Close your eyes and try to remember everything you’ve done today from the moment you woke up. Can you pick out exact details? Did anything unexpected happen? Can you remember specific smells or noises?
Our brains are powerful and miraculous. They perform complex calculations, regulate emotions, and store information as memories. Memory also helps us learn new skills, preserve everything we’ve learned during our lives, and it can instantly transport you back in time to relive happy memories (let’s ignore the embarrassing ones). The brain is an incredible gift we often take for granted.
Like any other complex machine, your brain needs maintenance and regular practice to stay healthy. Take a quick look at 10 activities to boost your memory and keep your brain active.
Regular exercise is good for both the body and the brain. Physical activity increases blood flow to the brain, which encourages new brain cell growth. Thirty minutes of cardio a few times each week is plenty to get you started.
Yoga and Meditation
Gentle movements, rhythmic breathing, and meditation can help you relax and think more clearly. Some research has shown that people who do yoga or meditate experience increased cognitive function.
Learn Something New
Teaching yourself a new hobby or skill is a fantastic way to benefit your mind. When learning new things, you force parts of your brain to engage in different ways and think critically. A healthy mind is one that’s ready to learn.
Card Games and Puzzles
Playing games with your friends and family will help sharpen your wit and memory. Chess and checkers require you to plan ahead and execute strategies. During card games, you have to pay keen attention to what others are doing. And puzzles can only be completed piece by piece if you practice patience and visualization.
Change Your Routine
Sometimes the best way to keep your brain on its metaphorical toes is to diverge from your routine. Take a different route to work, wake up earlier, or chat with someone new. Fresh experiences can free you from a rut and challenge your mind.
Sleep—the easiest activity of all. Getting healthy amounts of sleep is essential to overall brain health and memory retention. It may feel like a cop-out, but your brain stays remarkably active while you rest, and deep, uninterrupted sleep allows your mind to reset and recharge so you’re ready for whatever tomorrow brings.
Play Video Games
Video games have come a long way since the days of Pong and Donkey Kong. Certain types of video games—like action, puzzle, and strategy—have proven to increase different cognitive functions, including memory. And many of these games, like Tetris and Solitaire, can be downloaded onto any smart device.
Listening to Music
Music is just as magical as your memories. It can ignite powerful emotions or help you relax. Beloved tunes can also trigger memories from your past and send you to a different time and place. It encourages creativity and imagination, which is also an easy way to boost memory and brain activity.
Reading and Writing
Never underestimate the power of delving into a world of words. Reading both relaxes your brain and stimulates it, and it also encourages concentration and visualization. Writing requires your imagination and translates abstract thoughts into concrete words.
Relax and De-Stress
Managing daily stress is a healthy habit, both for your body and brain. People who are frequently stressed will find it difficult to clear their minds, think critically, and recall information. Take time each day to wind down and do something you enjoy. Your mind will thank you for it.
Lastly, a healthy, varied diet is important for overall cognitive health and supporting memory. So make sure you’re eating healthy and drinking plenty of water each day to enjoy more days of clarity and focus. To stay on top of memory optimizing nutrition, you could also try supplements formulated with ingredients that support cognitive health.
Your mind holds many valuable gifts, and it’s worth caring for. So take time to relax and remember what’s most important to you.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
About the Writer
Born and raised in Utah, Taylor Pulver grew up fishing, camping, and hiking his way through the Wasatch Range. Now, he lives in Salt Lake City as a writer, gardener, and avid reader of fantasy and science fiction novels.