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Ms. Mrs. Chaitra Mahesh

Psychologist, Bangalore

Ms. Mrs. Chaitra Mahesh Psychologist, Bangalore
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My experience is coupled with genuine concern for my patients. All of my staff is dedicated to your comfort and prompt attention as well....more
My experience is coupled with genuine concern for my patients. All of my staff is dedicated to your comfort and prompt attention as well.
More about Ms. Mrs. Chaitra Mahesh
Ms. Mrs. Chaitra Mahesh is a popular Psychologist in Jayanagar, Bangalore. She is currently practising at One Step Forward in Jayanagar, Bangalore. Book an appointment online with Ms. Mrs. Chaitra Mahesh on Lybrate.com.

Find numerous Psychologists in India from the comfort of your home on Lybrate.com. You will find Psychologists with more than 31 years of experience on Lybrate.com. You can find Psychologists online in Bangalore and from across India. View the profile of medical specialists and their reviews from other patients to make an informed decision.

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I am 21 years old, m smoking cigarettes since 6 years. From last 2 months I have chest pain.

Reparenting Technique, BA, BEd
Psychologist, Bangalore
This chest pain is not a good sign but do go for a medical check up and ascertain the nature and cause. The habit can be very difficult to halt because of the many conditions attached to smoking. In fact these conditions can exist all through the day unlike other addictions. But your desire to want to stop is the most important factor. It is important to find out about the ill-effects of smoking to have a reason that alarms you about continuing in the habit. The information is really scary. The nicotine in tobacco smoke stimulates the heart beat to raise the blood pressure in no time at all. So you must avoid it like the plague: it is just very bad medicine for you. In fact it is highly toxic too. You will need to stop smoking or consuming any tobacco related items with immediate effect. You should start vigorous exercises, gradually increasing it over a period of time. Do deep breathing exercises every time you feel like smoking (try Yoga), and replace the oral urge with some healthy food substitute to satiate the need. You may also take hard candy or chewing gum. If the urge is too strong, then use nicotine chewing gum or nicotine patches, for a little while until the smoking drive reduces substantially. You may also join Smokers Anonymous in your city where the support is really extraordinary for like-minded people who are also in the same situation. Keep yourself occupied or engaged with interesting activities during the times when it is most tempting. Keep the company of non-smokers for some time i.e. at least for the first 21 days. Above all announce it to everyone that you have quit smoking. Here’s a piece of very good advice: even if you accidentally/willfully take a cigarette, it is not the end of the world – you can start the cessation all over again. You must persevere with the best support until you defeat this addiction. Counseling is very useful in the initial stages and when temptations are at their highest. All the damage you incurred earlier because of the smoking can be reverted back to normal in quick time. If these suggestions are still difficult because you are a chain smoker, I suggest you admit yourself for detoxification in a hospital for two weeks or in a center for 6 months and through their program it will become a lot easier.
26 people found this helpful
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Hard Time Making Friends? These Tips Will Help You Initiate Friendship

B.A. Psychology, M.A. Psychology, Ph. D - Psychology
Psychologist, Delhi
Hard Time Making Friends? These Tips Will Help You Initiate Friendship

Friendship is the fuel that keeps life interesting. Imagine a robotic life where you do not have anyone with whom you can chill or unwind at the end of the day. Friends are people with whom you can be yourself without having to worry about needs and requirements or judgements, at least most of the time. They are the layer that lies between your family and the rest of the world and provide you with a balance of sorts as far as insights, outsider perspective, advice for meeting challenges and unadulterated enjoyment go. 

But many times, extreme shyness and an introvert nature can stop people from making friends easily. So how can you initiate friendships and keep them close? Here are a few tips!

  1. Understand Shyness: First of all, understand why you may be shy and how it makes your brain work. Shyness strips you of your security when you are faced with a new place or face. Also, it can lead to dismissive or avoidant behaviour, which keeps us from approaching people and learning more about them. Also, it keeps us anxious and preoccupied and makes us think that we will be met with rejection if we try to initiate friendship. Sounds vaguely familiar? Read on to know more.
  2. Eye Contact and First Impressions: The first way to initiate a new friendship is by making eye contact and following it up with a smile before the person in question averts his or her gaze. This is an unspoken language that is almost always answered similarly.
  3. Greeting: You can now approach the person and start by saying hello. It may be someone whom you have been seeing on your way to class or in the office cafeteria or even someone who lives in your building. So chances are, that this person would have noticed you too. Introduce yourself and ask for the person's name.
  4. Acknowledgement: Use the person's name often to show that you are acknowledging the friendship and ensuring that a bond begins to settle between the two of you from the word go. Offer to introduce this new friend to your other friends as further acknowledge of this new friendship.
  5. Information: In a new friendship, it is crucial to find common grounds without breaking the barriers of privacy. So ensure that you ask neutral questions about hobbies, family, education, work and other such issues without asking the when, where, what and how of things that might have to be explained by sharing personal details. In this way the person in front becomes more comfortable.

