10 Easy Ways to Boost Your Memory

Worried about fading brain power?
If you’re older than 27, you have good reason.

That’s the age when cognitive skills start to decline, according to new University of Virginia research. But while some changes in thinking and memory are inevitable as we age, the good news is that lifestyle seems to be able to blunt those effects — and keep many minds working sharply well into old age.

That’s reassuring, given headlines from the Alzheimer’s Association’s new annual report showing that every 70 seconds, someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s (the most common form of dementia). Debilitating memory loss doesn’t happen to everyone, though. Learn what you can do to preserve yours.memory .

Booster #1. Take the stairs

Exercise benefits your head as much as the rest of your body, a growing number of studies indicate. Overall cardiorespiratory fitness also lowers the risk of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular problems — all known risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. Theories on why that’s so range from improved blood flow to the brain to less brain shrinkage.

Experts recommend making regular aerobic workouts part of your routine. Failing that, it appears that even small efforts add up. So avoid elevators. Park at the far end of the parking lot. Start by walking around your block in the evenings, and add a few minutes more each day.

Memory Booster #2: Change your wallpaper

When doing routine things, the brain runs on autopilot. Novelty, on the other hand, literally fires up the brain as new data creates and works new neural pathways.

So shake up what you see and do every day: If your computer screen background is “invisible” to you, run a program that mixes it up every day or every hour. Take a different route home from work. Brush your teeth with your nondominant hand. Buy, borrow, or download a book that makes you think about new ideas.

Memory Booster #3. Steal some zzz’s by daylight

It’s while you’re sleeping that your brain sorts, consolidates, and stores memories accumulated during the day — that’s why eight hours at night is so valuable. But a mere six-minute nap is as valuable as a full night’s sleep to short-term recall, according to German research. And a 90-minute nap has been shown to speed up the process that helps the brain consolidate long-term memories.

Memory Booster #4. Take a mental “photograph”

Memories aren’t just stored in one spot in the brain; bits of data are processed and stored in different areas. To help make the memory of an incident last, take a “snapshot” of it while you’re in the moment, using all your senses. Look around and think about what you see. Notice colors and textures. What do you smell? If you’re eating or drinking (or kissing), what’s the taste?

This “mental camera” trick can help you hang onto a happy memory longer. But it can also help you remember where you parked your car.

Memory Booster #5. Eat less – Eat Right

After only 12 weeks, healthy volunteers (average age 60) who reduced their daily calories by 30 percent scored 20 percent better on memory tests, University of Munster (Germany) researchers reported in January. The possible reason: decreased levels of insulin, created when the body processes food, and of the inflammation-associated molecule C-reactive protein. Both factors are linked to improved memory function.

The people in the study were cautioned not to consume fewer than 1,200 calories a day. If cutting back on your diet by nearly a third seems too daunting, focus on eating less fat, meat, and dairy products. Earlier this year, Columbia University Medical Center researchers reported that in a long-term study of more than 1,300 participants, those with the highest adherence to a Mediterranean diet — rich in vegetables, legumes, fish, and monounsaturated oils (like olive oil) but low in fat, beef, and dairy — had the lowest risk of developing mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.

Memory Booster #6. Try a “brain-training” game — or join a “brain gym”

The science is promising, if not conclusive, as to whether so-called brain-fitness software can actually improve memory. A study in the April 2009 *Journal of the American Geriatric Society* shows that people over 65 who used a computerized cognitive training program for an hour a day, over a period of eight weeks, improved memory and attention more than a control group.

Memory Booster #7. Spend some time online

Neuroscientist Gary Small, director of the UCLA Memory & Aging Center and author of *iBrain*, says searching the Web is a bit like using a brain-training course. His researchers used MRI to measure brain activity in Web users ages 55 to 76; the net-savvy users showed twice as much brain activity, especially regarding decision making.

Memory Booster #8. Stop and sip a cuppa

Green and black teas have a protective effect on memory, possibly by influencing enzymes in the brain. The caffeine sparks concentration, too. And people who drink moderate amounts of coffee at midlife — as many as three to five cups — have lower odds of developing dementia in late life, Finnish and French researchers say.

Another benefit: Taking a coffee or tea break in your day (or three times a day) is a good opportunity for destressing.Memory

Booster #9. See a doctor if you feel depressed

Maybe it’s “just a mood.” But untreated depression is common and can impair memory. Talk therapy and/or antidepressant medication can resolve the problem. Two red flags worth mentioning to a physician: a loss of interest in things that once gave you pleasure and a persistent sense of hopelessness.

People at higher risk for depression include caregivers of older people and those who have a family history of depression.

Memory Booster #10. Take the “multi” out of your tasking

Especially when they’re trying to learn something new, people remember less well later if they were multitasking while learning, UCLA researchers have shown. If, for example, you’re studying while listening to the radio, your memory recall may be dependent on the music to help you later retrieve the information during the test — except, of course, that you can’t usually replicate the same circumstances (like music during a test).

