5 Vital Tips on How to Improve Your Cognitive Functions
Cognitive functionality refers to a variety of mental abilities that allow us to perform vital tasks such as decision-making, learning, problem-solving, reasoning, remembering and thinking. These cognitive functions are required in our lives on a daily basis as they enable us to navigate through life and overcome different hurdles encountered along the way.
Enhancing our cognitive functions is a central component of Visdon Australia’s purpose and we’ve outlined 5 useful tips to help both improve your cognitive functionality and also lessen their decline rate as we age.
1. Physical Activity and Exercise
Did you know that physical activity such as playing sports and exercising have wonderful benefits for our cognitive functions and overall brain health?
This is because during exercise certain hormones increase and may assist with memory improvement. Scientific research conducted in the last decade has also reinforced this theory. In recent years, researchers at Dana-Farber and Harvard Medical School discovered that a specific molecule called irisin is produced by our brains during endurance exercises such as jogging and swimming. Irisin is believed to possess neutro-protective effects, making it relevant for our cognitive abilities.
So next time when you’re feeling lazy, try motivating yourself to get up from the couch and do some burpees with the knowledge that it will help improve your cognitive functions!
2. Meditation and Mindfulness
There are numerous health benefits associated with practicing meditation and mindfulness. Not only do they enhance your physical state but they also play a significant role in shaping our brain health.
Meditation has the ability to change brain patterns and reduce stress, thereby slowing down the advancement of age-related, cognitive disorders such as Alzeihmer’s Disease and different forms of dementia.
Conversely, it’s been proven by neuroscientists that chronic stress and high levels of cortisol can damage our brains. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley discovered that long-term, negative changes in brain structure and function are generated by chronic stress, leading to a progressive decline in cognitive functions.
Their learnings might provide an explanation as to why young individuals who have suffered from chronic stress early in life are more prone to mental issues such as anxiety and mood disorders. This can also severely impact their ability to regulate their emotions and to learn and process new information.
By reducing our cortisol and stress levels, we can maintain healthier brains and improve our cognitive abilities. By combining meditation with the employment of mindfulness elements such as grounding, acceptance and specific breathing exercises, we can inch closer towards achieving that goal.
3. Increasing Social Interactions
John Cacioppo, a renowned Social Neuroscience researcher, has conducted extensive study into loneliness and how it can cause our cognitive functions to decline.
His research discovered that when an individual experiences feelings of isolation from others, it can disrupt their sleeping patterns, elevate stress hormones, alter gene expression in immune cells, heighten depression and cause a regression in general well-being.
These elements all merge to negatively impact our brain health, leading to a decline in cognitive functionality performance.
Therefore, it’s important to increase our social connections to reinforce our brain health. By feeling supported and having a regular sense of belonging, community and engagement with others, we can not only improve our emotional well-being but also enhance our overall cognitive functions.
4. Brain-Exercising Games
Games and activities such as sudoku and jigsaw puzzles stimulate our thought processes and have been linked to a rise in electrical pulses (called “spikes”) in our neutral circuits. These spikes have a direct connection to our ability to learn and to memorise.
In 2014, John Hopkins University researchers reported as few as 10 sessions of cognitive training improved an elderly person’s reasoning ability and processing speed for up to a decade afterwards. Based on this example, it’s reasonable to theorise that if we all participated more frequently in these brain-training games and activities, we could dramatically increase our chances of fighting off dementia and Alzehimer’s Disease as we age.
5. Having Sufficient Sleep
For decades, we have known that the human brain requires sleep to enable our learning and memory. As a result, there is a direct correlation between our cognitive functionality levels and our sleeping patterns.
According to Yuka Sasaki, a research associate professor in Brown University’s Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences, our brains undergo intensive activity to consolidate learning and memory. When we are asleep, the brain benefits from having less distractions and fewer new inputs, and that enables it to utilise more energy to properly process information and knowledge that has recently been stored.
It is recommended that we have at least seven to eight hours of sleep per night. Now that we are aware that having enough sleep will enable our cognitive functions, we should place greater priority on sleeping properly over staying up all night and binge-watching Netflix!
As you can glean from this article, there are a variety of methods that will help maximise our cognitive functions. These range from doing physical exercise to more mental well-being activities such as mindfulness and meditation. What is most prevalent is that we need to place higher emphasis on doing our best to enhance our cognitive health and look after our brain more consistently as
To learn more about our flagship product, Rebrain, which helps maintain healthy cognitive functions, visit here.