Be aware of the reasons that stop you and build your confidence when it comes to approaching people for friendship!

3827 people found this helpful

I am addicted of chewing guthka Wants to quit chewing Have tried of it but only for less then 3 days Wants to quit for life time.

Diploma in Anesthesia, MBBS
General Physician, Hyderabad
Strong determination is the only way to get rid of the habbit. Occupy you mind and divert the mind to something else which you like very much to get over the urge for the ghutka.
1 person found this helpful
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How to increase my memory power.. I read things and I forgot it on exam and in exam I have nervousness n nothing comes in my mind. please suggest what I should do.

Reparenting Technique, BA, BEd
Psychologist, Bangalore
I think you get into a panic mode during the exams and develop the jitters. It is best for you to do deep breathing for a few minutes and you will calm down immediately. There is a good exercise that helps to lower panic immediately: block your closed lips with your index finger and blow tight against your cheeks and hold that breath for some time and then release it. Your heart beat will slow down instantly and you will have a calmer demeanor to approach your exam paper. A lot of the reason may be true because of your age and a little stress perhaps. I suspect that you are going through a spurt in the production of the male sex hormone, which affects you in three ways quite unknown to you. First, there will be a sexual agenda that it will kick off, secondly, there will be aggressiveness and rebelliousness, and thirdly, you will suffer from acne and pimple problems. This is the effect of the hormone that has a duration of almost two years and you will have no control over it. But if you have a good value system you will tide over this phase without significant damage. The hormonal imbalances may not only impact your memory because of the chemical but also bring along some distractions that come with it. But you may work on the following even if the hormones kick in: Daily exercise of at least half an hour is a must. Even if you go to a gym, ask for aerobic and/or callisthenic exercises with whatever else you are doing. A healthy body harbors a healthy mind. With regard to memory, it is very important that your brain and body is ideally rested to be able to recall whatever is required, rather comfortably. Puzzles pose problems to the brain that help it to use new pathways and neurons, which give the brain considerable exercise. It taxes the left brain to use logic to solve the myriad possibilities which other activities do not stimulate. Crosswords are excellent for vocabulary learning and use. Jigsaws and Rubik cube stimulate different permutations to finally settle on the most likely one. Picture completion and anagrams help approach problem solving from several angles. Do Sudoku, and memory co-relation activities and skills. Have a good night’s sleep, have a good breakfast of more proteins, meditate often, remain free of stress, eat a lot of fiber (whole grains, fruits and vegetables), nuts, avocado, eat dark chocolate, consume less of fat and use olive or coconut oil instead, do Yoga meditation exercises, etc. You need to check out if you are stronger visual or auditory. The visual is a better mode than the auditory. However, if you combine the two modes, you will get the best concentration. Have a special place of learning, which should be well lit, with soft painted walls, well-ventilated, with no distractions. When you get bored, study by writing. If you repeat learning at least five to seven times, you will apparently remember for a longer time. Sit comfortably but do not slouch. The reading material should be of a fairly large print. Study at small intervals of about 40 minutes and then take a break or change the subject. Short-term memory is a faculty of the left brain, and long-term memory is a feature of the right brain. When people are stressed, they tend to favor the right brain and abandon the left brain, where short-term memory resides. So, it is really very simple: deal with the stress and activate left brain functions. Here are a few suggestions to activate left brain function: shut your left nostril and breathe, move your eyes from right to left and vice versa for at least half a minute at a time, and do callisthenic exercises with some form of counting, regularly. There are some memory enhancing techniques and study methods that your teacher will be able to guide you with. If your home life is full of distractions and stress, it is likely to affect your memory, adversely. In that case, I suggest that you and the family go for counseling too. The following foods do help too: Blueberries, walnuts, turmeric, Spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, acorn squash, green tea, oily fish, boiled egg, turkey, apples, oatmeal, leafy greens, lentils, pumpkin seeds, avocado, cinnamon, thyme, sunflower seeds, and red wine.
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I have been able to control my smoking habit, I been been able to curb it from 8 in a day to 3 in a day. Honestly I do wanna quit it or bring it down to 2 in a day, What I wish to know is how much does it affect it I consume 3 in a day, will it be equally destructive as it was before?

