The human memory is a powerful and mysterious force. Scents and sounds can evoke visions of the past or allow us to recall a loved one. Losing your memory — struggling to recall names or stumbling over well-known telephone numbers — can be distressing. Here are a number of tips to keep your memory healthy and in top shape.

It’s a well known fact that stress is hard on a person’s body, but it is also very hard on a person’s memory. Chronic stress is detrimental to brain cells as it destroys them as well as the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that retrieves old memories as well as makes new ones. Practicing stress reducing techniques are vital in maintaining a good memory.

A useful strategy when tasked with the memory of new information is to restructure and reorganize the information. The simplest way to do this is to take the information and create a summary outline in a notebook or on your computer. This works for two reasons. It is easier to remember something that you have worked with, and the process also naturally reorders the information in a way that is easier for you to remember.

Help protect your memory for years to come by making sure you are getting plenty of vitamin B-12 in your diet. Studies have linked low levels of B-12 to dementia and poor cognitive function. Food sources rich in B-12 include liver, eggs, fish, poultry, meat and milk products. If you don’t eat a lot of meat, you may need to take a daily B-12 supplement to help prevent deficiency.

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To improve your memory you need to have fun and laugh a lot. Your memory needs healthy fun besides training. Struggling for 6 hours with the latest Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle might seem to enhance memory functions, but in most cases socializing with friends, going to the movies or enjoying a play at the local theatre helps much more.

When you are trying to commit something to memory, it’s important to stay in the current moment as much as you possibly can. Try to avoid the urge to focus on the past or the future as you are learning. Make every effort to focus your attention on the material at hand, and you will retain it better.

Here’s a surprising fact about the relationship between memory and alcohol- moderate drinking can actually improve memory and prevent Alzheimer’s! Studies have shown that moderate drinking (defined as drinking two glasses of wine or less per day) can improve cognitive function overall and helps the drinkers score better on memory tests.

One tip for helping to remember things is to associate words and phrases with images. For example, let’s say you have to do something at three o’clock. It’s difficult to remember just three, but if you associate the memory with the three little pigs, you’re more likely to remember what time it was that you had something to do.

When trying to remember something, it is important to relax. Memorization of information is better when one takes the needed time to store and recall concepts. As you age, you will find that it will take a bit more time to both cement information in your memory and to recall those memories. If you cannot recall something immediately, do not panic since that will make it even harder to recall. Memory always works better when one is relaxed and well-rested.

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Keep your self organized. It is important that you don’t waste your time trying to remember simple things, like where you put your car keys. Just make sure to keep them in the same spot every day until it becomes habbit. Being organized will actually work to enhance your memory.

If someone you know is suffering from Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, or another illness that effects their memory, try showing them pleasant pictures from the past. By looking at pleasant memories, the memory of these patients may improve. Be sure not to bring up unpleasant memories as this could cause them a setback.

Did you know that, even late in life, you can grow new brain cells within the memory center of your brain? Recent research has revealed that high-level aerobic exercise, such as running and bicycling, actually stimulates the growth of new brain neurons within the brain’s hippocampus. If you want to have a better memory, adding more aerobic exercise to your daily activities will help.

Studies have shown that Omega-3 and other nutritional supplements found in fish can increase memory and brain cell development. For this reason, a diet rich in fish and products laced with Omega-3 can help you improve your abilities of reasoning and recall. Make sure your diet is consistent with overall brain health, and try not to ignore fish on the menu.

One way to improve memory is by building a “memory tree.” Concentrate initially on the primary gist of a large subject before fretting over details. Off of that, let the details come into focus (these are the branches). The smaller details and examples represent the leaves to each branch. Organizing the information, and visualizing it in your mind, is very helpful.

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Many people use visualization to remember information. Try visualizing what you wish to remember, create mind pictures, draw diagrams or charts to aid in remembering information in textbooks or during lectures at school. The mind is very effective in remembering visual details and recalling images, even images long-forgotten.

Rehearse the information you need to memorize. You should not learn it by heart and recite it, but learn it, digest it and rephrase it. Every time you rehearse the information you need to remember, you are ingraining it into your long term memory. Use your own words to rephrase the information.

As you’ve read in this article, keeping your memory healthy and strong is easy and can be fun! Use these tips to keep your mind sharp and enjoy the benefits of always having the name you need on the tip of your tongue, being able to find your keys, and remembering the milk!