Of the things we value most, our memories might be at the top of the list. We are a species that lives for reminiscing, for the goose bumps of nostalgia to grace our skin. Being unable to remember the sound of a loved one's laughter or the smell of your childhood home are some of the few things that leave us feeling more lost than ever. Forgetting is inarguably one of the most difficult parts of growing up.

There are, however, ways to keep your memory alive and well for a very long time.

1. Sleep

Perhaps the most obvious of steps is the most important one: Sleep. When we sleep, our brain takes that much needed time of rest to shift our learned memories and skills from our short-term storage to more efficient and permanent regions.

In this way, over time, we are able to greatly increase proficiency in memory retention and skill development--all very important skills to keep. Make time for your brain to rest, and you'll find yourself recalling things you didn't even know you had tucked away to reflect on.

2. Spend time with people who make you laugh

You know what they say in college: You never remember the nights you spent hunched over your chemistry textbook until four in the morning. The same applies to the rest of our lives as well. When we recall choice moments, the first ones that come to mind are the funny memories, the ones that bring smiles to our lips without our even realizing it.

Practice your ability to form these stories, recollections, and memories by surrounding yourself with people who you love. Everything takes practice. Many of us simply don't realize memory building is one of them.

3. Eat brain foods

Something we often overlook that can aid our brain's development is the consumption of healthy fats. Especially important are our omega-3's; we should consume things like fatty fish or walnuts in order to keep our healthy fatty-acid count high in our brains.

Antioxidant-rich foods, like green tea or acai berries, are particularly helpful for preventing excessive damage to our living tissues. Other drinks which are rich in resveratrol, like cranberry juice or red wine, are great for increasing blood flow in the brain and decreasing one's risk for Alzheimer's if consumed in moderation.

We only get one life. There's no reason to waste any time forgetting it.

Published on: Oct 8, 2015
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.