It wasn’t so long ago that the scientific community thought the brain is hard-wired and fixed once a certain period of time has passed. If you are old and you suffer from memory loss, then it’s a normal "process of aging", they thought.
It wasn’t until 1998 that neuroscientists found out the brain’s capability to grow new neurons. It wasn’t until then did the scientific community started to do research on how to improve the health of your brain. In this article, I will introduce you 5 steps you can take right now to improve your memory, learning capability and increase your attention span.
Step 1: Consume a healthy diet. Your brain requires the necessary nutrients to work optimally and grow new cells. Without the most fundamental building blocks, it would, like any other parts of your body, work sub-optimally.
This is why most people reported increased alertness just by consuming more vegetables. Certain vitamin, such as B12, is almost exclusively for brain usage. The lack of this vitamin, can cause psychosis and mania.
Step 2: Just like any other parts of your body, your brain requires c challenge to grow and develop. Without a challenge, it will NOT stay the same. It will degenerate, instead.
This is why the older generation often lose their memory and experience multiple cognitive problems – most of them have not challenge themselves cognitively on a daily basis for the past 30 years. Thus the brain stayed the same – but due to the natural process of oxidation, brain cells die off.
No new growth plus cell dying equals lowered mental functions.
Step 3: On the other hand, some people work too hard – although most of these people did not learn anything new in the process, but instead performed what they already mastered over and over again.
Although your brain require a challenge, it also requires time to consolidate what it has learned. Your brain never rests – not even when you sleep. When you sleep, it consolidates what you’ve learned and it is often at this time that long term memories are formed.
This process allows your brain to "shelf" what it has learned and be ready for what you’ll be learning tomorrow. Thus people who lack sleep performed poorer in memory tests and generally has shorter attention span.
Step 4: Other human beings are the most unpredictable things you will be encountering in your life (most other stuff are predictable), and this makes them a great challenge for your brain.
Studies have shown that people who remain socially active have higher brain functions and maintain their memory will into old age. Maintaining a relationship – even if it’s with a pet, keeps your brain active and thus stimulates new growth.
Step 5: When you’re under stress, your body releases a chemical called cortisol. Cortisol, in turn, kills brain cells. Plus, cortisol is just one of the many other harmful chemicals your brain releases when you’re under stress.
Thus practices such as meditation, take a nap and deep breathing are all beneficial for your brain. The less stress you’re under, the better your brain will function.