Try to learn something new — reading a contract or directions, copying a skill — when you can give it your full concentration. Cut out distractions like the TV in the background or pausing every few seconds when you hear the “ding” of your e-mail or text-message inbox.

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A Change Is Gonna Come…

People who know my writings are well aware that I am not a fan of IDIOT television. Please understand I am NOT anti-television. I am NOT a snob who only watches PBS and the BBC. I am not an arrogant intellectual who only watches C-SPAN and the National Geographic Channel.

I find value in SOME reality television. Not the kind that locks 10 people in a house and watches from hidden cameras to see who is the most disrespectful, which “contestant” has the least principles, who lacks the most manners or who has no values or moral code. I am a fan of reality television that inspires, or demonstrates the ability to succeed against all odds and lift up the human condition.

I am fundamentally opposed to sitcoms and other types of programming with foolish, idiotic, senseless, inane and salacious story lines. I am opposed to television that re-enforces the concept that John and Jane Average are: Absent-Minded, Absurd, Brainless, Brash, Careless, Carnal, Crazy, Delirious, Demented, Dense, Desperate, Disconnected, Dull, Empty-Headed, Flaky, Flighty, Foolish, Forgetful, Hasty, Hopeless, Imbecilic, Impetuous, Inattentive, Inconsiderate, Inconsistent, Insignificant, Irrational, Irresponsible, Loose, Mindless, Moronic, Negligent, Oblivious, Pointless, Preposterous, Rash, Reckless, Ridiculous, Scatterbrained, Senseless, Shortsighted, Sloppy, Stupid, Thoughtless, Trivial, Uncaring, Unconcerned, Unintelligent, Unobservant, Unreasonable, Unstable, Unwise, or Violent.

I attribute the NUMBING DOWN of America to the mindless, value-impaired, consumption-driven TV programming that America’s media giants are bringing into our lives and those of our children. This is done simply to get more and more advertising dollars no matter what the cost to the basic human fabric of our society. We are seduced into a trance-like state by subliminal manipulation. Commercial messages tell us that if we use “Spackle Brand” toothpaste we will lose weight, instantly become more confident and popular, we will become the perfect Mom or Dad and using “Spackle” to brush our teeth will drive men and women wild with sexual desire.

This mind numbing blight of “lowest common denominator” drivel is an atrocity and morally it is just plain WRONG! It is a travesty of the human spirit when business sells our souls to the highest bidder.

Right now I’ll bet you are asking yourself “I wonder how he really feels about it?”

Having defined my position on what is wrong with television today let me tell you there is hope! There are programs being produced today that allow you to become mentally and emotionally involved in a healthy, productive way. They take you on a thrilling introspective journey in the same way a great book draws you in. Weekly dramas and mini-series that portray real life experience

These shows let you sit at the sidelines of life and become a “Monday Morning Quarterback” calling game winning plays with uncanny accuracy. They allow you a sky box view of real world challenges. This is television at its best. Television that for a brief moment allows you to live vicariously. You can experience life’s lowest lows as well as life’s highest highs from the safety of your armchair.

Television provides a safety net not available in the real world. You remain detached enough to not be permanently scarred when you make a wrong choice, and you WILL make wrong choices. We know with our knower it is a make-believe world yet we work through the twists and turns of the plot and experience it as if it were real. Sometimes, most of the time, it effects us in ways we find hard to admit even to ourselves.

Every once in a while something happens that can change the course of destiny. Every once in a while something truly amazing happens…

A moment in time takes place where possibility meets choice. Where opportunity meets responsibility. A life juncture when a path is followed or denied. Divine inspiration is given – the opportunity to change lives presented. A script writer can choose to respond to the gift being given to him at that moment. A director stands at the precipice of choice, deciding how to present the story. The result of these choices will either be more mediocre television or a story that ignites man’s spirit and guides him to his destiny. Every once in a while that writer, that director, chooses to follow the guidance of an unseen hand. In doing so they take you on a journey that will change you forever.

In that one moment something magical happens…

“Change. We don’t like it. We fear it, but we can’t stop it from coming. We either adapt to change or we get left behind. It hurts to grow, anybody who tells you it doesn’t is lying, but here’s the truth… Sometimes the more things change the more they stay the same. And sometimes, oh, sometimes change is good. Sometimes change is everything.”
  • Dr. Meredith Grey “Grey’s Anatomy”

EPISODE: A Change Is Gonna Come (2007 – Season 4, Episode 1)

All of a sudden that program you are watching becomes the moment – the moment when you know that in your life “A Change Is Gonna Come…”

 

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The Best Commercial Ever Made

In my opinion the best commercial ever made. I’ve never wanted to try Schweppes sparkling water until now. Whatever genius marketing team, advertising team or director came up with this idea… Bravo! Perfectly integrated slow motion video with music and a great message. I don’t think anyone could every grow tired of watching slow motion water balloons explode.

R

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