Memory is everything. Our memories hold emotional attachments, vital knowledge, and essential tasks. They also influence our mental health, productivity, and relationships. It is crucial to prevent memory loss because, without our memories, our quality of life will start to decline.
There is a strong connection between depression, anxiety and memory loss. So, it’s imperative to work on your mental health while also training your brain to remain elastic and dynamic. Here are ways to improve memory retention and focus today and the rest of your life!
The Anxiety, Depression and Memory Loss Link
As I mentioned last year, my aging mother has grown anxious, which has manifested as bouts of depression. Anyone with anxiety or depression (such as myself) can attest that living with mental health issues can diminish your concentration, productivity, or self-esteem.
These are enough reasons to want my mom’s precious time remaining on this earth to be more peaceful. However, long-term anxiety and depression can also impact your memory.
A recent study involving 87 participants looked at cognitive performance and mental health. Results found those who are diagnosed with depression tend to recall objects less frequently in cognitive performance tasks when compared to those who didn’t report having depression.
Experts found that those with depression generate fewer new brain cells in the hippocampus. This area of the brain is highly pliable and is responsible for learning, cognitive functioning, and memory. Therefore, living a life of anxiety and depression can lead to memory loss. Double whammy!
Suffice to say, you should work on your mental health just so that you actually enjoy your life. I personally find Tranquility Labs’ Tranquilene Total Calm helpful in that department. It contains a wide variety of botanicals, vitamins, and minerals that promote GABA and serotonin production.
These brain chemicals are responsible for calming down excited brain cells and promoting a good mood. With a daily supplement like Tranquilene Total Calm, you can offer your brain the neural support it requires to improve your memory naturally. Then, you can implement these other memory booster tips!
9 Ways to Improve Your Memory Naturally
The hippocampus is extremely resilient and dynamic. It’s always looking to log new experiences and recall useless information. This phenomenon is known as neuroplasticity. Maintaining neuroplasticity is essential in preventing memory loss. Here are some ways to improve memory and live an enriched life.
1. Memory Improvement Games
Memory improvement games will push you to make decisions, recall information, and organize your thoughts. These are all different ways the brain operates, and it’s all functioning at once! Therefore, playing memory improvement games keeps channels open, allowing new pathways to form.
You want to play games that involve strategy, reasoning, and skill. Don’t play a game that you’re always really good at. Play games that you can get progressively get better at. Striving to be the best player can give you goals. When you achieve these goals, it gives you confidence, which can help with anxiety and memory loss.
Some of the best memory improvement games to play include:
- Jigsaw Puzzles
- Rubik’s Cubes
- Concentration the Card Game
- Crossword Puzzles
- Logic Puzzles
It is good to switch up the types of games you play because they will impact the new neural pathways you create. For instance, jigsaw puzzles help with space-perception by figuring where a piece fits before even trying. This game also tests your short-term recall as you try to remember where you saw that piece you now need before!
Meanwhile, chess requires a long-term strategy. You have to envision where you are going to move and what the consequences will be. Then, you must execute those plans a few moves down the line. These two dichotomies in memory improvement games exemplify the importance of variety.
2. Memory Improvement Apps
Memory improvement games have come a long way since the development of chess. Now, there are memory boosters readily available on your phone!
Memory apps are games and programs that you can use to monitor your brain functioning. Many of these apps will tailor their games and recommendations to your needs. They’ll also tweak their suggestions based on your actual performance.
Some of the most notable memory improvement apps include:
These apps are free to download. They offer many free games daily. However, there are many opportunities to customize the experience even more and unlock new content. You can get those options through in-app purchases.
Sleep is essential for restoring your memory. Not only does a poor night’s rest result in brain fog, but chronic sleep issues can have long-term memory effects.
Memories don’t just happen because we experience something. It’s a three-step process, and sleep is the glue that holds everything together.
Making a memory requires:
- Part 1: Obtainment – When You Have a New Experience or Get New Information
- Part 2: Retainment – When the Brain Consolidates Information and Gets Rid of the Unnecessary
- Part 3: Recollection – How You Remember Something and Communicate This Memory
Parts 1 and 3 happen when we’re awake. Throughout the day, we learn something new about someone, get into a new TV show, or pick-up a new task at work.
