4 Steps You Can Take To Become More Cognitive
Memory and brain health are a concern for many people as they age. Cognitive abilities are brain-based skills that anyone can improve. We need cognitive skills to carry out any task, whether it is simple or complex, for making decisions and remembering things. The human brain is incredibly flexible, and has the ability to adapt and change, known as neuroplasticity. Due to the brain’s natural neuroplasticity, it is possible to improve your memory and increase your cognitive abilities at any age. Here are four habits you can adopt to improve your cognitive function.
There is a lot of research showing a positive correlation between exercise and cognitive function. Physical exercise, especially aerobic exercise, increases oxygen flow to the brain. It also decreases the risk of common diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes which lead to memory loss. Exercises that require hand-eye coordination are very helpful for forming and strengthening neural pathways and boosting the brain.
2. Give your brain a workout
Brain boosting games and puzzles are favorites for sharpening cognitive skills. Your brain has thousands of neural pathways that allow you to solve problems and execute tasks. However if you remain on the same well worn paths for decades without giving your brain new stimulation, it will not develop, grow or remain flexible. Just like exercising the body, your brain needs a workout, too. Do brain exercises to break your routines and mental pathways. Play brain boosting games, take a new route home, solve puzzles or learn a new skill. Think of something you’ve always wanted to do, like learning Spanish or playing guitar that will keep you challenged and having fun.
Meditation both improves cognitive skills and helps to relax. Relaxation is extremely important for our cognitive health because when we are chronically stressed, brain cells are destroyed. In addition the hippocampus, the main area of the brain responsible for memory function becomes damaged through stress. Meditation improves the essential everyday cognitive skills of attention and memory, learning and problem solving. From school children to older adults, meditation has been shown to increase cognitive abilities and mental flexibility.
3. Engage in activities that involve creativity
Creative thinking involves both hemispheres of the brain and improves communication between the various brain areas. Brain stimulating activities such as writing or practicing a musical instrument enhance connectivity in the brain and involve solving problems in novel ways.
4. Network with other people
Improving your memory doesn’t just involve serious brain workouts. Taking time for making social connections boosts our cognitive health. Countless researchers have found that having a life filled with friends and laughter has cognitive benefits. Relationships stimulate our brains. Volunteer, join a club and visit friends who make you laugh to experience the brain boosting benefits.