The Grey Matter

In our world of information explosion, knowledge is considered a precious possession and one of the greatest achievements to aspire for. From accomplishing daily personal tasks to surviving the tough competition in our schools or job-place, you need a healthy brain. Your memory has a value. Sharp memory, however, is not a one-day affair, a result of some ancient magic charm. Your brain is connected to your senses, and constantly captures images of your experiences and your understanding of those experiences. They remained stored there, till you feel the need to pull it out. Here is where we stumble. Imagine yourself surrounded by files, looking for a particular document among those files. Your mind works exactly like that. When you try to recollect something, it goes among the piles of information, and pulls out the one you need. Sometimes, the process becomes lengthy and interrupted, and you feel like you have the needed information on your brain somewhere, but not on the “tip of your tongue’”. Do you identify with that? See, now you are nodding.

Thankfully, there are lots of things you can do to improve your memory and mental performance. Here are some of them:

  • Exercise: When your body exercises, your brain too exercises. Your brain is just like any other muscle in your body that stimulates with use. The benefits of exercise, especially aerobic exercise, are immense on your body. It increases the heart rate, which then increases supply of oxygen to your brain. This provides a nourishing environment for the growth of brain cells. Physical, along with mental exercises boost your cognitive functions.
  • Sleep: Believe it or not, sleep deprivation is a recipe for brain disaster. A team of researchers both in US and China suggested that “even intense training could not make up for lost sleep.” During the deepest stages of sleep, the brain “replays” the activity from earlier in the day, and also washes away waste toxins built up during the day. With lack of sleep, your brain becomes foggy, impairing your ability to focus and learn efficiently.
  • Socialise: “No man is an island,” said John Donne. Meaningful relationships with friends and social interactions may be the best exercises for brain. A study from Harvard School of Public Health revealed that people with the most active social lives had the slowest rate of memory decline. Socialising may not be difficult with our Internet-savvy generation, but we are talking about fellowship with humans made of real flesh and blood. Laugh with friends, it is the best medicine, even for your brain.
  • Have Brain-boosting Diet: When it comes to brain, what you eat and what you don’t, both are important. Studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids are particularly beneficial for the health of brain. Cold-water fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, herrings, and halibut are especially rich source of omega-3. If you are not a seafood lover, consider other sources like walnut, spinach, broccoli, pumpkin seeds, and soybeans. Avoid diets high in saturate fat that increase the risk of dementia. Eat more fruits and vegetables. They are packed with antioxidant, which protect your brain cells from damage. Regular consumption of green tea, which contains polyphenols, another powerful antioxidant, may enhance your memory and mental sharpness.

Workout for Brain: Don’t settle for tasks that require minimal mental effort. Stretch yourself. Explore new places, read new books, use different routes to your home. Try out activities that are new, fun and challenging. Stimulate your brain by visualising an image or by making an acronym or rhyming words to remember an idea. Repeat the idea you want to learn over and over again by taking notes or paraphrasing it in your mind.

When God gave Moses the law, he was to “write it down”. The law was to be “recited” (Ex. 17:14), and even to be meditated upon “day and night” (Jos.1:8). Even the tassels on their garment were to “remind” them of the commandments of the Lord (Num. 15:39). These were not merely learning devices, but point to the fact that we become what we meditate upon or think about. The wisest man in the world once said, “The memory of the righteous is a blessing” (Prov. 10:7).

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