We’re so busy taking in all this information coming at us through our phones, family members, and televisions. The wake-state leaves very little time for Part 2.
Scientists haven’t confirmed, but they strongly theorize that the hippocampus replays the day’s events to the neocortex during the sleep state. The neocortex stores whatever information it believes to be pertinent.
When we’re awake, we draw these memories from the neocortex to recall our memories. Then, we can either verbalize, write or imagine the experience as we remember it.
It is essential you get seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Your brain needs the body to rest so it can get some work done! Unfortunately, up to 70 million people have sleep problems.
Sleep issues are especially more common among those with mental health issues. So, the ties between anxiety, depression and memory loss only thicken.
Tranquility Labs’ Sleep Fast Enhanced Melatonin Spray is an all-natural way to support healthy sleep patterns. It is non-habit forming. So, you can use it as a supplement to help get back into your natural rhythm. On nights where things get restless, this fast-acting spray will help ease your racing thoughts so you can sleep.
4. Trivia Nights
Nothing puts your recall to the test like a good ol’ fashioned trivia night. Take Alex Trebek. His recall was still amazing during his final Jeopardy! episodes. We should all strive to have that sharp of a mind at ANY age.
Trivia causes us to dive deep into our memory banks. A random question about a movie from your childhood can transport you back into the movie theatre, while a topic about sports can have you reliving your glory days on the field. When we hear a question or topic, we think, “Oh! I remember that.’
Then, we try to recall the moment where that memory was made. It will help you remember faces you haven’t thought about in a while, businesses that are no longer around, and clothes you wish you didn’t wear!
Trivia can also teach you new things and help create pathways conducive to creating memories. One study asked 1,498 people 244 random trivia questions. The people had to rate how badly they wanted to know the right answer. Then, they had to wait a week to get the results.
Those who had a higher interest in learning the answer recalled those questions much easier than those who were confident they knew the answers to. This finding suggests that when we make recalling information fun while simultaneously integrating it with learning new information, the brain becomes more plastic.
5. Read New Books
Reading is fundamental for preserving grey matter in the brain. This activity stimulates brain tissues, essentially giving them a workout.
Even though reading works out brain muscles, it’s still a low-intensity way to relax. Your mind focuses on the texts and then creates images of what you’re reading in your mind.
This central focus helps relieve stress. Resultantly, you are less susceptible to depression, anxiety and memory loss.
Also, reading stimulates the mind. Reading causes engagement. You engross yourself in the characters and make predictions about the plot. Then, you might discuss these twists and turns with others who read these books for years to come.
6. Continuing Education Courses
Learning new things is a fun way to improve your memory naturally. Every time you learn a new task, it creates an impression in your memory. The more you study a new subject, the impression gets deeper.
Eventually, this information becomes a part of your processes, especially if you’re getting enough sleep! Essentially, learning biohacks your brain by forcing new pathways to grow.
Many cities and towns run adult continuing education courses. These opportunities are available online. They were also in buildings pre-pandemic and might be again in the future.
These courses aren’t as expensive as going to college. Most classes don’t end with a degree. However, you can walk out with a new skill, like pottery or managing a spreadsheet.
There are plenty of opportunities to learn and grow. Immerse yourself in something new and improve your memory!
7. Music Therapy
Perhaps nothing can teleport us back into a time and place quite like music. That’s why the use of music therapy has grown popular in natural mental health treatments.
Now, before we begin, studies do show that music can hurt learning and memory recall. Actively listening to music while being asked questions can prove distracting.
Instead, music therapy can be used to tend to your emotional side. In music therapy sessions, you are left to listen to a song. A therapist might examine your reactions. However, the session will mainly be you and the music.
After, you might be quizzed about how you felt a few songs back. You might be prompted to recite a lyric or two from that song.
Perhaps you might be asked how you’re feeling immediately following a song that the therapist knows means something to you. This type of exercise is very useful for those with dementia.
8. Yoga and Meditation
Besides sleep, meditation is a great way to consolidate new information. While you’re not in a sleep state, you are very relaxed.
Your hippocampus doesn’t discriminate. It uses this time to get some work done and starts preparing that nighttime recap a little early!
Studies suggest that mindfulness meditation can help maintain brain cell growth in the hippocampus. In turn, you will improve your memory naturally.
