This week’s theme  is all about making our minds thrive, so we will first examine ways to improve your memory. No matter what age you are, memorization is an invaluable skill that needs constant care, though we don’t always think much of it.

Thankfully, there are numerous ways you can start forming habits that will boost your memory, both consciously and unconsciously. Below, we’ll point out five of the most effective strategies that will make you proactive about your mental growth.

5. Watch what you eat.

It’s not hard to believe that certain foods have different effects on our bodies, but we rarely consider how foods affect our concentration. Fruits and vegetables, for example, are extremely beneficial to improving neuron connections in the mind, especially berries. Fish, such as salmon, is rich with oils and acids that improve concentration. Even coffee, low on sugar, has been proven to have a positive effect on short-term memory.

Junk food, on the other hand, robs us of energy physically, which ultimately slows our mind down. If you must have it, try to watch your portions and limit habits like fast food as much as you can.

4. Sleep.

Sleeping is absolutely essential to cultivating a strong memory. If you are not refreshing your body physically on a regular basis, then your mental processes will undoubtedly suffer. For adults, eight hours of sleep a night is highly recommended.

3. Be more social.

Isolation can take a legitimate toll on your mind, even if you are an extreme introvert. This is because social activities stimulate the brain and refresh our emotional intelligence. Having fun in general is a serious contribution to taking some of the mental stress off of our minds and diverting our attention towards lighthearted activities.

Thanks to social media, even people who are isolated geographically can still find company online. If you are looking for a group to join, consider exploring Google Hangouts, where you can find like-minded people that welcome new friends. Whatever your situation, save some time for your friendships and give your brain a break once in a while.

2. Reduce stress.

Related to the last point, reducing stress is critical to avoiding memory decline. Too much stress has extremely negative effects on your mind in general, especially when it comes to recalling information. If you are a victim of chronic stress, visiting a doctor or counselor is your best course of action, but there are also ways to prevent stress from dominating your life.

One of the biggest causes of stress is literally “over-thinking.” Focusing too much on too many things leads to an overload in our mental functions, damaging our ability to concentrate and focus. Activities such as meditation and exercise are fantastic ways to divert your attention onto one thing, but chronic stress should be treated as a medical issue nonetheless.

1. Exercise it!

The most direct method of improving your memory is exercising your skills. Playing memory games, using mnemonic devices and learning new things are healthy, efficient ways to boost your memory. The reason we pointed this out last is because brain exercises function much more effectively if balanced with a healthy diet, sleep, social activities and a de-stressed mind.

If you can sustain these habits, then expect to have a lifetime full of memories you’ll never forget.