Reparenting Technique, BA, BEd
Psychologist, Bangalore
It will be less destructive to smoke less but the habit continues and that is what is a problem. When you are addicted, reduction is not much of an achievement. There is no such thing as a ‘little addiction’. So any attempt must be complete, abrupt, and immediate. Even a delay by 24 hours can sabotage the resolve. With epilepsy to boot, smoking a packet a day is a deadly addiction. But it is not easy because there is a lot of conditioning associated with it and these can be spread over the whole day and night! Since you want to quit I recommend that you seek the help of a counselor and do it with support. You need to identify with why you smoke: there is an oral need, the nicotine effect, the psychological effect of covering up some other issue, for style, to impress, etc. You may discover that the reasons may be unimportant at this stage because you have become too addicted and the habit has become compulsive. You should start vigorous exercises, gradually increasing it over a period of time. Do deep breathing exercises every time you feel like smoking (try Yoga), and replace the oral urge with some healthy food substitute to satiate the need, for a little while. If the urge is too strong, then use nicotine chewing gum or nicotine patches, for a little while until the smoking drive reduces, substantially. You may join Smokers Anonymous in your city where the support is really extraordinary for like-minded people who are also in the same situation. Keep yourself occupied or engaged with interesting activities during the times when it is most tempting. Keep the company of non-smokers for some time i. E. At least for the first 21 days. Above all, announce it to everyone that you have quit smoking. Here’s a piece of very good advice: even if you accidentally/willfully take a cigarette, it is not the end of the world – you can start the cessation all over again. You must persevere with the best support until you defeat this addiction. Perseverance with it until you are completely over it, is the key. You are still young and all the ill-effects of the habit can be restored and you can regain a lot of the losses: monetarily too.
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I am not tnteligent for my education and I fell bad myself. So I do business so what I do I felling depressed? So pls help me.

Clinical Hpnotherapy, M.D.(A.M.)
Alternative Medicine Specialist, Jalandhar
I am not tnteligent for my education and I fell bad myself. So I do business so what I do I felling depressed? So pls...
If you have the will, there is always a way. Knowledge is more imp than education. Be good in what you do and success will come your way. Bach flower therapy will help you. For knowledge you tube is a good medium to help you.
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I a 34 year old female with bipolar disorder I have lost interest in sex what should I do ?

M.B.B.S., F.I.C.A. (USA), P.G.D.I.H, F.C.G.P., D.C.A.H
Psychiatrist, Vadodara
Relax and consult your sexologist. If you want you may consult sexologist and relationship coach like me. I can definitely help you. This may be affecting your marriage, so be quick.
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I have been learning vocal music since 1 year. When I get up in the morning, my voice is very heavy and low. When I rehearse music in the morning, it feels uncomfortable can't go high note also. Please suggest.

MBBS
General Physician, Mumbai
I have been learning vocal music since 1 year.
When I get up in the morning, my voice is very heavy and low. When I r...
It all depends on the vocal cords anatomical position and I will suggest you to rehearse your music as per your normal voice and do normal gargling and avoid any unnecessary food items and don't strain your self much and it can also be possible that after slow rehearsal you can get the pitch you want but it would take extra time.
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I am 43 yes, have bipolar disorder for past 20 yes. Can it pass on to my children. 8 years old another 16 yr. What symptoms show this disorder.

DPM, MBBS
Psychiatrist, Mumbai
Yes, bipolar disorder is hereditary. Your children have a 10-15% chance of having bipolar disorder. The symptoms mostly manifest in middle or late adulthood. Keep an eye on any mood symptoms that your children show. Educate them about the illness. There is no need to be afraid, as most of the times the symptoms can be controlled with medicines. Also, most patients live a relatively normal life as the symptoms are episodic. One should monitor sleep changes and mood changes. Any extreme deviation could be a signal for an episode.
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I cannot give up smoking. Please help me.?

Reparenting Technique, BA, BEd
Psychologist,
You must have been smoking for a long time and may have tried several times to quit it too. But you must keep trying until you succeed. This is the pattern with smoking: you fail and then you try again. One day you will succeed. You may feel that it is impossible to give up at your age or for having smoked so much. But that it not true. I know of so many people who have given up and were very high level smokers (even 40 cigarettes a day!). YOur heart condition does not even give you an option. You can follow some of these instructions to help you this time. The habit can be very difficult to halt because of the many conditions attached to smoking. In fact these conditions can exist all through the day unlike other addictions. But your desire to want to stop is the most important factor. It is important to find out about the ill-effects of smoking to have a reason that alarms you about continuing in the habit. The information is really scary. The nicotine in tobacco smoke stimulates the heart beat to raise the blood pressure in no time at all. So you must avoid it like the plague: it is just very bad medicine for you. In fact it is highly toxic too. You will need to stop smoking or consuming any tobacco related items with immediate effect. You should start vigorous exercises, gradually increasing it over a period of time. Do deep breathing exercises every time you feel like smoking (try Yoga), and replace the oral urge with some healthy food substitute to satiate the need. You may also take hard candy or chewing gum. If the urge is too strong, then use nicotine chewing gum or nicotine patches, for a little while until the smoking drive reduces substantially. You may also join Smokers Anonymous in your city where the support is really extraordinary for like-minded people who are also in the same situation. Keep yourself occupied or engaged with interesting activities during the times when it is most tempting. Keep the company of non-smokers for some time i.e. at least for the first 21 days. Above all announce it to everyone that you have quit smoking. Here?s a piece of very good advice: even if you accidentally/willfully take a cigarette, it is not the end of the world ? you can start the cessation all over again. You must persevere with the best support until you defeat this addiction. Counseling is very useful in the initial stages and when temptations are at their highest. All the damage you incurred earlier because of the smoking can be reverted back to normal in quick time.
1 person found this helpful
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How to control myself from seeing porn video and bad image of girls in mind. I am really in big trouble. Please help me.

Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery (BAMS), M.Sc - Psychotherapy, PG Diploma in Sexuality & Sexual Counseling
Ayurveda, Bangalore
How to control myself from seeing porn video and bad image of girls in mind. I am really in big trouble. Please help me.
First your sexual fantasy has to be understood. Your sexual preference need to be assessed. Sexual counseling will help you to understand your sexual need.
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Hi, I am 37 year male, having a severe anxiety, I feel nervousness suddenly feel no charm fear of death, it attack on whole body I am very depressed some time I feel life is useless. Please suggest what I do I have diabetes and hypertension too.

BHARAT JYOTI, MRACGP, INCEPTOR, MD-PhD, MD - Psychiatry, FIPS, Fellow of Academy of General Education (FAGE), DPM, MBBS
Psychiatrist, Bangalore
Hi, I am 37 year male, having a severe anxiety, I feel nervousness suddenly feel no charm fear of death, it attack on...
You try to detox your body by natural means. Get investigations reports. Practice yogic therapy. Breathing. Diet control. Exercise regularly. Monitor your bp and sugar levels regularly.
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I am balesh 24 years old .i have a talking problem that means I have taken so much time to speak some words. Its not came with my birth. I have problem this from my 5th class. Please give me suggestion that to which doctor I need to consult to solve my problem.

MBBS, cc USG
General Physician, Noida
This problem can be solved by Collection of Exercises, Speech therapy, treatment and home cure 1.Exercises are effective in treatment of physiological causes speech problem In general, exercises are meant to provide strength to the organs associated with speech including tongue, lips, jaw, trachea and lungs consult to good speech therapy clinic 2.Deep breathing exercise are very effective 3.chewing Indian gooseberry, Almonds, Black pepper, Cinnamon and dried dates are known to clear speech congestion 4.This problem also can be solved by Meditation Consult for further management.
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I am 57 years old, male, having Depression/Anxiety and Schizophrenia since 1987. I have taken innumerous drugs and got relief. Right now I am on Sertraline 100 mg 1-0-0 and mirtazapine 15 mg 0-0-1 for depression/Anxiety. Symptoms are under control. For schizophrenia, I am currently on Amisulpride 200 mg 0-0-1 and qutipin 100 mg 0-0-1. There is relief. But there no positive symptoms viz hallucinations or delusions. But there are negative symptoms like dullness and no pleasure in doing day-to-day activities, staying aloof from relatives and friends. In short, I have withdrawn into my shell. Are the above symptoms confirmed negative symptoms of schizophrenia or are they symptoms of depression? Please advice.

MBBS, MD Psychiatry, DNB Psychiatry
Psychiatrist, Nagpur
I am 57 years old, male, having Depression/Anxiety and Schizophrenia since 1987. I have taken innumerous drugs and go...
You are already on two good antidepressants so it is less likely that you have uncontrolled depression. These seem more likely to be negative symptoms of schizophrenia according to the data you provided. However it is advisable that you consult a psychiatrist in person to decide any form of treatment too be improvised. Also it is would be prudent to reconsider the diagnosis too if you still face the same problems in spite of taking regular medications. Consult online for any further queries and assistance.
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From childhood m not able to eat at morning till 12 pm because I take every tensions of whole day at morning specially on my exam days or when there is busy schedule. At first day of exam I suffer from vomits, flurry,over stressed. Ect.

MD - Psychiatry
Psychiatrist, Chennai
From childhood m not able to eat at morning till 12 pm because I take every tensions of whole day at morning speciall...
Yes, stress can cause these symptoms, consult a psychiatrist and get your stress evaluated and treated. All the best.
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I am feeling so depressed. Before some days I brk up with my bf. He was ego problem. Always he insulted me. He tried to make me down. And while we were in a hlthy relationship, I lst the connections with all of my friends. I am 21 years old. As my exm has ended. I have nothing to do. I don't have account in Facebook and whatsapp as I could talk with friends. I am feeling too down. Sometimes I feel lyk I am good for nothing. Please give a suggestion. How can I get rid of this condition.

