10 Simple Ways to Improve Cognitive Function
Ever wondered why different people have different learning abilities, retention capabilities, reasoning skills, decision making agility, problem solving dexterity, attention span, comprehension, motor and language skills?
An important factor that contributes to all of the above is the efficiency of your cognitive function. Cognitive function governs the nimbleness of your brain, which, in turn, impacts your deftness in perceiving and acquiring knowledge on varied aspects of life.
Our brain influences every task or action that we undertake. The simplest and most challenging of tasks are dependent on specific neuronal networks. When we try to remember any incident or topic, it is majorly our temporal and frontal lobes that are quietly working behind the scenes to unveil all that we have learnt in the past.
As much as we would want a razor-sharp memory for the rest of our lives, matter of fact is our cognitive function tends to wane with passage of time due to sporadic or nil usage of all the available brain skills.
Progressive cognitive disorder can exhibit adverse symptoms such as confusion, memory loss, impaired judgement and motor skill degradation that hinder normal day-to-day functioning. Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Schizophrenia, Depression and Anxiety are few of the associated outcomes. However, not all is lost as cognitive function can certainly be restored and enhanced with few lifestyle changes, therapies and supplements.
If you are wondering how to improve cognitive function, we have few simple tips for you to boost your brain fitness and keep your cerebrum sharp for years to come. Read on to know more.
1. Exercise regularly for overall well-being
If you thought that exercise simply tones your body and helps you loosen fat, then it’s time to rethink. Regular exercise is quintessential not just for a strong body but for a healthy mind as well.
Exercise improves blood circulation, which triggers improved blood flow to the brain. It enhances the effect of various neurotransmitters that play a key role in maintaining a healthy cognitive function. While exercise is beneficial in any form, yet, aerobic exercise is known to be especially therapeutic for the brain. Studies indicate that people who exercise regularly in their formative years and during mid-life are less prone to Dementia and Alzheimer’s as opposed to those who do exercise at all.
2. Engage your brain in mind teasers to optimise its health
Give your weary brain periodic stimulation with a variety of puzzles, teasers and board games. Puzzles help you foster new connections in the brain. They stimulate the brain to prepare itself for new challenges by generating fresh memories. So, let go of the guilt when you indulge yourself in mind games such as Crossword, Sudoku, Scrabble and Tetris every now and then.
Not only will they keep you engaged and engrossed for hours on end but will also make you rack your brains hard while you try to solve them. Do remember to keep the brain alert by altering between different variants of mind teasers. This will ensure that you brain does not become complacent by using stale memories for repetitive games!
3. Be inquisitive and open to new learning
Imagine yourself executing the same task repeatedly for years to come. Sounds downright boring and monotonous right? Well, the same goes for your brain too which tends to lose its edge over a period of time with processing of similar type of information and activity.
Help your brain stay active and lively by learning new things continuously. Enroll for a new course, travel extensively to enrich yourself or simply surf the internet to pick up novel ideals and information. Learning boosts the brain functions by bolstering the connection between the neurons which change their shape and size when you learn something new.
4. Explore uncharted territory with a new hobby
Apart from giving wings to your creative facet, hobbies come with a host of physical and mental benefits. Hobbies challenge the brain positively, help you release stress, regulate cortisol and lower depression levels.
Pursue a hobby that satisfies you emotionally and rewires your brain simultaneously. Picking up a new language skill is a good idea as it makes the brain stronger and enhances intelligence. Studies indicate that people who speak multiple languages demonstrate better cognitive skills including improved decision-making, attention and memory capabilities.
5. Recharge your brain with adequate sleep
Extensive brain workout also demands adequate mental rest. Sleep recharges the body and mind and makes us fresh and ready to take on new challenges. Adults require 7.5 hours to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep in order to function optimally.
During sleep, the brain consolidates all the memory that has been acquired throughout the day. When you are in deep sleep, restorative as well as memory-enhancing activities take place within the body and the mind. No wonder you feel deadbeat, lack clarity of thought and find it difficult to focus when you deprive yourself of a sound sleep.
6. Network extensively to spark your imagination
Networking is a great way to form new associations, rekindle old connections and garner and share novel ideals and information. Humans are social animals by design. Hence, a strong network of family members, relatives, friends and colleagues is essential for strengthening our emotional and brain health.
When we network, we learn from each other and gather new information along the way. Networking inculcates the habit of respecting each other’s views and thought process. Research shows that social engagement is helpful in boosting memory and can delay or prevent the onset of dementia.
Join a social community or a cause-driven forum or simply network with people from various walks of life whenever you get an opportunity. Either ways, you will surely notice the positive outcomes as you experience a gradual improvement in your mental vitality and emotional well-being.
7. Adopt a pet and stimulate your brain health
Pets, particularly dogs, offer us unconditional love and are truly our best friends. They lick us, cuddle in our arms and stare at us with wide innocent eyes when we reprimand them for their misdoings.
Apart from a being a sheer delight to watch, pets provide us emotional fulfilment and reduce our levels of stress and anxiety. When we take out our furry friends for a walk or fool around with them, we actually benefit from all the exercise that we do subconsciously with our pooches and kitties.
Pets have a calming effect on our tired souls and we feel instant joy in their company due to the release of oxytocin which elevates the feeling of happiness in us. Adopt a pet today and make a loyal companion for life.
8. Laugh to your heart’s content
All of us have heard the age-old adage of ‘Laughter is the best medicine’. Indeed, it is! Laughter is a good exercise for the brain as it influences multiple zones within the brain.
Laughter can trigger a spurt in your creativity and learning as these areas are activated when you are laughing your heart out. Moreover, it decreases stress hormones and aids release of endorphins – your natural feel-good hormone. So, don’t shy away from a hearty laugh whenever you can and stay healthy for a long time.
9. Eat a healthy diet spattered with supplements
A vigorous mind needs a healthy diet to keep it ticking. Poor intake of Omega-3 impacts the central nervous system adversely and also promotes memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease. It is imperative that you add liberal doses of omega-3 fats, Vitamin E, Vitamin B12, amino acids and antioxidants in your dietary plan to nourish your brain effectively. Fish, nuts, berries, celery, broccoli, avocados, coconut oil and whole grains are good for robust health of the brain.
Additionally, supplement your diet with the goodness of Tongkat Ali that is known to augment cognitive function. Tongkat Ali is an herbal supplement that improves mental health by reducing the levels of stress hormone called ‘Cortisol’ and boosting specific mood parameters.
10. Alleviate Stress
Chronic stress is a silent killer that exhibits long-term detrimental effects on the body and the mind. Stress damages the hippocampus and impairs the formation of new memories.
Memory loss is an aftermath as the brain is unable to recollect and retrieve old memories. While you may require targeted therapies if the condition assumes gargantuan proportions, yet, natural remedies such as meditation, counselling, healthy work-life balance, fruitful relationships, spiritual growth and frequent time-outs can help you to manage your stress more effectively.
We hope you will leverage the above tips and find them helpful in ameliorating your cognitive function as well as your overall well-being. Lastly, it is important to have a positive outlook in life since nothing supersedes the curative properties of a positive mind that is so essential in transforming us into well-rounded human beings.