Tips for Improving Your Memory

Written by Stephanie James

You might start forgetting things as you grow older. It can be very frustrating because it reduces your level of productivity during the day. Fortunately, it is possible to change your situation.

With the brain’s neural plasticity and synaptic pruning, you may strengthen the necessary neural connections. This means that you can improve your cognitive skills and memory even as you age.

Below are natural and simple ways that you can use to do it.

Practice Mindfulness Meditation

Meditation comes with extensive benefits that include enhancing one’s memory. Whenever you meditate, your brain’s cerebral cortex thickens because blood flow to the region increases. Consequently, it improves your learning and concentration abilities; enabling you to remember important things more often.

For starters, here are some meditation tips that can help you get better at it:

  • Create time to meditate
  • Find a calm meditation space
  • Close your eyes and detach from your thoughts
  • Make it a routine

Make Time for Exercise

Physical activities are essential not only for maintaining a healthy body weight but also for your mental health. Exercising increases the amount of oxygen in your brain and strengthens the effects of useful brain chemicals like acetylcholine. It also facilitates neuroplasticity. Therefore, heading to the gym more often or jogging in the morning can help to improve your memory.

The following are some efficient ways to make sure that you don’t skip your physical exercise:

  • Always drink water to stay hydrated
  • Exercise whenever you feel ready
  • Look for an exercising partner or trainer
  • Set your fitness goals

Cut Back on Alcohol

Minimizing the amount of alcohol that you drink can improve your memory. Research shows that drinking a lot of it comes with neurotoxic effects on your brain. It might even destroy the hippocampus; the brain’s part that is involved in learning and creating new memories. Therefore, refrain from excessive alcohol consumption to maintain a healthy brain and prevent forgetfulness.

Are you looking for ways to avoid going to your favorite bar every day? Here are some basics:

  • Keep yourself busy whenever the urge to drink kicks in
  • Stop keeping alcohol in your room/house
  • Avoid friends who encourage you to drink
  • Set a limit on the amount of alcohol you consume weekly

Get on a Regular Sleep Schedule

Getting adequate sleep is also a practical tip for improving your memory. It allows for memory consolidation. Hence, your short-term memories become stronger, and you can remember them for long. People who don’t sleep well have poor memories. To avoid being one of them, you can:

  • Try to have consistent sleeping and waking times
  • Avoid consuming a lot of caffeine especially later in the day
  • Stop having long daytime naps
  • Refrain from eating late at night
  • Shower before you sleep

Eat More Fruit; Berries are Highly Recommended

According to a study done by Harvard researchers, eating blueberries and strawberries prevents memory loss that comes with aging. A blueberry is rich in flavonoids which strengthen your brain pathways. They have even been recommended for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and those who want to lower their risk of dementia.

Be Mindful of the Level of Sugar Intake

Poor memory has been associated with taking a lot of sugary foods. Eating a lot of sugar is known to worsen conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. This is because it reduces your brain volume; lowering your capability to store short-term memories. To boost your memory, avoid taking foods and drinks with a great deal of sugar.

Regardless of your age, it’s always a good idea to get ahead of memory loss and work on ways to improve it! Don’t remember what you had for breakfast yesterday? The tips that we have provided above can help your memory improve and ultimately improve multiple areas of your life. 

What’s Your Mindset About Retirement?

By Marianne Oehser

Your mindset affects every part of your life. That is especially true about retirement. Your attitudes and beliefs about this time of your life will determine whether you see endless possibilities or whether you buy into some of the negative myths. It will affect your health and your happiness.

Most people choose one of two mindsets about retirement: The Euphoric Mindset or the Gloom-and-Doom Mindset

The Euphoric Mindset

As we approach retirement, most of us are ready to say goodbye to the hectic pace and all the stress that goes with most careers. We are ready to downshift a bit and are excited about enjoying our much earned ‘vacation.’

The retirement picture we create in our minds is often the Hollywood version with lots of excitement but not much clarity. It’s filled with images of things we want to do — travel, golf, tennis, boating, or anything else we have dreamed of doing. And, probably the new toys you want, like a boat. For many of us, that is just how retirement starts and it feels pretty euphoric. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Just like any outstanding vacation, it is not a permanent state. It is simply not realistic to expect the euphoria and the newness to last forever – but somehow, we do it anyway. We think that being on vacation for 20 years will continue to have the same excitement that it had in the beginning. But, it doesn’t – it fades.

The problem with a Euphoric Mindset is that it leads to disappointment. The day will come when all the play is not as much fun as it was in the beginning.

This can create a new kind of stress. Retirement no longer fits your Hollywood image and you don’t know what to do about it. You are no longer sure what you want your days and weeks to be like. You probably feel like you are a bit adrift.

That is when it’s time to get serious about building your Happiness Portfolio®. That means designing your new life so that it is balanced and diversified just like your financial portfolio. Research shows that the people who are the happiest in retirement are those who invest time and energy in all aspects of their life — having fulfilling relationships, enjoying social connections, making a contribution in some way, maintaining your health, enjoying leisure activities, growing as a human being in some way, and incorporating spirituality – whatever that means to you.

