Against forgetfulness: According to experts, this “food” is important for our brain

Those who experience more remember better: fitness tips for the brain
Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay, Peggy_Marco

Forgetfulness is annoying – and sometimes scares us. But if we understand how memory works, we can train it. An expert explains what is important.

Sometimes it’s the everyday things that almost make us despair: Where are the car keys? What did I just want to say again? And what’s actually going on with my memory? Is this all still normal forgetfulness – or is it already a sign of illness?

Neuroscientist: Forgetting names is normal

Our memory is not designed to store and remember individual things like the names of people we met at a party, explains neuroscientist Charan Ranganath. That’s why it’s normal to forget things like that. Our brain works much more like a filter: “Memory is the process by which our brain filters out what is important – that is, information that helps us navigate an uncertain and ever-changing world,” says psychology professor Professor.

“We tend to focus on our weaknesses when it comes to memory, but for the most part we do a pretty good job of remembering what we need, thanks to the prefrontal cortex.” This part of the brain is active when people plan something or solve complex problems. That’s why, according to Ranganath, it plays a central role in whether or not we remember something in everyday life.

You can train your memory

The problem: The performance of the prefrontal cortex decreases as we get older, and we damage it when we multitask too much, are stressed or don’t get enough sleep, explains Ranganath in the business magazine Fast Company.

But: The prefrontal cortex can be strengthened. This includes, among other things, physical activity and sport, mindfulness exercises and turning off distractions (such as email and WhatsApp notifications).

Get out of the rut: collect new impressions for updates

According to Ranganath, it is also important to give the brain as much different food as possible (he speaks of various data) in order to train it and keep it fit. This food consists of experiences and experiences that we have.

To do this, we have to get out of the rut, discover other places and come into contact with people with different backgrounds and different perspectives, advises the expert.

We can, in turn, use these individual experiences: Our ability to remember events ensures that we continually update our knowledge and can thus adapt quickly and flexibly to new situations.

“On the other hand, if we spend too much time with the same people, in the same places and in the same situations, our memory atrophies. For example, during the pandemic, we sat in the same room every day and interacted with the same people (mostly through screens),” explains Ranganath. “The days seemed to last forever, and by the end of the week we had few memories of what we had done during that time.”

Read more on Techzle\.com:

  • “Brain fog”: causes and measures for brain fog
  • Study: 6 habits that reduce memory loss
  • Live healthier: We can learn these eight things from other countries

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