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Understand Your Brain to Improve Your Memory

This little brain chemical is to blame for your memory's decline.

Ⓒ Image by Unsplash

There are two types of memory: short-term memory and long-term memory. Working memory, or short-term memory, is like your brain's scratchpad. It occurs when your brain momentarily retains information before discarding it or moving it to long-term memory, such as recalling what you want to order for lunch before phoning the takeout business. Your brain may let go of that information after your food has been delivered and eaten. Long-term memories are those that you keep on for a few days or many years, such as learning to ride a bike or having the first supper with the first person you fell in love with.

Everything started with tiny blunders. You conveniently justified yourself as "senior minutes." You forgot to bring your keys. You called someone a derogatory name. The term you were looking for was just out of reach of your thoughts, but you couldn't quite grasp it. You don't feel any more established, yet you do notice yourself changing. Scientists agree that this might be a sign of something more real.

We all know elderly people who appear to be immune to this mental degeneration. These alleged superagers retain high intelligence far into their later years. Researchers have proven that superagers have higher levels of acetylcholine in their brains. As a result, their psyches have more grounded and diverse brain associations. This creates the ideal environment for a steel-trap memory. Unfortunately, the bulk of us lose acetylcholine levels as we age, especially beyond the age of 45.

However, our age is also to blame. Your mind, like a muscle, need constant exercise to stay in form. Today's culture forbids us from engaging in basic mental activities.

Modern invention prevents critical activity to certain areas from reaching our brains in two ways, causing them to degrade over time. We are constantly bombarded with many sources of stimulation that disrupt our cholinergic growth. Similarly, we no longer need to remember phone numbers, places, dates, or even important routes since our phones have replaced our memories. Both of these factors educate your brain to ignore and put you at risk for the onset of mental degeneration.

According to Sean Kang, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Education at Dartmouth College, whose research focuses on the cognitive psychology of learning and memory, we remember things because they either stand out, relate to and can easily be integrated into our existing knowledge base, or it's something we retrieve, recount, or use repeatedly over time. "The ordinary layman learning nuclear physics for the first time, for example, will most likely struggle to recall that information." This is because he or she is unlikely to have prior knowledge to tie new information to.

When you learn, your brain undergoes significant changes, including the formation of new connections between neurons. This is known as neuroplasticity. The ability of your brain to alter, that is, to form, strengthen, weaken, or break down connections between neurons. These connections get stronger as you practice. Messages (nerve impulses) are sent faster and more efficiently as your connections improve.

It's tough to go through a forest without a trail since you have to condense and push the plants and branches out of the way to cut your way through. However, the more you utilize the same track, the easier and more convenient it gets. When you stop utilizing the route, the foliage grows back and the trail eventually disappears. This is quite similar to what occurs in your brain when you stop doing something—when you stop doing something, the connections between your neurons weaken and can eventually be disassembled or pruned. 

Also, READ | Body and Mind

In good news, recent research suggests that you don't have to give up your cell phone, cancel your Hotstar subscription, or quit your job to get back to some point in the past on age-related mental decline. A group of experts at a GMP-certified research facility in New York identified five mixes that may generally restore optimal levels of acetylcholine.

Alpha GPC, Huperzine A, Bacopa Monnieri, Lion's Mane Mushroom, and Ginkgo Biloba are among them. Even better, as clinically substantiated by logical investigation, these natural mixes do not include colourful, potentially harmful synthetic substances derived from marine life.

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The scientific evidence for meditation's mental health benefits continues to mount. Meditation has been shown in studies to aid with a wide range of diseases, including depression, anxiety, chronic pain, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Meditation can also help you increase your attention, concentration, creativity, memory, learning, and reasoning abilities.


Meditation performs its "magic" by altering the brain itself. Regular meditators exhibit greater activity in the left prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain associated with feelings of joy and tranquilly, according to brain imaging. Meditation also thickens the cerebral cortex and promotes more connections between brain cells, which improves mental sharpness and recall capacity.

"We can uncover certain simple and universal truths via personal experimentation and observation." The mind directs the body, and the body responds to the mind. What we do has an effect on the subconscious mind, which in turn impacts the conscious mind and its reactions."

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