5 Ways to Improve Memory and Mental Agility

· January 9, 2016
Do you feel like your memory is fading? Does your mental agility need a hand? Say no more! Keep reading to discover five ways to improve memory and mental agility.

Have you forgotten where you put your cell phone charger? Forgotten an important appointment? Have you also noticed that you’re losing a little mental agility? That you’re no longer as creative as before? Don’t worry – the brain is like a muscle that you can strengthen with a little daily exercise.

We’ll explain the best techniques to strengthen your memory and mental agility in this article. You could see how much of a difference this makes every day.

1. Sharpen your mental agility: avoid routine

Woman and young girl dancing

Indeed, one of the worst enemies of your memory and mental agility is doing the same thing day after day. Work, chores, shopping, doing this, doing that… Little by little, you can fall into a routine that creates a kind of sensory deprivation. In other words, your brain has very little to no stimuli to activate it.

Monotony and daily routines that never change reduce your creativity. They also don’t give you new situations from which to learn, experiment, and enjoy. Thus, it’s vital that you do something different each day in whatever moment you can.

Maybe even today you can do a few yoga exercises when you get home. Tomorrow, go for a walk, and on another day go to a dance class. Do whatever you can imagine but remember to break your routine.

Read more: The 5 Best Memory Exercises

2. Concentrate on the here and now

Mental agility

Another common problem is thinking of a thousand other things while trying to do something else. It’s possible that while you’re making dinner your mind is reviewing your day. So, you think about the conversations, problems, things you’ll do tomorrow, and your obligations for the next day.

However, do you really know what’s happening? You’re actually losing your present, your “here and now!” As such, you don’t realize whether you’ve turned off the stove, or whether you were with a friend at some point. So, if you don’t focus on what you’re doing at the moment, your brain will wander in a vague cloud without ever focusing its attention. Take the time to enjoy the present!

3. Go for a walk and relax your mind

Woman's legs walking on path

Further, walking can become your daily vitamin, natural relaxant,  and “miracle” antidepressant. In addition, walking is a wonderful way to sharpen your memory and mental agility since it roots you in the present. This, in turn, makes you aware of your body, of your feet that touch the ground, and of your heart whose rate is increasing.

At the same time, walking helps relieve tension and releases burdens. As a result, your brain is freer to think, imagine, create, etc. Why not start putting this into practice?

4. Say yes to laughing and no to obsessive thoughts

There are some who have the habit of constantly feeding themselves negative thoughts. “I won’t be able to with this,” “I am a mess; I always forget things,” “I can’t rely on my short-term memory,” “I always forget and stick my foot in my mouth.”

What’s more, these negative thoughts sometimes come from those around you. The very same people who make sure to remind you, quite effectively, that you’re forgetful. And there’s nothing worse than that. If you listen to their ideas, you’ll only reinforce your short-term memory and lower your self-esteem.

Don’t listen to this. Restrain the current of negative thoughts in your brain to see life through a good sense of humor. In addition, learn to laugh and see the bright side of things. Sometimes it’s difficult, but laughing relieves tension and lessens stress. Moreover, a brain free from tension can better recall memories and is more agile.

Discover: Ruminating Thoughts Generate Anxiety

5. Be creative: knit, write, dance, draw

Finally, it’s important that you never lose the ability to learn new things. Learning improves your memory and mental agility, in addition to generating positive emotions and breaking out of your routine.

How can you learn new things? You don’t have to sign up for a university class. Life is full of big and little things from which you can learn. Further, a lot of them won’t cost you any money, believe it or not. You only need your own self-will and one or two hours a day to practice.

Want a few easy examples?

  • Knit or crochet. This ancient exercise contains incredible benefits for your physical and mental health. You’ll develop creativity, alleviate stress, foster social relationships by sharing techniques, focus your attention, and reach goals. We encourage you to crochet or knit, you’ll love it.
  • Read or write. There are a thousand books and new worlds to discover. In addition, they’ll help you to have more mental agility and will improve your memory. It’s like providing “fuel” for the brain and it will help keep you young, with your cognitive processes in good shape.
  • Take advantage of the internet. The web is an ocean of possibilities when it comes to learning. You can use it to discover interesting methods to improve your memory. Also, there are games and programs that are very useful and effective that are intended for improving memory and mental agility. Don’t hesitate to try them!
  • Blumenthal, J. A., Smith, P. J., & Hoffman, B. M. (2012). Is Exercise a Viable Treatment for Depression? ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal. https://doi.org/10.1249/01.FIT.0000416000.09526.eb
  • Hernandez, S. S. S., Coelho, F. G. M., Gobbi, S., & Stella, F. (2010). Efeitos de um programa de atividade física nas funções cognitivas, equilíbrio e risco de quedas em idosos com demência de Alzheimer. Revista Brasileira de Fisioterapia. https://doi.org/10.1590/S1413-35552010000100011
  • Riley, J., Corkhill, B., & Morris, C. (2013). The benefits of knitting for personal and social wellbeing in adulthood: Findings from an international survey. British Journal of Occupational Therapy. https://doi.org/10.4276/030802213X13603244419077