stress relief

How To Reduce Stress and Improve Your Memory

If you want your memory to work the best it can, then reducing the stress in your life will help.

Reducing stress is crucial for optimal brain functioning. When you are stressed, you waste a lot of your valuable mental energy worrying, so you have less mental energy available for paying attention to the things that are important for you to remember. When your body is stressed, your muscles tense up, which causes them to use more oxygen. So when you’re stressed, your brain gets less of the oxygen that it needs in order to function well.

And to make matters worse, stress causes the body to produce the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is tolerable for brief periods, but it’s very unhealthy when your body produces it for extended periods of time. Cortisol is toxic to brain cells. Studies show that chronic stress can quadruple your chance of getting Alzheimer’s Disease.

Recent studies show that certain stress-reducing activities can benefit the brain greatly.

Dr. Sara Lazar at the Psychiatry Department of Massachusetts General Hospital studied the effects of meditation on the brain. She used an FMRI scanner, which is a machine that enables a researcher to see what’s going on inside a patient’s brain. As people get older, various parts of the brain become thinner. Dr. Lazar’s work showed that the brains of people who meditate exhibit significantly less of this age-related brain thinning. Other benefits of meditation include improvements in the ability to focus the mind, improvements in impulse control, increases in empathy, and more restful sleep.

Another activity that has been shown to be good for brain health is Tai Chi. Tai Chi is a gentle Chinese martial art, which consists of a formal series of graceful, flowing movements. A recent 8-month study done at the University of South Florida shows that doing Tai Chi causes similar results. Seniors who practiced Tai Chi three times a week had significant increase in brain volume and scored better on tests of their memory and thinking abilities. Other benefits of Tai Chi include improvements in strength, agility, flexibility, balance and posture.

Both meditation and Tai Chi can be used to “re-program” your mind so that it becomes less anxious and more relaxed. These new patterns of calmness and concentrated awareness can become habitual, so that they remain even if you have to take a break from your meditation or Tai Chi practice. You may want to try learning meditation or Tai Chi. In many cities, you can find meditation or Tai Chi teachers who offer classes for beginners. There are a number of excellent videos on Youtube that teach the basics as well.

Learning either of these techniques can help you improve your memory, concentration, and emotional state. They can also help you lower your level of stress. Lower stress levels have a positive effect on all your brain functions and enable your memory to work optimally.

 

Mike Weller is a memory improvement and brain fitness expert. Mike can help you improve your memory skills and overcome absentmindedness. Improve your memory skills by visiting Mike’s web site, Foolproof Memory Improvement, and signing up for Mike’s email newsletter, which is packed with memory improvement tips and techniques.

Photo credit: ‘Tai Chi‘ by Big Stock

  • http://www.discoveryourpeace.com/ Eri

    Also, practicing yoga with good instructors pays dividends in all of the areas mentioned in the post.

  • http://www.discoveryourpeace.com/ Eri

    Also, practicing yoga with good instructors pays dividends in all of the areas mentioned in the post.

  • http://happierhuman.com/ Amit Amin

    A meta-review of over 800 studies by the national institute of health found that, as tai-chi and meditation are commonly practiced in the west, they offer no significant benefits over more western relaxation disciplines like deep breathing and progressive-muscle relaxation. 

    That’s not to say I don’t believe in meditation or tai-chi – I meditate for 30 minutes every day and learnt tai-chi for four months back when I was in china.  It’s just that we make them too easy for their true benefits to shine. 

    It’s been a while since I looked at the meta-review, but I believe Yoga performed better than meditation for stress and pain reduction. 

  • http://www.2knowmyself.com/ Farouk

    that’s so right
    i remember i felt mentally healthier when i used to meditate 
    thanks for the post

  • http://www.omswami.com/ Navjot Gautam

    I agree that meditation is a very important aspect to keep the brains running but it is important to know the right method. But a good compilation of ideas.

  • http://www.omswami.com/ Navjot Gautam

    I agree that meditation is a very important aspect to keep the brains running but it is important to know the right method. But a good compilation of ideas.

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  • shubham

    liked the comment of Eri

    For students:
    http://www.howtostudyfortest.blogspot.com/

  • http://leighpope.com/intimaciesq Jessica Pope

    Excessive stress levels definitely reduce cognitive functioning, not to mention overall quality of life!

