Ever walk into a room and forget why you went there in the first place? Go crazy looking for your keys to find they were in your hand the whole time? Forget the name of an important acquaintance or client? Don’t hit the panic button—take a deep breath and relax. There may be a simple explanation for this phenomenon. In the hustle and rush of our everyday lives, many factors contribute to the occasional brain lapse. But these six simple life hacks can remedy that:
1. Brain Training
You exercise to stay in physical shape—and it is just as important to “workout” your brain. Brain training helps sharpen vital cognitive skills such as decision making, mental processing and, most importantly, memory. A few simple things can give your brain a good workout. For instance, try challenging games such as Sudoku, chess and word games (text twist, word jumble and crossword puzzles, to name a few). You can find them on almost any electronic device—or even that section of the newspaper that always seems to find its way to the recycling bin first.
2. Make a Fist
Sounds odd, but studies show that making a fist can significantly help improve your ability to process and keep information—and research finds it highly effective.
Just making a fist temporarily alters brain functions. If you forgot something—even what your were just going to say—clench your fist or squeeze a stress ball for 45 seconds with your dominant hand—this simple act really works.
3. Visual Imagery
Visual imagery or mnemonic devices are great tools to help jump start the memory. These tools, be it visual aids or word tricks, help you hold on to the information you want to keep.
Sleep is vitally important for brains to function. Too little sleep does cause memory to slip. That eight-hour rule is not something to ignore. Adequate sleep only improves memory, it also sharpens critical thinking skills.
5. Physical Activity
One of the best life hacks for memory: Exercise. In fact, it’s essential for physical and mental health. Physical activity increases blood flow to the brain, which then increases oxygen to the brain. The more blood and oxygen the brain gets the more it improves new cell turnover—positively impacting your memory.
What you eat is not just good for overall health, but for your brain too. According to Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Deana Gunn, eating a diet rich in Omega 3 fatty acids—from foods including avocados, olive and coconut oils, grass-fed beef, walnuts and flax seed—boosts brain function. Hydration is also key. Gunn says, “Our bodies are mostly made up of water, and our brains are 75% water. Even a 2% dip of water in our bodies can contribute to brain fog.” So, the healthy verdict: Drink up!