Meditation isn’t just a memory booster; it’s a mood booster. It helps silence the anxious thoughts in your head. Then, you will be less prone to depression and memory loss.
Starting to meditate can be challenging, especially for those with anxious and wandering minds. Consider following a guided meditation until you get the hang of things. You can probably even find a few meditation videos that include ways to improve memory.
9. Change Your Diet
Diet plays a significant role in memory loss. Perhaps, it’s the most influential aspect of depression, anxiety and memory loss issues. Even worse, it’s the easiest for us to control.
Much of the Western Diet is rich in processed foods, artificial ingredients, and refined sugars. All of these ingredients are conducive to inflammation.
When you are continually chowing down on inflammatory foods, it creates chronic inflammation. Eventually, that inflammation can travel and fester in the brain. Inevitably, these inflammatory biomarkers will destroy grey matter. Ultimately, chronic inflammation caused by poor dietary habits will result in memory loss.
Sweets aren’t the only thing clogging up our memory banks. We are eating too many saturated fats. Fats are essential for creating brain tissue.
However, we consume too many omega-6 fatty acids.
Omega-6s are usually present in:
- Vegetable Oils
- Animal Fat
- Baked Goods
- Peanut Butter
Instead of so many omega-6 fatty acids, we should be consuming more omega-3s. Our ancestors evolved with an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 1:1. Currently, we’re at 20:1. We need to reclaim that balance.
One meta-analysis confirmed that an adequate omega-6 to omega-3 balance could preserve the integrity of the fornix. The fornix is a group of nerves located in the middle of the brain.
These nerve fibers are responsible for electrical currents that promote memory. The fornix is usually the first area of the brain compromised when a person develops Alzheimer’s Disease.
The researchers noted that the most beneficial fatty acids for brain health are omega-3s. Studies have found that omega-3 fatty acids contain the amino acids our brains need to build new cells.
Additionally, omega-3s exhibit anti-inflammatory properties. So, they can help distinguish problems that are causing grey matter in the brain to get destroyed.
The best omega-3-rich foods that improve memory include:
- Wild-Caught Fish
- Fruit Oils
- Leafy Greens
In the meta-analysis, experts noted, “Most of the research that looks at these fats in health and healthy aging focuses on the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, but those come from fish and fish oil, and most people in the Western Hemisphere don’t eat enough of those to really see the benefits.”
Therefore, you must use a high-quality supplement to ensure your brain is getting the omega-3s it needs. The most effective memory booster is Tranquility Labs’ CogniDHA™ High DHA Omega 3 Fish Oil. This all-natural formula contains 84% pure omega-3s.
It is specifically optimized to promote DHA production. As the study mentioned earlier, DHA is essential in healthy aging. This formula further enhances the absorption of this critical fatty acid by maintaining the omegas as triglycerides. Our body naturally metabolizes triglycerides. Therefore, CogniDHA™ delivers these memory-boosting benefits the way nature intended it to be.
If you follow a plant-based lifestyle, you can still get memory-boosting benefits with Tranquility Labs’ Olive Leaf Extract with Oleuropein. This vegan-friendly formula is booming with omega-3 fatty acids. Plus, it contains other useful compounds that serve as precursors for DHA and EPA.
Also, this vegetarian-friendly brain supplement is enriched with oleuropein. This compound is abundant in olive oil and has been linked to longevity experienced by following a Mediterranean Diet. Oleuropein has potent antioxidant activity, which can help preserve brain cells destroyed by poor diet.
Make Memory Boosting Part of Your Routine
We are in this for the long haul. Memory loss doesn’t happen overnight. So, learning how to improve memory might take some time, too.
Don’t get discouraged! Each time you work at strengthening your memory, you create new pathways. The more new experiences and information you acquire, the more plastic your mind will be.
Along the way, you might slip and stumble. Don’t kick yourself. You want to lessen stress as much as possible. Remember, anxiety, depression and memory loss go hand-in-hand. Try to take care of each individually to better the whole. Nothing provides a better memory booster than a clear mind!
- Anxiety, depression, and memory loss all promote each other
- There are many free apps and memory improvement games out there
- Eat foods that improve memory and supplement with omega-3 fatty acids