Nearly everyone has an occasional lapse in memory. Usually, it’s because you have too much on your mind. However, if these lapses start happening frequently, you might be suffering from memory loss. Many factors could contribute to memory decline, including age, genetics, and medical conditions.

But don’t panic yet because there are things you can do to sharpen your memory and reduce cognitive decline. These will help stimulate your brain, creating new neural pathways and altering existing ones. Along with improving your memory, the following things will improve your brain’s ability to adapt to various situations.

1. Exercising Your Brain

Much like your muscles, the brain requires regular workouts to stay healthy and perform at its best. As we learn and grow, our brains form numerous neural pathways that help with the analysis, processing, and recall of information. These pathways, over time, make it very easy to perform habitual tasks.

However, if you stick to these paths, the brain is no longer stimulated and stops forming new neural pathways. Consequently, your power of recall stagnates or even begins to decline.

You might already know that grappling with a complex crossword or playing against a particularly skilled chess opponent can go a long way in improving your memory. But you don’t have to kill yourself because playing games such as solitaire or mahjong can have the same effect.

2. Getting Enough Physical Exercise

While mental exercise significantly affects brain health, you still need to complement it with physical exercise. Physical exercises help keep your brain sharp by increasing oxygen concentration and blood flow to the brain. Exercise also reduces the risk of disorders leading to memory loss and reduces stress hormone levels in the body.

Additionally, mastering a sport that requires good hand-eye coordination or complicated motor skills - such as golf and tennis, stimulates new neural connections and paths, effectively building your brain.

3. Socializing More

Hanging out with friends has been scientifically proven to not only have emotional benefits but also have significant cognitive benefits.

A study by the Harvard School of public health revealed that adults with an active social life are less likely to suffer from mental decline as they age. It is important to note that this applies not to shallow connections, but to meaningful relationships, those that form your support system and add value to your life.

4. Getting Enough Sleep

Getting enough sleep plays a big role in improving memory. Memory consolidation (the process by which short term memories are transformed into long term memories), occurs in the deepest stages of sleep. Consequently, skimping on sleep – even by a few hours, compromises your memory, critical thinking, creative, analytical, and problem-solving skills.

There is, however, a difference between the minimum amount of sleep you can get without adversely affecting your health, and the amount of sleep you should get to stay at your best. In general, adults need between 7 and 9 hours of Z’s to be at their best.

5. Brain-Boosting Foods

You probably already know that a good diet provides a lot of health benefits. Eating the right food can also improve your brain health, increasing your cognitive abilities, and improving your memory. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fruits, vegetables, and green tea are good examples of ‘brain foods’.

Final Thoughts

Most of these practices will boost not only your brain health but also your overall health. Enough sleep, for instance, will also help reduce stress levels, maintain a healthy weight, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. In your pursuit of better brain health, you’ll most likely find yourself adopting a healthier lifestyle.

Author's Bio: 

Success Coach, Business Development Consultant, Strategist, Blogger, Traveller, Motivational Writer & Speaker