Your memory is like a muscle. You must work it to keep it strong. No matter how old you are or where you are in your life, memory can have an impact on your daily life. This is why it is important to keeping it strong. If you find yourself forgetting to do things, then it might be time to try some exercises to sharpen your memory.
Brush Your Teeth
You might be thinking this isn’t a brain exercise, but if you do something in your regular routine, like brushing your teeth, with your non-dominant hand, this can help to create new neurological pathways in your brain. When you help your brain to experience new things, it can help to develop new connections. Think about brushing your teeth or hair with the opposite hand, dialing the phone or texting with the other hand or even using your non-dominant hand to write. The more challenging, the better.
Use Your Tactile Senses
Close your eyes and do something you normally do with your eyes open—within reason, of course! Take a shower, brush your teeth, or do the dishes (no knives) while having your eyes closed. When your eyes are closed, you will be using your sense of feel, smell, and hearing to get the job done. This can be somewhat challenging for your brain, which can help sharpen memory.
Pay Attention to Smells
Fragrances are one of the most powerful things to help sharpen your memory and even to help calm your nerves. Have you ever smelled a smell that reminds you of your childhood? Our sense of smell is so powerful that it can help to recall memories from many years ago. To exercise your brain, you can find a new scent to enjoy each day when you wake up and as you go through your morning routine. New smells will open up brain pathways. Smells can also help with anxiety and depression, so you’ll not only exercise your brain, but will also help to stay calm.
Connect with Those Around You
Unfortunately, so much is done with our phones and social media these days, that we often don’t make social connections. You can probably get gas, buy lunch, and see what is going on in the world without interacting with another person once. While this is convenient, it is not the best for our brains. By neglecting to make human contact, we can damage our cognitive abilities and hurt our memory. Instead of paying at the pump, go inside the store and pay the person behind the counter. Buy your lunch from someone instead of through your phone.
Reading is a very important skill that can keep our mind sharp. This is not only because you are learning something new, but when we read, we are using our memory and other brain function to read words and put together what is happening. As an added bonus, you can read aloud or listen to a book on tape. By reading in a different way, you are using different parts of your brain than when you read silently to yourself.
Talk About Your Feelings
You might be wondering how this made the list of brain exercises. Mental illness can have a great effect on the brain’s functioning, including memory. Therefore, it is so important to talk about your feelings and what is happening in your life. You can talk to a therapist, or just make sure you have a really close friend who is willing to listen. Your memory will benefit from taking care of yourself.
Make a List
A lot of your memory function is recalled. By making lists of different things, such as animals, colors, types of cars, or what groceries you need to buy, you are sharpening your recall abilities. You can also make a list, read it over a few times, and practice recalling what you have put on the list.
Learn Something New
Learning something new, like a language or sport, can also help to keep your brain sharp. When we learn new skills, we create new pathways for our brain. When we learn something new and challenging, it can help to boost our brain power.
Eat with Your Eyes Closed
You might want to try this one at home and not out at a restaurant. When eating with your eyes closed, see if you can identify the different tastes and smells in the food you are eating. This can help to keep your memory sharp.
Play Word Games
Do you ever wonder why people do daily crossword puzzles? Besides the fact that you feel accomplished when you get all or most of the clues, it is also good for keeping your memory sharp. By needing to constantly recall words, you are testing out your memory. Any other games that have to do with words can be beneficial as well. Pick a long word, like thanksgiving, and see how many words you can make with the letters.
Taking care of our brain is just as important as taking care of the rest of our bodies. To keep your brain healthy, get enough sleep, eat healthy foods and be sure to exercise. By exercising your body and your brain, you can live a happier and healthier life.