M.S. Counselling and Psychotherapy
Psychologist, Bangalore
I am feeling so depressed. Before some days I brk up with my bf. He was ego problem. Always he insulted me. He tried ...
Dear lybrate user, I understand that you are in pain. You are feeling very sad and worthless because of the breakup. Please understand that there is only one person on this earth who knows you very well - and that is yourself. If you think you have some weakness or faults then try to improve upon those. But do not let others pull you down. Love means respect. If your bf did not respect you, then that was not love. According to you, he had ego problems which means, for him" he" was the priority all the time. His needs and opinions were important than yours. He did not value you as a person. We human beings, live in a society and have various relations. It is very important to maintain relations with your friends and relatives, irrespective of your intimate relation. Even if you have lost your friends, try to connect with them again, make new friends. If you wish you may open facebook and whatsapp accounts. But instead of connecting with people only virtually, try to make some real connections where you are comfortable being yourself and are able to share your worries and feelings. If you want others to love and respect you, learn to love and respect your own self first. Take charge of your life. Don't depend on others for your happiness. Take care.
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8 Tips to Improve Your Child's Mental Well-being

Hypnotherapy and NLP, CBT, Autism, Ph.D-Clinical Psychology, MA - Applied Psychology, BA - Psychology
Psychologist, Gurgaon
8 Tips to Improve Your Child's Mental Well-being

Parents are always concerned about their child's physical health, but often ignore their mental health. Along with physical well-being, your child's mental well-being is also equally important.

The following are eight tips to improve your child's mental well-being:

  1. Adequate sleep: Sufficient amount of sleep is required for a child to stay mentally fit. Parents often engage their children with various classes and activities and compromise on their sleeping hours. This in turn affects the child's mental state. Therefore, as a parent, you must take care not to compromise on your child's sleeping hours.
  2. Allowing them to play: Nowadays, children are overburdened with studies and other learning activities. They do not get to play quite often. But as a parent, you must take care of your child's schedule, so that he/she can have proper playtime too. Playing involves physical activity as well as creativity in certain cases. This helps to improve mental health.
  3. Learning to share and care: You must take care to inculcate in your child the values of sharing and caring. These little things can also help improve your child's mental health. Learning how to share with others and caring for others will help them to stay happy.
  4. Regular exercise: Encouraging your child to regularly exercise will not only help improve his/her physical health, but also mental health. It will also help them to reduce stress and maintain a good mood as well.
  5. Listen to them: Parents often ignore when children are speaking on less important matters; may be about a new friend or a strict teacher in school. But as a parent, you must take out some time from your daily schedule to listen out to their stories. Listening to them attentively will make them feel important, increase their confidence and hence, improve their mental well-being.
  6. Encourage them to make friends: Encouraging your child to make new friends will help them to socialize better. They will feel confident about themselves and also open up. This can boost up their mental well-being.
  7. Good nourishment: Proper nourishment is not only essential for being physically fit, but also mentally fit. Good nourishment will help them stay healthy physically and increase their energy levels. This in turn will positively affect their mental health.
  8. Make them feel safe: Children need to feel safe in order to stay mentally fit. Try and spend some time with them every day. As a parent, always make your children realize that you are right beside them. Listen to their problems and help them find solutions to solve those instead of scolding them. Help them to relax and feel secure to stay mentally fit.

If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a the doctor and ask a free question.

2513 people found this helpful

I am smoking too much approx 40 cig daily, please suggest me a simple way to leave it.

BASM, MD, MS (Counseling & Psychotherapy), MSc - Psychology, Certificate in Clinical psychology of children and Young People, Certificate in Psychological First Aid, Certificate in Positive Psychology
Psychologist, Palakkad
Dear lybrate user. I can understand. Cigarette contains more than 4000 chemicals which can cause many physical and mental problems. Nicotine is addictive and causes addiction. Smoking can cause cancer and other physical problems. The best method to quit smoking is to use your will power and sustain it with your will power. There are other methods like deaddiction therapy. Deaddiction therapy can be a success only when you have the will power. I suggest online counseling and deaddiction therapy. Take care.
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Hello! I am feeling depressed since few days and have lost interest in everything. I overthink also what should I do? M mentally disturbed alott.

Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery (BAMS), Diploma in Pharmacy
Ayurveda, Mumbai
Hello! I am feeling depressed since few days and have lost interest in everything. I overthink also what should I do?...
You should try to make new friends, go out with your loved ones, talk to your friends and close relative about your feelings. Indulge in any physical activity such as tennis, swimming, cycling or any kind of sports. Do yoga and meditation regularly. Walk for 30 minutes everyday. You can start. Saaraswatarishta kadha 2spoons twice orally with equal quantity of warm. Capsule tagar 2-2 for three months. Mix following powder and take 2spoons three times a day with milk for 3 months. Bhringraj+ brahmi+ jatamansi +ashwagandha.
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How can I improve my memory power?

