How often do you fall into the situation where you forget a person’s name just moments after he told it to you? To your relief, you aren’t the only one. Nowadays, there are more people with memory-related issues than any other time in our history. People are always in a hurry and often overwhelmed with information. Our brains haven’t evolved to handle today’s world in terms of memorizing and often need help to be able to properly handle everything coming your way. From various interesting tips to the foods you need to include in your diet, in this article I will show you the best ways to improve your short-term memory.
The first thing you can do to improve your short-term memory is to start with your daily life. Cut things like cigarettes, drugs, alcohol. Start exercising both your body and your brain and include a healthy diet into your regime. Keeping your body hydrated is also a great way to improve your brain’s cognitive capabilities and raise your energy levels. Last but not least, is to never cut hours from your sleep in order to have more time during the day.
Before I move on I just want to take a moment and remind you that you are what you eat. This is especially valid for your brain, as it is one of the most sensitive organs in your body. Anything you do in your everyday life, anything you eat, and most importantly – anything you drink will affect is abilities to handle information, stress, sleep, and other important brain functions. This is why I want to start this article by pointing out the small changes you can do to your day in order to improve your brain’s condition.
What is the first thing you do when you wake up? If it isn’t drinking water then you are waking up on the wrong foot. You just spent 8 hours of sleep (hopefully) without a single drop of water. Our brains are very sensitive to the lack of water in our bodies and often we feel the symptoms of dehydration without even knowing where they come from. Some of those include headaches, dry lips, dry skin, lack of energy, confusion, irritability, etc.
Other things you should keep away from your brain are excess amounts of alcohol. I am not saying cut alcohol as a whole but just reduce its intake to maybe a few evenings per week without exceeding one or two glasses.
Eating well and staying active also greatly affect your brain, and this is why you should consider going on a healthy diet and moving more often. You can walk to work instead of taking the bus? Great! Then do it! Your body and your brain will thank you. Cycling to work is also a great alternative or simply take a walk every now and then. Not only you will be able to clear your head but you will help it as well both figuratively and metaphorically.
What To Do
Here is the full list of tips I have prepared for you that you can easily follow:
- Stay hydrated
- Reduce alcohol consumption
- Stay mentally active
- Keep a steady social life
- Be organized
- Eat well and don’t starve yourself
- Supplement your body well
I know that this checklist sounds like the cover page of a fitness magazine but there is a reason for that. Following these simple steps will not only boost your short and long-term memories but will make you feel better overall and boost your energy levels. Now, let’s check out some of those ideas in greater detail.
Staying active in both the physical and mental sense of the word is perhaps the most important thing for the brain besides it being nicely hydrated constantly. The way exercise shapes your body is the same as mental exercises shape your brain. The more you stimulate it the better it will become at certain tasks, such as memorizing things.
Pro Tip: Things like crosswords, Sudoku, chess, Rubik’s cube, and other similar games can keep your brain engaged while at the same time be fun to solve.
“We are social animals”. You’ve probably heard this phrase a lot. There is a good reason for that. We are, indeed, social animals, and have evolved to thrive in social environments. Sure, those alone moments sometimes feel like a bliss but the reality is that social interaction helps us fight off conditions such as depression and stress, which have deeper roots in our consciousness and ultimately affect every part of our nerve system.
Organizing your life is more helpful than you might think. We tend to remember order far better than chaos. This is because anything out of the ordinary will stick out more and therefore attract our attention and stick to our minds easier. Keep your personal life and home organized and clean. The worst thing that could happen when following this tip is not being able to lose your keys easily anyway.
Being organized has another benefit – it limits your distractions. If your environment allows you to concentrate on one thing at a time you will become more efficient with your work and personal tasks.
Take A Nap
Seriously, if you can take a nap. Even if you are at work ask your boss whether you can take a 30 minute power nap in the middle of the workday. Studies decisively show that workers who take a nap during work hours are at least twice as productive and attentive as others who don’t sleep well or drink too much coffee. Sure, coffee is a great nootropic but it is also something your bodies can easily get used to and in no time you will be drinking 200-300mg of caffeine per day without noticing a significant effect.
