What our brains lack in size, they make up for in substance. We have a sort of hard drive in that three pound noggin of ours that puts even the most high tech robots to shame. Why? Because our brains are capable of holding the same amount of memory that it takes for the internet operate – 1 million megabytes to be exact. If your mind isn’t blown away yet, wait ‘til you hear this – our brains actually start forming memories when we’re still in the womb!
Needless to say, memory is important, as it helps us lead long and fulfilling lives. So, if you’re wondering how you can make sure your memory is in tip-top shape, check out this handy, little list I put together:
USE IT OR LOSE IT.
Like anything else, our brains work better when they’re stimulated. Not using it is like leaving your car in 6 feet of snow all winter, and expecting it to run as good as new afterwards. So, start using that magnificent brain of yours! Get in the habit of doing puzzles. Quiz yourself with some trivia on your favorite hobby. Take a class on the weekends. Forget autocorrect and spell it yourself. Think of your brain like a muscle – the more you use it, the better it works.
WORK THOSE MUSCLES.
Speaking of stimulation – exercise! Ride your bike to work. Take that spinning class you’ve always been tempted to join. Go for a walk with your dog. Start taking swimming lessons. Any activity that bolsters your heart to work a little faster ends up pumping more oxygen into your brain. Even better, exercise helps your brain create new neuron connections. Neurons are basically what connects your brain to your body – the messengers, per say. So, hop on that treadmill and give your brain the best you’ve got!
SLEEP LIKE A BABY.
Getting a good chunk of zzz’s every night is just as important for adults as it is for kids. Naptime, anyone? Believe it or not, our brains actually work harder when they’re sleeping. They use that down time to clean out all the junk we’ve collected throughout the day. So, treat yourself and go to bed just a little earlier. Fluff up the sheets and relax. You’ll thank me, later.
Research has shown that our brains can’t survive off loneliness. We need a daily dose of interaction with other humans to survive. And yes, that includes all the introverts of the world, as well. A study from Harvard found that people who have the busiest social lives also have the best memory. Coincidence? I think not.
DE-STRESS YOUR LIFE.
You only live once, so you might as well make it a happy one. Chronic stress is poison for your brain – it literally kills brain cells and wrecks the hippocampus, where memories in the brain are formed. Do some spring cleaning this season, and toss out anything in your life that causes you long term stress. Burnt out from your job? Find a new one. Crying all the time from someone’s unrealisitic demands? Give them your best “Hasta la vista, baby!” Arnold Schwarnezeger impression and get the hell out of there. Believe me, your brain will thank you.
It sounds simple, but in this day-in-age, when fast food and junk food run a-plenty, eating healthy isn’t always easy. But you know what? It’s worth it. You wouldn’t want to fly on a plane that was low on fuel, so don’t let your brain run on empty, either.
It’s always better to get your nutrients straight from the source, so hit up that local produce stand you’ve been eyeing on the weekends, or start a garden of your own. Who knows? You could just find a new hobby.
I don’t know about you guys, but I want to feel just as good at 60 years old, as I did when I was 16. And if getting older has taught me anything, it’s this – take nothing for granted. So, up your self-care rituals up a notch and take care of your body and your brain. Because life, my friends, is meant to be lived to its fullest.