For centuries, Scientists have been baffled by the mystery of the brain and the intricacies of its power. Memory has been by far the most elusive of human attributes. The study of human memory dates back to Aristotle’s time, more than 2000 years ago.
How would you describe your memory?
Something that lets you down from time to time or something that totally relies on mobile reminders. Ever wondered how any information gets stored in the brain? How do we recall it at will or otherwise?
TYPES OF MEMORY
Long-term memory stays for minutes or years. This includes declarative memory (facts and events) and procedural memory (unconscious memory of skills and how to do things). Declarative memory may be episodic (memory of experiences and specific events) or semantic (memory of facts, meaning and concepts).
Short term memory holds five to six items at a time and lasts for about a minute.
Sensory memory is the shortest and retains impressions of sensory information for about 200 to 500 milliseconds. All information is received by the sense and is stored as short term memory before it reaches the conscious mind.
KEY TO MEMORY
All experiences are produced by neurons, which fire in response to what we see, hear, touch, smell, taste and feel. Experiences become memories because the neurons that produce the experience form connections with one another.
Each time an event is recalled, the neural firing pattern is slightly changed and this new memory overwrites the previous one. In a sense, memories are ‘memories of memories’, or infinite versions.
Be socially active: healthy relationship stimulates our brain cells.
Laugh: it activates brain areas vital to learning and creativity.
Keep everything in its place: if you keep important things like keys in the same place, you will never forget it.
Make notes: when you find it difficult it to remember, just write it down.
Use sensory data: use auditory or visual sense to remember a person or experience.
Use of mnemonics is also effective.
Stay hydrated: drink six to eight glasses of water a day:
Eat right: your brain needs a lot of fuel, mainly the omega-3 fatty acids found in walnuts, pumpkins and soya beans. A diet consisting of green vegetables, fruits and whole grains is good for memory.
Meditate: it improves focus, concentration, creativity, learning and reasoning skills. It is believed to encourage connections between neurons which increase mental sharpness.
Sleep: sleeping on our problems is an efficient way to solve them. During sleep, our brain’s memory centers consolidate recall for more effective memory. Sleeping well may lower risk of cognitive decline.
Aerobic exercise: it gets the heart pumping more blood to the brain, which appears to reverse cellular deterioration associated with ageing. It also stimulates growth of new synapses (the connection site between neurons) and makes brain cells more responsive to external stimuli.