Developing cognitive abilities shouldn’t be limited to babies and children. It’s also important to develop cognitive abilities for adults because as we grow older, we lose our cognitive abilities. Based on studies, a reduced cognitive function may lead to premature ageing and reduced life expectancy.
You should constantly challenge your brain, learn new things, and engage yourself in new activities in order to enhance your brain and protect your cognitive function as you age. In today’s world, people are adopting to lifestyle changes that focus on improving cognitive function, brain structure, and connectivity because they play an important role in your life. They influence your goals, wellbeing, productivity, and social life.
Cognitive abilities are the skills that the brain acquires over time. They can be strengthened and trained.
There are various ways to build better cognition and to lessen the chances of having Alzheimer’s or dementia later on in life. Here are some of them:
1. Read a book
Reading is still one of the best ways to increase mental capacity and keep your brain working. It is a brain-stimulating activity that develops critical thinking and imagination.
It’s best to read a book before sleeping to get the maximum benefit.
Exercise is important for your overall health but it also has the following benefits for your brain:
- Increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain, particularly to the hippocampus which is responsible for memory
- Certain hormones that are increased during exercise help improve one’s memory
- Protect the brain from deteriorating as you age
- Make you a better thinker and improve your mood
- Reduce production of stress hormones that negatively affects cognitive abilities
- Reduce the risk of having Alzheimer’s or dementia
- Stimulate growth factors that can improve the heath of brain cells
- Increase production of chemicals that are beneficial to the brain such as those that are enhancing new neuronal connections and facilitating growth factor production.
3.Get enough sleep
Based on studies, the brain requires sleep in order to consolidate learning and memory.
Most people tend to neglect sleep not realizing that depriving yourself of sleep can take a toll on your health and on your cognitive abilities in the long run. The effects may not be visible right away but the long term effect can cause damage to your brain and to your overall health.
You need to sleep at least 6 to 7 hours a day to complete the recommended cycle of sleep. Without enough sleep, you get less energy, your memory gets worse, you feel restless, your body breaks down quicker, and you are more susceptible to stress. A poor quality of sleep reduces the gray matter volume in your brain’s frontal lobe, that helps control important processes of the brain such as executive function and working memory.
Sleep is a way to reorganize the brain and once you get enough sleep, you get more energy to be able to process new things and think clearly. You don’t get easily distracted.
4.Experience something new
Learning something new and acquiring new skills stimulates the brain. It helps a lot in improving your cognitive function. If your brain is already used to doing the things that are already familiar, it won’t improve your cognitive function. You must do something that is not familiar and that is mentally challenging. The learning activity develops new connections between neutrons that help offset the loss of cells brought about by diseases or aging.
5.Solve different kinds of puzzles
Try solving different kinds of puzzles such as crossword puzzles, Sudoku, cryptograms, acrostics, etc. Variety is good for the brain. You can also start with one type of puzzle and once you get used to it, move to another one that is more difficult. This will stimulate new brain activity and learning. The brain must generate new memories so that it can master something new.
According to studies, one of the consequences of feeling lonely is a decline in cognitive and psychological functions. The feeling of isolation disrupts sleep, increases stress hormones, elevates blood pressure, increases depression, lowers overall well-being, and alters the expression of genes in immune cells. All of these disturb the optimal brain function and reduce the cognitive function.
You can interact with others face to face, through social media, or online just like homework helpers. When you interact with other people, you expose yourself to new people, thoughts, ideas, environment, etc. and you open yourself up to new opportunities for your cognitive growth. Meeting new people who are not in your circle lets you see problems from a new perspective or offer ideas that haven’t come across your mind before. You get to learn something new about others.
7.Eat food that helps boost cognitive abilities
There are a couple of foods that can help you boost your cognitive abilities. Examples of food that help boost your brain are salmon, avocado, kale, walnuts, organic berries, sardines, and green tea.
The brain is the most important part of the body. If it doesn’t function well, it will affect all your other body parts. A non-fully functional brain slows down the response of the body and growth. It’s your responsibility to take good care of your brain. What the mind needs is proper training.