Cognition in simple terms is the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses. Improving cognition can only happen when you give your brain a full workout. That means engaging both hemispheres of the cerebrum and cerebellum.
Here is How to Improve Cognitive Abilities
- Engage In More Physical Activity
Research has linked that certain hormones released during physical activity may help improve memory. Physical activity is beneficial for brain health and improving cognition.
- Be Open to New Learning Experiences
A 2013 study found that acquiring new skills and maintaining social relationships is key to staying bright as we age. This allows us to flex our mental muscles and improve our overall cognitive function.
Leaving your comfort zone to do something unfamiliar to you poses a challenge mentally. This leads to broad stimulation mentally and boosts cognition.
- Be In Touch With Your Creative Side
Participation in arts and crafts as a child often leads to innovation as an adult. It was also discovered that musical training had a lot to play in keeping the mind sharp. Practicing a musical instrument takes a large part of brainpower and strengthens communication between areas of the brain.
Reading books and writing has been proven to preserve memory at any age. Creativity stimulates the brain and improves cognitive abilities.
- Form and Sustain Social Connections
Research has found that feelings of abandonment and loneliness can provoke cognitive and psychological decline. This can also cause insomnia, elevated blood pressure, cortisol (stress hormone), and increase depression. All these lead to poor quality of life.
The effect of social connection with other human beings on our overall health cannot be downplayed.
- Get Enough Sleep At Night
The brain “shuts down” every day for a reason. The brain consolidates learning and memory during this “downtime” because there are fewer sensory inputs that are going on when we are asleep. It is important to take a few hours every day to sleep to keep your mind sharp.
- Reduce Stress
Neuroscientists have discovered that high levels of cortisol can damage the brain. Reducing chronic stress helps maintain a healthy brain structure and connectivity. High cortisol levels can cause long-term damage which in turn lead to cognitive decline.
High-stress levels in people make them susceptible to mental problems like anxiety and depression. It could also result in learning difficulties.
Do Brain Games Really Prevent Cognitive Decline
In recent times, there is a whole industry of brain training games to improve mental capacity. However, these games cannot truly stave off mental decline. While these games have some benefits to them, they don’t make use of all the neurons in the brain or stimulate generations of new neurons.
Total brain stimulation occurs by practicing, learning new things, and analyzing. These processes cannot take place just by being immobile, staring at a screen. Also, these brain games only work on the cerebrum ignoring the cerebellum where half the total number of brain neurons are located.