Improve your Memory with Mindfulness…
“Memory… is the diary that we all carry about with us.” - Oscar Wilde
What is memory made of?
Memory plays a vital role in life. It is like a storehouse of daily events. Memory can help us in performing and accomplishing tasks effectively from buying groceries to doing office work regularly.
Different effective memory levels in people
Parents start to teach their children little things like sitting, playing with toys and similar motor motions at a young age, which are the foundation stones of a child's memory and they keep on increasing with time.
In old people there is a change of pattern in the efficiency of memory which includes some challenges, like low efficiency of the brain functioning with increasing age as the people do not understand a few things easily and quickly.
How Mindfulness can improve Memory?
“Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally,” says Kabat-Zinn.
The mindfulness ways are quite different from each other. Let's discuss:
1. Focus: In the beginning, it seems difficult to learn something new when we are stuck in past memories or living in the future. So, mindfulness practices help to find a solution to this problem. Mindfulness assists to focus on the present moment which leads to a stress-free life and therefore, it leads to an increase in the ability of the mind and better memory. Some of the everyday techniques for improving focus are:
Slow down the process: It is mostly seen that people are always in a hurry to accomplish their tasks but it affects the learning procedure. So, it is recommended that to slow down for a while and reconnect yourself with the present moment. Just focus on what is going on in the meantime. This is one of the best ways to focus on yourself and your surroundings.
Observe the thoughts: It is suggested that it is easy to increase focus if one can start observing the thoughts. How are they flowing in the mind? What are they saying? Try to do this exercise with your daily activities. It is better to do this form of exercise with closed eyes to avoid distractions.
Use the window: A window can help you to increase focus. One can do this just by viewing out from a window. Look at everything which appears in front of you. Focus on the shapes, colours and movements etc. If you are viewing a garden from a window, then it is more beneficial because you can see plants, beautiful flowers, butterflies and feel pleasant fragrances which can get your attention easily and help you to live in the present moment. By the time, the more you train your mind to focus, the more things you will observe.
Concentrate on music: Listening to music helps in improving memory and learning. It is considered as one of the best practices to increase focus. Let's take an example - choose any song and listen carefully by noticing different instruments, the beats or bass drums etc. You can also try to switch the instrument one by one to increase the ability of the mind. Concentrate on the instruments by noticing how it works? What are the beats? On which music note they are changing? The concentration on music beats leads you to be aware of the background of the song and as a result, improvement in the efficiency of the brain.
2. Size of Hippocampus: Hippocampus is a part of the human brain and responsible for keeping records. It is a storehouse of information and events. It is located under the cerebral cortex. It is observed that when we learn something new, the size of the hippocampus increases. The research shows that meditation and mindfulness lead to bigger hippocampus because it makes actual structural differences in the brain. As a result, it improves the memory of a person. Some of the mindfulness techniques to increase the size of the hippocampus are:
Comfortable environment: Regional brain section get information with an interaction of several neurons and indicates the processing capacity. An individual with larger brain regions can perform functions in a better way. It is suggested to create a comfortable environment as it comes with better development and learning. Mindfulness provides a comfortable environment to live in the present time comfortably to learn and develop effectively. The more we learn and practice mindfulness, the more active hippocampus will become.
Recognise and recall: This feature gives the best outcome as this can help an individual and a child also. Let's discuss this in detail. Mindfulness can help children to recognize a particular game or a toy. He can feel, touch, observe and play while living in the present and start learning about shapes, colours and some names. Along with this, he tries to learn the words practised by his parents which leads to the active performance of the hippocampus. When he plays the same game again after taking a break, he is able to recognise the previous memory actions and recall the events to start the thought process. Then he acts accordingly in the present. Consequently, mindfulness helps in recognition which leads to hippocampus activity and flow of thoughts. The same thing happens with the man when he tries to do some work. He gets an idea and acts accordingly in the present. The bigger the size of the hippocampus, the better it would be for learning and performance.
3. Cognitive functions: A great scientist Greenberg reveals that cognitive functions are also improved with mindfulness practices and results in improving the bad memory and increase the work efficiency of a person. In addition, it helps in increasing the efficiency of cognitive functions including problem-solving (handle every task and get a solution) and executive functioning (allow to do tasks effectively). There are a few techniques which are helpful:
Breathing exercise: This exercise is commonly named as “breathing awareness.” It mainly focuses on the flow of the breath, how it is coming in and out of the nostrils. It is simply focusing on the breath in a balanced way so that it can have an effect on concentration and working memory. If we do this exercise regularly, it activates the brain network and become more efficient. This exercise targets inner brain networks including interconnected areas of the brain which work together and play a key role in improving cognitive functions. This type of mindful exercise shows us better brain functioning and thus good efficiency to perform tasks.
Changing ability: It is scientifically proven that the brain produces new cells early in life. But it also has the capacity to change throughout life by increasing the number of new cells, making connections within the brain sections and increase in size. Altogether, they can improve cognitive functions. Mindfulness can increase this ability by doing practices which includes how to focus and concentrate on the present and leads to active performance. Research shows that people who practised mindfulness have a more clear understanding and problem-solving skills. It is correct to say that mindfulness helps us in a tremendous way.
In conclusion, it is correct to say that mindfulness can help in different ways to increase brain performance and activities of daily living. It is concerned more with one’s psychological well-being.