As we grow older, our memories naturally get a little less quickly. If you’ve caught yourself calling someone the wrong name, or forgetting why you walked into a room a little more often lately, then you’re probably not alone. Although there’s no need to panic, it never hurts to take preventative action. Keeping your memory sharp as you age can help you stay mentally well much later into life and it isn’t that difficult to do it. We’ve pulled together some simple tips that will help your brain stay in tip-top shape right into your twilight years.
Learn a new game
Learning a new game is a great way to boost your brainpower. For those living alone, choosing a game that you can play online is a good place to start, that way you’ll always have a willing partner of a similar level to you. There are lots of online poker rooms in the US that will allow you to play against real people to improve your skills and hopefully boost your memory a little too. Card games are a good place to start because they’re versatile and once you’ve mastered one variation, you can just move on to the next. If you prefer then you could try something like chequers or chess instead. All of these games require you to think logically, learn a new set of rules and if you play against someone, they’ll increase your social interaction which is really important in keeping your brain young.
Try a little home improvement
Although sprucing up the house might not seem like the most natural step towards a better memory, there is growing evidence that it can really help. Humans are designed to work with our hands, yet many of us now spend our whole working lives behind a computer. Touching different materials, using our muscles and having a finished product to look at at the end of a day’s work are all serotonin boosters. Serotonin makes us feel happy and fulfilled and happy brains tend to be healthy ones. If you’re struggling for something to do with your afternoon then hang those pictures, paint the spare room, or replace the felt on the shed roof. Your brain will thank you for all that extra serotonin and so might your partner, who’s been trying to get those odd jobs done for years.
Take a meditation break
If you really want to focus hard on improving your mental health and memory, then there’s no better way of starting than with some meditation. It can be difficult for people to immediately sink into meditation, so something like a guided session is a good place to begin. If you can’t sit still and focus for long enough then you could try a mindfulness walk, or even a yoga class to start to help you get more in touch with your inner self. Give it time and try to build it into your daily routine. You’ll only need to do five minutes or so each day before you start noticing it becoming second nature.
Alicia Saville did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She is interested in mental health and well-being.