4 Ways to Improve Your Memory and Strengthen Your Mind

Brain Games, Mental Fitness, Motivational, Must Reads

How can you strengthen your mind?
How do you improve your memory?
How do you prevent mental decline?
How do you guard against supposed “age-related” memory problems?

If you’re looking for ways to strengthen your mind, improve your memory, and enhance your brain’s fitness – look no further  than the mirror.

More specifically, look at four simple promises you have to MAKE, then KEEP. Obviously, just making them isn’t going to do a bit of good. 🙂

Promise # 1:  Keep Your Mind Engaged

Experts tell us again and again and again (think they’re trying to drive their point home?!) that we need to keep mentally active if we want to keep mentally fit.  We have to keep our minds occupied.  If we fill our mind, our time, and our days with nothing but fluff – our minds aren’t going to be stimulated enough to stretch or grow.  In fact, the mind will regress and weaken.  Think about lifting weights.  Which will produce better-defined, more attractive, and stronger arms – working out with a 10 pound weight in each hand or a jumbo marshmallow in each?  You have to challenge something to bring out its best.

But here’s the thing I think most people miss:  You have to keep on challenging anew.  You can’t get to a point and rest thinking, “I’ve arrived. I’ll rest.”  The person who does that will soon learn just how wrong they were.

Anyone who has embarked on an exercise regime to lose weight knows the importance of adding distance or time to their workouts.  If you don’t keep challenging your body, the weight will simply stop coming off.  If you start out walking a nice, comfortable pace everyday for a month, you’ll lose weight.  How much depends upon your eating habits.  However, after a period of time, your body isn’t impressed by this distance or challenged by your pace.  It refuses to budge any more. Hello, plateau.

This is why fitness trainers preach the importance of changing your routine up, adding distance, and incorporating interval training into your workout – it keeps the body challenged.  It keeps the body improving.  It keeps the body engaged.

How do we keep our mind engaged?  If you’re reading these words, you already have a keen interest in mental fitness and brain health. You’re already ahead of the game.  You probably read each day, love brain games, and are probably a Crossword Puzzle working machine.  But here’s the thing:  Are you reading the same things each day?  Are you working the same types of puzzles each day?  Do you visit the same types of websites?  Do you watch the same types of television shows?

Are you working out with jumbo marshmallows?

It’s not enough to just read educational blogs, websites, magazines, books, and so on.  You have to make sure you aren’t reading the same subjects over and over and over again.  Many so-called experts who are cemented in particular subjects aren’t giving their minds the workout they think they are.  They aren’t stretching their minds at all, actually.  The mind gets accustomed to and comfortable with all of the articles about the same thing.

How much growth do you think occurs between accustomed to and comfortable with? Virtually none.

Here’s what I like to do.  I take a different subject area every couple of weeks and try to learn as much about that subject as possible.  I’m the biggest animal lover in the world, so I use animals often as subjects.  I recently chose one of my favorites – the great white shark.  Fascinating guy!

I also love history, so I’ll often choose a period of time, a war, or an individual and learn all I can.   Flowers, herbs, plants, natural remedies, baseball – they’re all personal favorite directions to take off and explore.  There’s something mentally stimulating for the mind to immerse itself in, say, sharks one week (or month) and Andrew Jackson the next. Personally, I’m fonder of the shark.

Challenge your mind and, whatever you do, KEEP YOUR MIND ENGAGED.

Promise # 2:  Keep Your Body Moving

Experts also tell us that staying physically active is as important for our minds as it is for our bodies.  Try to get more activity each day in any way you can. Below are various ideas to do just that.

  1. Walk everyday for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Garden!  Planting flowers, herbs, veggies, and plants – then tending to them calls for a lot of activity and burns a lot of calories. You get fresh air, sunshine, and physical fitness. If you engage your mind by reading about many new, fascinating plants, you’ll be overachieving!
  3. If the weather is too cool to walk outdoors, consider buying  a treadmill.  I wouldn’t take anything for mine.
  4. Clean house like you mean it!
  5. Wash your car yourself instead of taking it through a car wash.
  6. When shopping, take the long route to everything on your list.
  7. Make it a habit to park as far as possible from your destination.
  8. Put the laundry up one item at a time.