What is worse is that caffeine stays in our system for more than 6 hours. Most people drinking coffee in the afternoon have trouble falling asleep primarily because of that reason. There is a reason Winston Churchill said “never sit down when you can lie down”.
Now that I’ve been through some of the best tips to boost your short-term memory, it’s time to emphasize on another aspect of memory – nutrition.
Foods To Help You Remember
People often think that the brain can be influenced only through exercise or medication but miss out on a very important fact. That fact is that the brain is very responsive to the external environment of a person and is greatly reactive to what we eat, drink, and generally do. This is why I created this short list of foods that will boost your mental capacity both for the short-term memories and long-term memories. Here are the foods I picked:
- Blueberries – this is one of the most famous nootropic fruits which is used for a variety of conditions. Blueberries are rich on fiber, potassium, vitamins C, B6, and folate. Apart from their brain-boosting capabilities, blueberries also lower cholesterol and are known to decrease the risk of heart disease.
- Pumpkin Seeds – Pumpkin seeds are a good source of magnesium, zinc, some antioxidants, and fatty acids which, as I pointed out in my article on brain-boosting vitamins, are all things you want to have in your body at all times. Apart from being great for the brain, these seeds are ideal for controlling the blood pressure in patients with hypertension and/or increased cholesterol.
- Fatty Fish – When it comes to foods that help your brain stay at the top of its game, I can’t create a list without including fish in it, especially fish rich on fatty acids and fats in general.
- Turmeric – Among the numerous medicinal properties of this ginger-family plant the ones that stand out the most are its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Apart from those, turmeric also increases the neurotrophic factor in our brains which improves brain function and lowers the overall risk of brain diseases. It is also shown to improve the memory of patients with early stages of dementia and other similar conditions.
- Broccoli – Who would have thought that what our parents made us eat so much would eventually affect our long-term memory? Well… nobody. This is why the recent studies that broccoli is beneficial for the brain took the world by surprise. Nevertheless, there are a lot of delicious ways to prepare broccoli that will make the inclusion of it in your diet a welcomed feat.
- All Kinds Of Nuts – Even though all nuts are good for you and your nerve system, walnuts are the star of the show here. They possess high concentrations of DHA (an Omega-3 fatty acid) which protects the brain, improves cognitive capabilities in adults and prevents age-related memory deterioration.
- Dark Chocolate – Dark chocolate has been used to improve various bodily functions even since its discovery. It relieves blood pressure, helps your skin, and boosts your brain’s natural properties.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the related questions people most frequently ask when it comes to this topic.
What Affects Short-Term Memory?
One of the main things that can affect your short-term memory is the lack of oxygen in the brain. Other external factors that can greatly deteriorate your memory are too much alcohol or drugs in your system. Head trauma, primarily concussions is another cause of memory loss, easily observed in athletes retired from full-contact sports such as football or box.
From the medical conditions that can cause memory loss the main ones are epilepsy, seizures, depression, chronic stress, and others.
What Causes Memory Loss And Forgetfulness?
Many people are worried that being forgetful might be one of the first signs of Alzheimer’s. In fact, in almost all cases of sudden forgetfulness the source is different. In most cases that is just a process associated with ageing, stress, emotional issues, or other medical conditions such as the ones I listed above.
Can Anxiety Make You Forgetful?
Yes, anxiety along with stress and depression can make you forget easier and also lessen your ability to focus on certain tasks. This is why people suffering from chronic stress have troubles remembering things both in the short and long terms.
Knowing how to improve your short-term memory will not only affect your professional life but also affect you greatly in a personal aspect. By following the tips that are designed to help your brain, the rest of your body will also greatly improve in all aspects and you will feel better overall. If you want to find more useful articles on the topic of brain health, check my “Helpful Tips” section of this site.