BHARAT JYOTI, MRACGP, INCEPTOR, MD-PhD, FIPS, Fellow of Academy of General Education (FAGE), DPM, MBBS
Psychiatrist,
How to Improve Your Memory Tips and Exercises to Sharpen Your Mind and Boost Brainpower Improving Emotional Health A strong memory depends on the health and vitality of your brain. Whether you're a student studying for final exams, a working professional interested in doing all you can to stay mentally sharp, or a senior looking to preserve and enhance your grey matter as you age, there are lots of things you can do to improve your memory and mental performance. Harnessing the power of your brain They say that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but when it comes to the brain, scientists have discovered that this old adage simply isn’t true. The human brain has an astonishing ability to adapt and change—even into old age. This ability is known as neuroplasticity. With the right stimulation, your brain can form new neural pathways, alter existing connections, and adapt and react in ever-changing ways. The brain’s incredible ability to reshape itself holds true when it comes to learning and memory. You can harness the natural power of neuroplasticity to increase your cognitive abilities, enhance your ability to learn new information, and improve your memory. Improving memory tip 1: Don't skimp on exercise or sleep Just as an athlete relies on sleep and a nutrition-packed diet to perform his or her best, your ability to remember increases when you nurture your brain with a good diet and other healthy habits. When you exercise the body, you exercise the brain Treating your body well can enhance your ability to process and recall information. Physical exercise increases oxygen to your brain and reduces the risk for disorders that lead to memory loss, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Exercise may also enhance the effects of helpful brain chemicals and protect brain cells. Improve your memory by sleeping on it When you’re sleep deprived, your brain can’t operate at full capacity. Creativity, problem-solving abilities, and critical thinking skills are compromised. Whether you’re studying, working, or trying to juggle life’s many demands, sleep deprivation is a recipe for disaster. But sleep is critical to learning and memory in an even more fundamental way. Research shows that sleep is necessary for memory consolidation, with the key memory-enhancing activity occurring during the deepest stages of sleep. Improving memory tip 2: Make time for friends and fun When you think of ways to improve memory, do you think of “serious” activities such as wrestling with the New York Times crossword puzzle or mastering chess strategy, or do more lighthearted pastimes—hanging out with friends or enjoying a funny movie—come to mind? If you’re like most of us, it’s probably the former. But countless studies show that a life that’s full of friends and fun comes with cognitive benefits. Healthy relationships: the ultimate memory booster? Humans are highly social animals. We’re not meant to survive, let alone thrive, in isolation. Relationships stimulate our brains—in fact, interacting with others may be the best kind of brain exercise. Research shows that having meaningful relationships and a strong support system are vital not only to emotional health, but also to brain health. In one recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health, for example, researchers found that people with the most active social lives had the slowest rate of memory decline. There are many ways to start taking advantage of the brain and memory-boosting benefits of socializing. Volunteer, join a club, make it a point to see friends more often, or reach out over the phone. And if a human isn’t handy, don’t overlook the value of a pet—especially the highly-social dog. Laughter is good for your brain You’ve heard that laughter is the best medicine, and that holds true for the brain and the memory as well as the body. Unlike emotional responses, which are limited to specific areas of the brain, laughter engages multiple regions across the whole brain. Furthermore, listening to jokes and working out punch lines activates areas of the brain vital to learning and creativity. As psychologist Daniel Goleman notes in his book Emotional Intelligence, “laughter…seems to help people think more broadly and associate more freely.” Looking for ways to bring more laughter in your life? Start with these basics: Laugh at yourself. Share your embarrassing moments. The best way to take ourselves less seriously is to talk about the times when we took ourselves too seriously. When you hear laughter, move toward it. Most of the time, people are very happy to share something funny because it gives them an opportunity to laugh again and feed off the humor you find in it. When you hear laughter, seek it out and ask, “What’s funny?” Spend time with fun, playful people. These are people who laugh easily—both at themselves and at life’s absurdities—and who routinely find the humor in everyday events. Their playful point of view and laughter are contagious. Surround yourself with reminders to lighten up. Keep a toy on your desk or in your car. Put up a funny poster in your office. Choose a computer screensaver that makes you laugh. Frame photos of you and your family or friends having fun. Pay attention to children and emulate them. They are the experts on playing, taking life lightly, and laughing. Improving memory tip 3: Keep stress in check Stress is one of the brain’s worst enemies. Over time, if left unchecked, chronic stress destroys brain cells and damages the hippocampus, the region of the brain involved in the formation of new memories and the retrieval of old ones. The stress-busting, memory-boosting benefits of meditation The scientific evidence for the mental health benefits of meditation continues to pile up. Studies show that meditation helps improve many different types of conditions, including depression, anxiety, chronic pain, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Meditation also can improve focus, concentration, creativity, memory, and learning and reasoning skills. Meditation works its “magic” by changing the actual brain. Brain images show that regular meditators have more activity in the left prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain associated with feelings of joy and equanimity. Meditation also increases the thickness of the cerebral cortex and encourages more connections between brain cells—all