By Maria Júlia Marques in UOL
Time goes by and forgetting information starts to become more and more normal. Where did you put your car key, what day did you call a doctor, which way to a colleague’s house…
Well, getting more forgetful as we get older is something that we will all face, it is our brain getting older. But American scientist Paul Li can help to postpone the mind blanks.
The professor of cognitive sciences at the American universities of Berkeley and Stanford – known as a neuroscience guru in Silicon Valley, a technological hub in California, where companies like Google and Facebook are located – came to São Paulo for a meeting organized by Wish International Events Management, which promotes events on content solutions for corporate managers.
“Memory and learning are the same. You only learn when you remember the information and you remember when you learned the meaning. There is no medicine, so we have to preserve memories and stimulate the brain. Without memory we are nothing,” said Li at the time. Below, the expert shared ten tips for you to keep your memory sharp.
1. Laugh or speak loudly
It is proven that people remember better when trying to make connections between the facts presented and information they already had before. Talking out loud, associating a theme with an old story or even laughing at the situation creates greater marks of the moments and makes them easier to remember.
2. Don’t stop learning
The more we learn, the more connections we create and the smarter we get. So, it is important to always try to learn new things, whatever it is. To get an idea of the efficiency, bilingual people postpone the onset of Alzheimer’s, according to Li.
3. Have friends
Even if you are someone who doesn’t like to open up, you have to agree that we are sociable animals. We need to exchange with other human beings to learn more and create more memories. It is not for nothing that when punishing someone, the common thing is to leave them alone, the idea is that when we are alone for a long time we go crazy. We need interaction for the brain to function better.
4. Be “good vibes”
Focus on positivity and always try to see the glass as half full. The teacher explains that positive information is processed in more efficient ways than negative information, facilitating remembering. Also, when you want to remember something that has escaped your mind try to remember what it was like to be in contact with the information. Reliving feelings is a suggestion for recovering memory.
5. Work out the brain
You have to put your brain to think and stay in shape. You could pester your friend who spent hours with a crossword puzzle and didn’t update Instagram, but exercise is a good way to force your mind and memory. Another option for those who are closer to numbers is sudoku.
6. Love these foods
To continue with elephant memory, it is important to choose healthy foods. The best choices, according to Li, are fish, fruits (mainly berries), vegetables, dark chocolate (rich in flavonoids that help the brain even in cases of stroke) and caffeine (which increases blood circulation in the brain). But all in moderation, please.
7. Play the scene
Is it difficult to remember any information? Go to the place where you went to learn that. The professor stated that people who learn a list of words under water, for example, will remember the information better when they dive. Or, students who take classes while they smell cinnamon do better on tests when they smell cinnamon. It is that old story of you forgetting your keys, not finding them in your purse and going to the kitchen, when you get there you have a click that you left them next to the refrigerator, returning to the place where the loss occurred helps to remember.
8. Move your body
Adults who remain physically active have larger hippocampi than those who are sedentary. The hippocampus is an area of the brain located near the ears that works by keeping short-term memories and turning them into long-term memories. According to Li, having a large hippocampus is related to better memory performance. “But you need to enjoy the activity, studies show that working out is not beneficial if you don’t enjoy it” said Li. In addition, our brain needs glucose and oxygen to function well and by exercising we increase blood circulation, responsible for taking these items to our head.
9. Relax and chill
It is difficult to remain calm and not stress in the middle of a maddening routine of work, traffic and other responsibilities. However, relaxing can benefit your brain. It turns out that cortisol, a hormone that the body releases in stressful situations, is capable of killing neurons. Without neurons you make fewer connections and will have a harder time learning or remembering. A good exercise to find peace and keep neurons alive? Meditate.
10. Sleep well
You already know that sleeping seven to eight hours a night is healthier, so plan to do it. A study presented by Li, done with students from California, showed that those who had better nights of sleep had better grades. Can’t sleep eight hours with your routine? The professor says that naps have the same beneficial effect, as long as they last about ten minutes and are taken before 3 pm, so as not to interfere with night sleep.
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