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6 Unexpected Ways to Improve Memory

Do you find yourself forgetting things more frequently? Are you looking for ways to sharpen your memory and brain function, altogether? Your everyday lifestyle and habits, from the stress you encounter at work to the food you put in your body, can impact your memory. As we're constantly flooded with new information and distractions, these factors can begin to take a toll on our memory capacities as well. Here are a few unexpected ways to improve your cognitive functions.

1. Take an Omega 3 Supplement

DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is an omega-3 essential fatty acid that's a major building block of the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain responsible for memory, language, creativity, emotion, and attention. It's become widely accepted that taking an essential fatty acid supplement, specifically DHA, is one of the best things you can do to support brain health and cognitive function.

2. Cut Out Added Sugars

Research has shown that people who regularly consume lots of added sugar may have poorer memories and lower brain volumes than those who consume less sugar. White sugar is one of the worst substances for your brain and memory, yet the average American consumes 156 pounds of it every year. Poor memory formation, learning disorders, and depression are linked to eating refined sugar. Additionally, chronically high blood sugar levels lead to decreased activity in the hippocampus, the part of the brain most strongly associated with memory.

3. Try Essential Oils

Essential Oils can do more than freshen up the scent of your room. Some can give you an instant memory boost. Ancient Greeks used rosemary to sharpen their senses, and some research suggests that this may be an effective strategy today. Peppermint is also useful to increase brain activity.

4. Stop Using Google Maps

Taking an unfamiliar route or training your mind to no longer rely on navigation systems may help boost activity and stop us from lazily depending on our phones.

5. Doodle

According to a study in Current Directions in Psychological Science, doodling or drawing may help improve thinking and memory while writing or taking notes. Psychologists theorize that these activities can help boost our memories by engaging more of the visual and motor parts of our brains, which in turn may help us retain these concepts.

6. Create a "Memory Palace"

Research has shown that Sherlock Holmes' Memory Palace method may actually facilitate learning and mental improvement. The Memory Palace, or the Method of Loci, is a technique used to visualize a known place to store and recall information and mnemonic images. Basically, a memory palace consists of defining a set location in your mind to store memories. First, you'll need to visualize the place, then define the route, and then memorize the route.

While we may not be able to control how many distractions are present in our lives, we can take some agency in employing new habits and lifestyle choices in our everyday behaviors. While exercise and diet are two of the main contributors to our memory and brain function, hopefully, these tips can give you an added boost along the way.