of which increases mental sharpness and memory ability. Depression and anxiety can also affect memory In addition to stress, depression, anxiety, and chronic worrying can also take a heavy toll on the brain. In fact, some of the symptoms of depression and anxiety include difficulty concentrating, making decisions, and remembering things. If you are mentally sluggish because of depression or anxiety, dealing with the problem will make a big difference in your cognitive abilities, including memory. Improving memory tip 4: Eat a brain-boosting diet Just as the body needs fuel, so does the brain. You probably already know that a diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, “healthy” fats (such as olive oil, nuts, fish) and lean protein will provide lots of health benefits, but such a diet can also improve memory. But for brain health, it’s not just what you eat—it’s also what you don’t eat. The following nutritional tips will help boost your brainpower and reduce your risk of dementia: Get your omega-3s. More and more evidence indicates that omega-3 fatty acids are particularly beneficial for brain health. Fish is a particularly rich source of omega-3, especially cold water “fatty fish” such as salmon, tuna, halibut, trout, mackerel, sardines, and herring. In addition to boosting brainpower, eating fish may also lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. If you’re not a fan of seafood, consider non-fish sources of omega-3s such as walnuts, ground flaxseed, flaxseed oil, winter squash, kidney and pinto beans, spinach, broccoli, pumpkin seeds, and soybeans. Limit calories and saturated fat. Research shows that diets high in saturated fat (from sources such as red meat, whole milk, butter, cheese, cream, and ice cream) increase your risk of dementia and impair concentration and memory. Eating too many calories in later life can also increase your risk of cognitive impairment. Talk to your doctor or dietician about developing a healthy eating plan. Eat more fruit and vegetables. Produce is packed with antioxidants, substances that protect your brain cells from damage. Colorful fruits and vegetables are particularly good antioxidant "superfood" sources. Try leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli, romaine lettuce, chard, and arugula, and fruit such as bananas, apricots, mangoes, cantaloupe, and watermelon. Drink green tea. Green tea contains polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that protect against free radicals that can damage brain cells. Among many other benefits, regular consumption of green tea may enhance memory and mental alertness and slow brain aging. Drink wine (or grape juice) in moderation. Keeping your alcohol consumption in check is key, since alcohol kills brain cells. But in moderation (around 1 glass a day for women; 2 for men), alcohol may actually improve memory and cognition. Red wine appears to be the best option, as it is rich in resveratrol, a flavonoid that boosts blood flow in the brain and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Other resveratrol-packed options include grape juice, cranberry juice, fresh grapes and berries, and peanuts. For mental energy, choose complex carbohydrates Just as a racecar needs gas, your brain needs fuel to perform at its best. When you need to be at the top of your mental game, carbohydrates can keep you going. But the type of carbs you choose makes all the difference. Carbohydrates fuel your brain, but simple carbs (sugar, white bread, refined grains) give a quick boost followed by an equally rapid crash. There is also evidence to suggest that diets high in simple carbs can greatly increase the risk for cognitive impairment in older adults. For healthy energy that lasts, choose complex carbohydrates such as whole-wheat bread, brown rice, oatmeal, high-fiber cereal, lentils, and whole beans. Avoid processed foods and limit starches (potato, pasta, rice) to no more than one quarter of your plate. Improving memory tip 5: Give your brain a workout By the time you’ve reached adulthood, your brain has developed millions of neural pathways that help you process and recall information quickly, solve familiar problems, and execute familiar tasks with a minimum of mental effort. But if you always stick to these well-worn paths, you aren’t giving your brain the stimulation it needs to keep growing and developing. You have to shake things up from time to time! Try taking a new route home from work or the grocery store, visiting new places at the weekend, or reading different kinds of books. Memory, like muscular strength, requires you to “use it or lose it.” The more you work out your brain, the better you’ll be able to process and remember information. The best brain exercises break your routine and challenge you to use and develop new brain pathways. Activities that require using your hands are a great way to exercise your brain. Playing a musical instrument, juggling, enjoying a game of ping pong (table tennis), making pottery, knitting, or needlework are activities that exercise the brain by challenging hand-eye coordination, spatial-temporal reasoning, and creativity. The brain exercise you choose can be virtually anything, so long as it meets the following three criteria: It’s new. No matter how intellectually demanding the activity, if it’s something you’re already good at, it’s not a good brain exercise. The activity needs to be something that’s unfamiliar and out of your comfort zone. It’s challenging. Anything that takes some mental effort and expands your knowledge will work. Examples include learning a new language, instrument, or sport, or tackling a challenging crossword or Sudoku puzzle. It’s fun. Physical and emotional enjoyment is important in the brain’s learning process. The more interested and engaged you are in the activity, the more likely you’ll be to continue doing it and the greater the benefits you’ll experience. The activity should be challenging, yes, it should also be something that is fun and enjoyable to you. Make an activity more pleasurable by appealing to your senses—playing music while you do it, or rewarding yourself afterwards with a favorite treat, for example. Use mnemonic devices to make memorization easier Mnemonics (the initial “m” is silent) are clues of any kind that help us remember something, usually by helping us associate the information we want to remember with a visual image, a sentence, or a word. Mnemonic device Example Visual image – Associate a visual image with