    High cortisol levels cause the body to store fat. It can contribute to chronic fatigue, hypertension, and even obesity! A lot of weight loss supplements are basically cortisol inhibitors.

    “Stress” is kind of soft and and ambiguous, so it’s hard for people to take it as a serious health risk. But it is. We should remember what the word really means – we are stressing our system, our bodies. Then I think it’s easier to see the hazards.

  • Shelley

    Post carbon monoxide poisoning, I would LOVE help with memory, etc.

  • Shelley

    Post carbon monoxide poisoning, I would LOVE help with memory, etc.

  • Ali

    Meditation and tai chi are seriously effective, I was using pranic healing also and my stress was totally gone, I also found this article about stress management:  
    http://pranaworld.net/?p=496  it is really cool to see alternative ways are effective. thanks a lot, really useful. 

  • Equinox_solstice92

    Mild stress and anxiety are both important and we need them in order to increase our perception and to keep us alert and oriented. The bad thing about stress is it could take over people’s life which could lead to a panic attack.

  • Equinox_solstice92

    Mild stress and anxiety are both important and we need them in order to increase our perception and to keep us alert and oriented. The bad thing about stress is it could take over people’s life which could lead to a panic attack.

  • Equinox_solstice92

    Mild stress and anxiety are both important and we need them in order to increase our perception and to keep us alert and oriented. The bad thing about stress is it could take over people’s life which could lead to a panic attack.

  • Equinox_solstice92

    Mild stress and anxiety are both important and we need them in order to increase our perception and to keep us alert and oriented. The bad thing about stress is it could take over people’s life which could lead to a panic attack.

  • Equinox_solstice92

    Mild stress and anxiety are both important and we need them in order to increase our perception and to keep us alert and oriented. The bad thing about stress is it could take over people’s life which could lead to a panic attack.

  • http://pererikolsen.com/ Pererik Olsen

    Great post, I did not know about the relationship between stress and Alzheimer’s.  I have my own method to get the dangerous cortisols out of my body. An hour of running in the forest off trail and with my dogs is something that really helps me re-focus. And of course some mindfulness excersizes now and then. I guess that can be compared to the meditation. Thanks for great content!

  • http://pererikolsen.com/ Pererik Olsen

    Great post, I did not know about the relationship between stress and Alzheimer’s.  I have my own method to get the dangerous cortisols out of my body. An hour of running in the forest off trail and with my dogs is something that really helps me re-focus. And of course some mindfulness excersizes now and then. I guess that can be compared to the meditation. Thanks for great content!

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  • Equisway

    Off to meditate I go…

  • Equisway

    Off to meditate I go…

  • Netbusinessdesign

    The information given has great rewards in enhancing ones health.I personnally agree with its therapy.

  • http://www.nitricoxiderx.com/muscle-pharm-assault Muscle Pharm Assault

    Nice tips,
    Breathing exercises provide convenient and simple stress relief in that
    they can be used anytime, anywhere, and they work quickly.

  • http://hcglondon.com/ hcg drops

    Your diet and nutrition choices can make your stress levels go up or down. Certain foods provide comfort and actually increase levels of hormones in the body that naturally fight stress. Other types of foods and beverages can reduce stress by lowering the levels of hormones that trigger it.

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  • http://www.motivation.net.au/quotes/inspirational-quotes Inspirational Quotes

    I want to show gratitude for writing such a
    good feature article, really will support me out in frequent ways…

     

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/S5BRVQOTI6E6WQZUCGL5LNTQCU Christopher

    I had difficulty with stress too.  But over a long period of time of trying different things, I discovered a number of ways that really helped.  I have much more info about this on my site http://www.stressmanagement.youaccomplish.com.

  • http://www.mobuherbals.com/ herbalist

    One way to reduce stress is using also calmness lotions which are made with natural herbs. Lotions or balms which contain Feverfew and Valerian root are known to help in relieving muscle pains in the body. Also, those menthol or mint oils are good soothers for the body. You can purchase them on any herb store or even in the pharmacy. It works well when you put in on before a massage.

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