Improving your memory shouldn’t be an unpleasant task. Instead, let it be an enjoyable natural and routine pleasure. Check out these five methods to improve the performance of your brain;
LAUGHING ABOUT IT
What could be more painless than laughing? In a research conducted at Loma Linda University in Southern California, twenty healthy older adults were asked to watch a funny video for twenty minutes, while another control group of adults sat quietly with no video. Afterwards, all the participants performed assessment, while samples of their saliva were analyzed for cortisol.
Those who laughed away twenty minutes scored higher scores on short-term memory assessment. Also, their cortisol levels were drastically reduced. Cortisol, is a hormone associated with stress, is known to depressingly affect your memory. On the other hand, laughter — or simply appreciating the funny side of life — increases endorphins, which sends dopamine to the brain to create a sense of pleasure and reward. A little fun reduces your stress hormones, and this reduces your blood pressure while improving your mood, and sequentially these physiological changes unite to result in a healthier memory, this was explained by Dr. Lee Berk, a co-author of the study.
“Delayed recall and Learning ability, become tougher as we age,” said Dr. Gurinder S. Bains, another of the authors. “Laughing together with friends or even watching 20 minutes of comedy on TV, as I do daily, helps me deal with my every day stressors.”
Sleep is an alternating dimension where dreams sweep us into an unreal sense unknown to our waking selves. While sleep may seem like a world unto itself, it is also very vital to this one. After we learn something fresh, a group of researchers at New York University discovered that sleep helps brain cells connect to one another, and in so doing it helps us maintain our memories.
The researchers started their work by teaching mice to perform a new skill. Afterward, they divide the mice into two distinct groups and permitted some to sleep, while others were deprived of sleep. With the aid of a microscope, they were able to look inside the animal brains and discovered the group of mice sleeping formed significantly fresh connections between neurons than the other group of mice that were awake.
“Discovering that sleep promotes new connections amid neurons is new, no one knew this before,” Dr. Wen-Biao Gan, who is a professor at University of New York, told the british broadcasting corporation (BBC). “We have been able to prove that the brain is not calm while sleeping, it is replaying what occurred during the day and it seems pretty important for making the connections.” Experimenting further, the researchers discovered that brain cells activated in the motor cortex every time the mice learned a new task reactivated during one particular sleep period slow-wave deep sleep. This specific type of sleep, then, is when the mice preserved the fresh connections between the brain cells. When the researchers stopped the slow-wave deep sleep, the new connections were not conserved and so, consolidation of memories was therefore prevented.
WRITING IT DOWN
Avoiding the computer and using paper and pen to handwrite your notes, improves your ability to retain and comprehend concepts.
This remarkable discovery came about when two students of psychology Pam Mueller of Princeton and Daniel Oppenheimer of UCLA carried out a research of memory that started with questioning a group of college undergraduates to listen to the same lecture and write down notes in their comfortable way.
Thirty minutes later, Mueller and Oppenheimer carried out a test on the students on the material. While both groups of undergraduates memorized the same number of details, the students who had typed their notes with their laptops performed not as good as the students who used their hands to write their note, when it came to the lecture’s ideas. After that, Mueller and Oppenheimer further experimented to determine if the results would be the same if the students were given exactly a week to assess before taking an exam. Carrying out another experiment, they discovered, astonishingly enough, the students who took less notes in longhand did significantly better than students who took copious notes, practically transcribing the whole lecture on their laptops. Briefly, those who listened carefully and wrote down fewer notes instead of unconsciously typing, perform better on both the detailed and the higher-order theoretical parts of the exam.
Although you may think this research applies only to students, you most likely have meetings at work and find yourself in other circumstances which involve or include note taking. Instead of you having the emotion that you are at a disadvantage every time you are not near your computer, consider it a benefit. Your brain will thank you for making it to sort out the material in your mind before you even write it down.
Your posture influences whether you remember positive or negative memories.
In a sequence of experimentations, carried out by Dr. Erik Peper, of San Francisco State University, he explored how our posture can influence our memory. Participants in Dr. Peper’s research discovered that it is much easier to remember hopeless, weak, negative, and powerless memories when sitting in a bent position with the eyes directly casting downward. Conversely, when participants sat up straight and slanted their chins upward, they found it hard and nearly impossible for many of the participating participants — to remember depressing memories. However, these very same participants who were upright easily recalled previous events that were encouraging or positive.
Generally, good pose boost your brain’s ability to recall both the good and the bad, since it allows blood and oxygen to flow more freely without restriction to the brain. Actually sitting up straight may even increase blood flow by up to 40 percent, according to some people.
DRINK IT DOWN
Extracts from Green tea help improve your brain functioning and particularly your working memory, researchers discovered.
In a recent experimentation, University of Basel researchers gave their participants either a drink containing 27.5 grams of green tea extract, or a protein drink intended to taste like green tea. None of the participants were aware which beverage or drink they were actually drinking. as they drank their beverages, the researchers observed their brains in a machine known as the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine. Also, participants completed tasks to assess their short term working memory.
Surprisingly, the green tea participants performed better than their protein drink peers on the memory tasks. In addition, their brain scans showed a distinctly different activation pattern than the other participants. Particularly, the green tea participants’ scans showed an amplified connectivity connecting frontal cortex and parietal lobe. The frontal lobe is home to our higher thinking abilities, whereas the parietal lobe plays a part in how our brains process sensory vital information and language.
“Our discoveries propose that green tea might boost the short-term synaptic flexibility of the brain,” said Professor Stefan Borgwardt of the University of Basel. A cup can boost your memory, but remember: always drink green.