a word or name to help you remember them better. Positive, pleasant images that are vivid, colorful, and three-dimensional will be easier to remember. To remember the name Rosa Parks and what she’s known for, picture a woman sitting on a park bench surrounded by roses, waiting as her bus pulls up. Acrostic (or sentence) - Make up a sentence in which the first letter of each word is part of or represents the initial of what you want to remember. The sentence “Every good boy does fine” to memorize the lines of the treble clef, representing the notes E, G, B, D, and F. Acronym – An acronym is a word that is made up by taking the first letters of all the key words or ideas you need to remember and creating a new word out of them. The word “HOMES” to remember the names of the Great Lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior. Rhymes and alliteration - Rhymes, alliteration (a repeating sound or syllable), and even jokes are a memorable way to remember more mundane facts and figures. The rhyme “Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November” to remember the months of the year with only 30 days in them. Chunking – Chunking breaks a long list of numbers or other types of information into smaller, more manageable chunks. Remembering a 10-digit phone number by breaking it down into three sets of numbers: 555-867-5309 (as opposed to5558675309). Method of loci – Imagine placing the items you want to remember along a route you know well or in specific locations in a familiar room or building. For a shopping list, imagine bananas in the entryway to your home, a puddle of milk in the middle of the sofa, eggs going up the stairs, and bread on your bed. Tips for enhancing memory and learning skills Pay attention. You can’t remember something if you never learned it, and you can’t learn something—that is, encode it into your brain—if you don’t pay enough attention to it. It takes about eight seconds of intense focus to process a piece of information into your memory. If you’re easily distracted, pick a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted. Involve as many senses as possible. Try to relate information to colors, textures, smells, and tastes. The physical act of rewriting information can help imprint it onto your brain. Even if you’re a visual learner, read out loud what you want to remember. If you can recite it rhythmically, even better. Relate information to what you already know. Connect new data to information you already remember, whether it’s new material that builds on previous knowledge, or something as simple as an address of someone who lives on a street where you already know someone. For more complex material, focus on understanding basic ideas rather than memorizing isolated details. Practice explaining the ideas to someone else in your own words. Rehearse information you’ve already learned. Review what you’ve learned the same day you learn it, and at intervals thereafter. This “spaced rehearsal” is more effective than cramming, especially for retaining what you’ve learned. 5 Simple Tricks to Sharpen Thinking and Memory Skills Using these memory-enhancing techniques can help improve your ability to learn new information and retain it over time. 1. Repeat One of the golden rules of learning and memory is repeat, repeat, repeat. The brain also responds to novelty so repeating something in a different way or at a different time will make the most of the novelty effect and allow you to build stronger memories. Examples of using repletion include: Taking notes. Repeating a name after you hear it for the first time. Repeating or paraphrasing what someone says to you. 2. Organize A day planner or smart phone calendar can help you keep track of appointments and activities and can also serve as a journal in which you write anything that you would like to remember. Writing down and organizing information reinforces learning. Try jotting down conversations, thoughts, experiences. Review current and previous day’s entries at breakfast and dinner. If you use a planner and not a smart phone, keep it in the same spot at home and take it with you whenever you leave. 3. Visualize Learning faces and names is a particularly hard task for most people. In addition to repeating a person’s name, you can also associate the name with an image. Visualization strengthens the association you are making between the face and the name. For example: Link the name Sandy with the image of a beach, and imagine Sandy on the beach. 4. Cue When you are having difficulty recalling a particular word or fact, you can cue yourself by giving related details or “talking around” the word, name, or fact. Other practical ways to cue include: Using alarms or a kitchen timer to remind you of tasks or appointments. Placing an object associated with the task you must do in a prominent place at home. For example, if you want to order tickets to a play, leave a newspaper ad for the play near your telephone or computer. 5. Group When you’re trying to remember a long list of items, it can help to group the items in sets of three to five, just as you would to remember a phone number. This strategy capitalizes on organization and building associations, and helps to extend the capacity of our short-term memory by chunking information together instead of trying to remember each piece of information independently. For example: If you have a list of 15 things on your grocery list, you can group the items by category, such as dairy, produce, canned goods, and frozen foods. Adapted with permission from Harvard Health Letter: July 2014, a special health report published by Harvard Health Publications. More help for memory Age-Related Memory Loss – How to Keep Your Memory Sharp as You Age Alzheimer's and Dementia Prevention – How To Reduce Your Risk and Protect Your Brain as You Age Understanding Dementia – Signs, Symptoms, Types, and Treatment What’s Causing Your Memory Loss? – It's Not Necessarily Alzheimer’s Healthy Lifestyles Easy Ways to Start Exercising – Making Exercise a Fun Part of Your Everyday Life How to Sleep Better – Tips for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep Stress Management – How to Reduce, Prevent, and Cope with Stress Relaxation Techniques for Stress Relief – Finding the Relaxation Exercises That Work for You Healthy Eating – Easy Tips for Planning a Healthy Diet and Sticking to It Staying Healthy As You Age – How to Feel Young and Live Life to the Fullest
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