We’ve touched on the importance of memory as the storage and filing system of your brain and how it can be affected by narcissistic abuse. As a survivor, I’m sure you’ve encountered frustrating memory lapses such as forgetting why you walked into that room or being unable to remember where you put your keys. While these types of things are a part of life, you can work to lessen such occurrences by exercising your brain. Let’s take a look at how your memory is like a muscle and the ways you can start to “work it out” to make it stronger.
Work to Improve Current Skills
It’s likely you have a set of hobbies you are good at and enjoy. That’s wonderful. You may have noticed that what you love to do has gotten easier over time, possibly less challenging or even boring. That’s because your brain has become accustomed to doing these activities, and new connections aren’t being formed in your neuropathways. You can change that by pushing yourself to push your skills or to pursue more difficult activities in your current hobbies. For example, try an advanced crossword puzzle or learn some new painting techniques.
Switch Up Your Routine
On that same note, the things we do every day as a matter of our daily self-care, leisure, household, commute and work habits can become complacent and boring. Doing things the same way day after day isn’t stretching your brain’s limits or causing it to gain new connections. Try switching things up by attempting the opposite of what you ordinarily do each day. This will cause you to use the other side of your brain for a change. Use your less dominant hand for things like writing or using your computer mouse. Take a different way to work. Make a concerted effort to talk to someone new. Watch a documentary instead of your usual Tuesday night sitcom.
Yes, physical exercise also gives your memory a workout. The reason for this is that our brains rely on an adequate supply of oxygen in order to function well. When you engage in physical activity, you’re boosting the flow of oxygenated blood to the brain. Aerobic exercise like running or cycling work best for ramping up the blood flow.
Take a Class
Learning something new is a sure-fire way to increase brain health and make your memory stronger. Sign up for a class in something you’ve always wanted to try or even just look up a tutorial online for a start. Anything that causes you to work your brain in new ways will have the effect of creating additional neural pathways and connections.
Teach What You Know
Another method for upping your brain power that many people may not realize is to teach something to someone else. Showing someone how to do something causes you to organize the material and to figure out ahead of time how to present it. These steps lead to increasing your own understanding of the information and your ability to recall it with ease.
These are merely a few common ways to keep your memory working and the brain connections forming. Anything new you can add to your routine will probably help. Have fun adding activities to your own memory strengthening regimen and see if you notice a difference in what you’re able to remember.