You get the idea – find more ways to move your body more often.  Pedometers are outstanding.  They let you know how many steps you’ve gotten that day – so you can try to stay on pace or push yourself beyond pace.  Always fun.  Just KEEP YOUR BODY MOVING.

Promise # 3:  Keep Your Lungs Clear

Smoking isn’t just unhealthy for your lungs and body – it’s a nightmare for your brain. If you are a smoker who wants to improve your memory and strengthen your mind – you simply must quit smoking.   What’s more, if you’re around smokers – even if you don’t smoke – your lungs aren’t as clear as they’d like to be.  Avoid second hand smoke whenever possible.  It’s horrible for every part of your body and mind.

If you’re after optimum physical and mental health- KEEP YOUR LUNGS CLEAR.

Promise # 4:  Keep Your Appointment with Your ZZZZZZs

One of the surest signs that you aren’t getting enough sleep is mental fogginess.  Forgetting names, misplacing things, and simply not feeling on top of your game are all signs of a lack of rest.  You may think you’re getting all the sleep you need, but that may not be the case.  Try to add a few more ZZZs and see if you feel more like your old self.

Sleep is required for our bodies and minds to repair themselves from all they do during the day.  If you rob yourself of the sleep your body and mind crave, you’re running on empty – and that never ends well.

Even if you’re keeping your mind engaged, keeping your body moving, and keeping your lungs clear… you won’t achieve all that’s yours to achieve if you don’t KEEP YOUR APPOINTMENT WITH YOUR ZZZZZZZZs.

Make each moment count double,
~ Joi

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13 comments… add one
  • Hi Joi,

    Great list. I totally agree in keeping our mind stimulated. I often find that simply reading a book or doing something that’s challenging to mind is enough to improve and strengthen my mind. Thanks for sharing!!

  • I really enjoyed this post Joi, it’s just what I needed to read as I’ve been working far too many hours lately. Definitely need to catch up on my rest and take a little time to smell the roses. 🙂

  • Thanks, Shakeology. I’m guilty of the same thing lately. During warmer months, gardening and yard work join in the lineup of regular duties and work – creating a situation where there’s more to do and less time to do it in! I’ve learned to let some things go… that way I can actually enjoy the things I am doing as opposed to just trying to get through them and move onto the next chore.

  • Bettina

    Very true sleep is very important Scientists from the University of Pittsburgh medical school found that natural killer cells, one of the main methods by which our body fights disease and cancer, are reduced when sleep is disturbed. Exercise also plays an important role in keeping our body active. Proleva did extensive studies on Green tea and concluded that it is an excellent memory enhancer and so it’s used for best of the benefits for the customer.

  • Kathy

    OK, but does #1 work if you jump from subject, to subject, to subject … Just too much information availabe online. I need to spend more time @ the Library.

  • Kathy, I totally agree – there is an over abundance of information online. Sometimes, so much so that it can be distracting and overwhelming. Personally, I find a few trusted, well-rounded sites that I know are reliable and stick with them. CNN, USA Today, the History Channel’s website, Discovery Channel, National Geographic.com – they’re all places I visit regularly. I trust their information, plus having select sites keeps me from suffering information overload! I totally agree with you about the library, though. I visit mine often, in fact a few of my daughters and I are going today. Love my library! – Joi

  • Bettina, That’s great news for a green tea fanatic like me! I actually have a huge glass of it right beside me. It’s good to know that something I already love so much is serving me well.

    That’s also fascinating news about sleep deprivation – it makes you really want to take a nap! Thanks so much for sharing, I’m a total sponge when it comes to information like this. – Joi

  • I found your content very interesting, and I will definitely be recommending it to my readers.

    Best wishes,
    Naveen

  • Great content, great ideas. Going to recommend it to my friends!

  • Getting sleep is CRUCIAL.

  • I really needed to hear the smoking part. I know it’s bad and my kids tell me to stop all the time. I have smoked for ages and I enjoyed this article. Thanks : )

  • I’ve got numbers 2,3 and 4 down pretty good…but I need to improve on promise #1 for sure!

  • It is amazing what a good night sleep can do for the mind.

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