You know what’s just the worst? One of the most frustrating situations you can find yourself in? It’s when you know when you’re forgetting something. Whether it’s the word on the tip of your tongue or trying to figure out the last thing you were supposed to do before leaving work, forgetting things can be just pure aggravation. Luckily, there are a few simple life changes you can make that will improve your memory and other brain functions without having to take that funky pill from that Bradley Cooper movie they made into a TV show for some reason. After all, a mind is a terrible thing to waste and with the help of this list, hopefully yours will go on just a bit longer.
It’s been well-established that diet can have a big impact on your memory, but in terms of what foods or vitamins work best, trends tend to come and go. For the last few years, Omega-3 fatty acids have been the go-to for people trying to improve their memory and generally improving brain health. However, those findings have lately been contested by some, such as a 2015 study from Dr. Emily Chew that found that the cognitive skills of her treatment group after five years of regularly taking Omega-3 supplements weren’t significantly different from those in her control group.
What isn’t contested, however, is that you should stay away from overdoing it with carbs and sugar and should be exercising regularly. In addition, many kinds of berries, seeds, and nuts are known to help brain functions.
Learn a New Language
Yeah, yeah, you clicked on this list specifically because it had “Easy” in the title, but the cold hard truth of this world is that nothing is easy, son. The best way to strengthen any muscle is to exercise it, and you exercise your brain by learning new skills. In particular, studies have shown that learning a new language is like steroids for your cognitive skills. Plus, it makes you more employable, more interesting, and you’ll finally know if those guys at your favourite sushi restaurant really are making fun of you behind your back.
See? I told you this list would be easy. Taking a load off and taking a nap can be one of the best things you can do to improve your memory. According to Björn Rasch and Jan Born, “Newer findings characterize sleep as a brain state optimizing memory consolidation, in opposition to the waking brain being optimized for encoding of memories.” Basically, for all you who don’t speak boring, Rasch and Born are saying that sleep is necessary for all that short-term information you intake in your waking hours to get hardwired into your brain and become long-term so that you don’t have to tattoo your grocery list to your chest like the dude from Memento.
Play Memory Games
Remember when you were a kid and you were screwing around on your school’s shitty little Windows 95 computers and they’d have that memory-match game with a bunch of squares and you had to turn them over and match them to win? If you really want to improve your memory, next time you’re bored, try finding a version of that game online instead of a shitty YouTube video of some dumbass setting a body part on fire. Memory games and brainteasers are a great way to keep the old noodle sharp. If learning a skill is pulling weights for your brain, simple games like these are the equivalent of hand grippers. If you refuse to play anything that doesn’t require an i7 processor and sixteen gigs of RAM, at least one study has shown that playing 3D videogames can increase memory performance up to 12 per cent.
This one is going to sound monumentally stupid, but if you really want to learn information quickly, one of the best ways to make sure it sticks into your head is to turn it into a song. Mnemonic devices like acronyms or rhymes have been used for centuries to teach kids lessons. Why do you think every children’s show has singing in it? Even as an adult, chances are you can’t recite the alphabet except in a stupid sing-song way because that’s how Barney taught you while your parents were fighting in the kitchen, but I digress. So next time you absolutely need to remember something, get rhyming.