Bleak? Yes, but it also explains why we should take care of our brains while we still have the chance. You must take proactive measures to enhance and maintain your cognitive thinking abilities if you wish to maintain them well into your senior years. Fortunately, even as an adult, the brain continues to develop and evolve. Because our brains are malleable, they can alter throughout time. Therefore, while you still have the chance, it makes sense to acquire certain techniques for honing your cognitive thinking.
This post will provide you with 6 techniques to maintain and enhance your cognitive thinking that have been supported by science and study. The last three are techniques to enhance higher-order cognitive thinking abilities throughout the day, while the first three create the groundwork for good brain functioning.
1. Reduce Stress
When under stress, the human brain doesn’t function at its best. According to research, conditions including depression, dementia, and post-traumatic stress disorder are made worse by stress or are even caused by it. Hence, stress management is essential for maintaining good mental and physical health. These are some techniques for stress management.
There are numerous ways to reduce stress. Breathing exercises, meditation, and going for walks are a few of the best.
Breathing techniques for reducing stress should involve taking slow, deliberate breaths. While you breathe in and out, concentrate on the breath itself. This distracts you from your stressors and gives your brain the oxygen it requires for the best cognitive thinking possible.
Stress reduction is another benefit of meditation. Stress levels can be significantly reduced by practicing meditation for even five minutes every day.
More than making yourself stop thinking, meditation is about keeping an eye on your ideas. Let new ideas come and go as they arise in your mind. To aid in their meditation practice, some people imagine their thoughts to be clouds.
TAKE A WALK
When you’re under pressure, it’s frequently preferable to leave than to push through. Take a break to calm down. Take a walk outside to help you relax and stop being overly reactive. Also, spending time in outdoors is healthy for the soul.
2. Do Aerobic Activity
Exercise aerobically is another approach to enhance cognitive functioning. It has been demonstrated that stopping the natural decline in the frontal, parietal, and temporal cortices, which reduces cognitive processing, may be accomplished by moving your body and speeding up your heart and breathing rates. Age-related degeneration of these areas is a given, although aerobic activity can halt the process.
Even while you might not think walking is strenuous enough to qualify as aerobic exercise, it very definitely does. Simply pick up the pace and move as quickly as you can. Your cognitive thinking will be much improved by daily 20 minutes of brisk walking.
Swimming is a fantastic aerobic exercise option. You won’t even notice that you’re perspiring as you complete laps in the pool because it’s gentle on the joints.
Certain forms of yoga, like Ashtanga, can improve your cardiovascular health in addition to enhancing your flexibility and promoting meditation.
3. Get Plenty of Sleep
Also, studies show that getting enough sleep is crucial for optimum cognitive function. According to one study, sleep might be essential to memory. The brain weakens some synaptic connections during sleep while strengthening others. Fundamentally, sleep is necessary for your brain to sort through everything that occurs to you each day, retaining the significant events and forgetting the less significant ones. Adults are advised to get at least seven hours of sleep every night. Never forget that you can never make up for lost sleep. Important is consistency.
4. Cognitive Simulations
The foundation for bettering cognitive thinking is laid by reducing stress, exercising, and getting enough sleep. However, there are three more tactics you can use throughout the day to really strengthen your brain. Crossword puzzles and Sudoku come to mind as examples of cognitive simulations, which are actually just mental exercises that require solving new issues using prior information.
Because the brain is plastic, or pliable, cognitive simulations enhance the brain’s cognitive processing capacities. You lose your brain’s capacity to process new information and come up with solutions if you don’t use it.
Consequently, it’s imperative to maintain mental challenge and activity. Cognitive simulations are a method for accomplishing that.
5. Thinking Aloud
Thinking aloud is a technique you might use as your next cognitive thinking improvement strategy. It’s as easy as it seems. Speak your thoughts out loud rather than keeping them to yourself.
A fantastic training technique is thinking aloud. It aids the teacher in identifying areas where the student’s comprehension needs work. Also, it has been demonstrated to enhance nurses’ clinical outcomes. Thinking out loud forces you to express every aspect of a problem, which prevents mistakes.
6. Concept Mapping
Concept mapping can also help you think more clearly cognitively. Imagine word webs as a visual representation of someone’s thinking; this is concept mapping. Concept maps are essentially simple diagrams that show all the linkages and connections between ideas. In one study, idea maps helped graduate-level nurses’ critical thinking.
Similar to thinking aloud, idea mapping highlighted errors in students’ reasoning while simultaneously enhancing their capacity for critical thought. Similar to the adage, “If you really want to learn something, teach it,” By outlining our knowledge, we compel ourselves to reflect on everything we know and everything we don’t about a certain subject. This improves our comprehension and identifies the areas where we still need to learn more.