartphones can be a fantastic way to support our memory,” Loveday says. She suggests using alarms and reminders as a way to free up mental space: “If you are continually thinking, ‘I mustn’t forget to pick my son up at 4pm,’ then you’re not able to focus on what you’re doing.” Be careful when it comes to using your camera phone, though.  People who take lots of photographs are so focused on the visual aspects of their experience that they don’t remember key information they heard and may be less able to remember the experience as a whole, according to a study published in the Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition. It is such a common experience they even gave it a name: “The photo-taking impairment effect.” So if you want to treasure the memory of your child’s first birthday for years to come, use your phone to keep track of the guest list, take a few snaps, and then put it aside and just focus on enjoying the party.

Don’t totally outsource your memory to Google

Don’t totally outsource your memory to Google
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Depending on phones and computers to remember things for us is called cognitive offloading and while this can be useful in many cases (trusting your phone to get you to a store you’ve never visited or to remember all your friends’ phone numbers), the feeling that we can just look something up makes us less likely to expend the little effort required to remember what we just read, Dr Merrill says. Loveday, however, says we still come out ahead: “In many ways, having access to the Internet means that we are able to learn more faster,” she says. “While the Internet may mean that we use our memories slightly differently, there is no evidence that it has a negative effect on our ability to learn and remember.”

Find out which creepy things Google may know about you.

Quiz yourself

Quiz yourself
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If you’re trying to memorise the names of all the dogs at the park (or the important events leading up to the Revolutionary War, or the major events in the Marvel Universe), you’ll quiz yourself to see what you’ve learned and what you still need to focus on. But evaluation isn’t the only benefit of self-testing – it also gives you valuable practice recalling the information, according to a study in Psychological Science. The students who were tested on new information as soon as they’d learned it remembered it better a week later than those who just studied in the interim.

Move your eyes from side to side

Move your eyes from side to side
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Next time you open the refrigerator and immediately forget what you were looking for, you might want to spend a few seconds moving your eyes rapidly from left to right and back again if you’re trying to improve your memory. Repeating the same eye pattern movement, ‘rehearsal strategy’, is a way to help recall, a 2018 study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance found. So when you’re trying to remember a certain thing, moving your eyes a certain way while you’re encoding the information, and then doing the same while you’re trying to remember it may help.

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Reduce stress

Reduce stress
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Stress damages the hippocampus – a structure important for learning and memory – altering how neurons connect with each other which affects both your short- and long- term memory, Dr Merrill explains. “Stress makes you less able to focus to learn new things and also more forgetful so it’s harder to remember them,” he says. Making time each day for de-stressing will have big payoffs with your memory, as well as other important health benefits like a lower risk of heart disease and mental illness. He recommends deep breathing, meditation, learning or practicing hobbies, and exercise.

Don’t miss these weird symptoms you didn’t know were linked to stress.

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Make time for hobbies

Make time for hobbies
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Love to build model airplanes? Read novels? Play the piano? Hobbies are a workout your brain and can strengthen your memory in different ways, Dr Merrill says. Getting really into a hobby helps you achieve a “flow state” which is prime time for learning and remembering, plus they reduce stress which is also beneficial for memory, he says.

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Source: RD.com 

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