Seven tips how to exercise brain to prevent cognitive decline. Simple, maybe obvious, but supported by research and neuroscientist Dr. Richard Restak's observations from his book The Complete Guide to Memory.
Decline of the memory with age is not inevitable. If we remember about mental exercises, good diet and sleep habits, we can prevent the decline. Memory is not only what we remember, but a foundation for our creative thinking, intelligence (working memory, the most important of all), and identity (we are what we remember). It can be greatly impacted by our use of technology.
- Pay more attention. Many memory problems are actually an attention problems. To boost attention visualising information can be helpful.
- Regular everyday memory exercises. Everyday means not apps or special games, but a simple act of memorising the groceries or not using GPS when driving.
- Play games. Again, simple is enough: try listing things like people, dates or events. Play 20 questions with friends.
- Read fiction. Novels require brain to process events and characters that are new to us. Reading less fiction can be an indicator of declining memory.
- Be cautions about technology. Storing memories and information only on phone externalises memory, and in the long run, degrades our internal one. This externalisation steals our attention as well (see first point).
- Do not hesitate to seek mental health professional. Hippocampus and amygdala are linked, thus our memory is forever intertwined with our emotions. When we are sad, we remember the bad things.
- Self-awareness. Not every memory leak, like forgetting where you parked a car, is concerning. Forgetting how you arrived at the parking—this is something that we should be wary about.