If you are looking at retirement with a Euphoric Mindset, by all means keep the mindset that this will be the best time of your life but be realistic about the fact that the honeymoon will end and figure out what you want your life to be like when it does.

The Gloom-and-Doom Mindset

The opposite of the euphoric mindset is the gloom-and-doom mindset. The gloom-and-doom mindset looks at retirement as the end of the line. The story it tells you is that all the good things in your life are over and there is nothing more to look forward to. It tells you that you are being put out to pasture because you are useless. It says that everything is downhill from here and focuses on your own mortality.

One of the big problems with such a negative outlook on this act of your life is that it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you are focused on all of the things that are potentially bad about this new phase, you are not likely to see the endless possibilities for how great your life can be now. This kind of thinking can negatively impact your health and lots of research studies have shown that it probably will. It will definitely turn you into a grumpy person and can lead to serious depression.

Of course, there are some legitimate things that are not so wonderful about this phase of your life. You probably don’t have the boundless energy of your youth. You might fear that you will become ‘irrelevant’ and may not keep up with all of the information and technology changes that will certainly evolve. A whole segment of your social life will disappear including the people you interacted with as part of your career. These things are real but you don’t have to let them take you down a rabbit hole you can’t get out of.

Shifting your mindset to a more positive perspective will allow you to look at things differently. Choosing a story that includes the possibility that there are more positive things ahead will shift your mindset and allow you to see ways to deal with the downsides of life after your career.

Staying stuck in either the euphoric or the gloom-and-doom way of looking at retirement will not serve you very well in the long run.

A Third Option

Carl Jung, Ph.D. was a Swiss psychiatrist and founder of Analytical Psychology who had a profound impact on how we see a wide range of areas today. Dr. Jung offers us another way of looking at this stage of life. He talks about the “afternoon of life.” The morning of our life is focused on achieving things – getting an education, building a career, raising a family, acquiring things, becoming someone. Dr. Jung says the “afternoon of life” is not just a “pitiful appendage to life’s morning” and rather than seeing our afternoon as a process of reduction, he says it is a process of expansion.“The afternoon of life is just as full of meaning as the morning; only, its meaning and purpose are different.”                              

This way of looking at the new chapter of your life suggests that there is much to be savored about it. The afternoon just has a different rhythm than the morning. It may be a time for slowing down a bit but it can still be filled with enthusiasm and activity. It is an opportunity to focus on different things than you did in the morning of your life. It is an opportunity to see new and different possibilities for how you invest your time and energy. It is a time to discover the meaning and purpose of your own afternoon.

It’s time to bask in your afternoon sun.

Getting Ready to Retire – How to Ensure You Will Have Enough Money to Make it Happen and Live Comfortably

Written by Veselina Dzhingarova

Retirement is something that many people look forward to, work hard for, and count down the days until it becomes a reality. No longer having to work, spending your days doing whatever it is you feel like doing, and just basically enjoying your time is a goal that many people share. Of course, a happy and financially sound retirement doesn’t just happen by chance. Instead, it takes plenty of advanced planning, saving, and preparing.

So, as you grow closer to your retirement date, how can you ensure that you’ll have enough money to retire on time and live comfortably? Here we’ll take a look at some tips and advice that can help answer these questions.

Speak to a Retirement Planning Professional

One of the best pieces of advice for soon-to-be retired individuals is to make an appointment to speak to a retirement planning professional. Even if you think you are fully prepared, organized, and ready to retire from a financial standpoint, it’s still wise to touch base with a professional that can look over your savings and provide you with a detailed plan.

Berger Financial Group, a Minneapolis retirement planning group, stresses that a solid financial plan will ensure the savings you have amassed will stretch the distance. You want to be sure that you understand how much money will be available to you, and the best ways to stretch it and make it last.

Consider Downsizing

As you approach your retirement date you may also want to think about downsizing your lifestyle in general. If you own a home, now is the time to ask yourself if that much space and land is needed. It could be that downsizing is a better plan both financially and from a maintenance standpoint. If you plan on doing a lot of travel during your retirement years, owning a small condo with no exterior maintenance could make more sense.

Downsizing also means you can find something cheaper, which means more money goes into your retirement savings.

Create a Brand New Budget

It’s also wise to create a brand new retirement budget. This takes into account all your expenses and how much money you will have coming in once you are no longer working. It may be that you need to cut back on some expenses in order to make the budget more manageable. Knowing this information in advance will prevent you from over-spending.

Take a Look at Your Investment Portfolio

If you have any investments, now is the time to take a look at those too. You don’t have to stop investing just because you are retired. It may just be that you want to change things up and diversify where you are investing your money.

Setting Yourself Up for a Happy Retirement

By following these steps, you’ll be setting yourself up for a happy and comfortable retirement, allowing you to have the break you deserve.