When first hearing the phrase ‘cognitive ability,’ many individuals may have a vague understanding of the subject — something related to the brain and how it works. Specifically, cognitive ability relates to many parts of the brain’s abundance of capabilities, including its ability to think complex thoughts, solve problems and use past experiences to reason and make future plans. Cognitive ability is important because it is essentially the brain’s functionality, and, just like other physical body parts, if it’s not exercised, it can deteriorate over time. Improving cognitive ability can ensure the brain remains strong in its memory, decision-making capabilities and mental decline. Listed below are the best ways to enhance cognitive ability:
1. Continue to Learn New Skills
A 2013 study published in Psychological Science examined how taking on new experiences and challenges affected older adults’ mental health. They discovered that those individuals who sought new experiences in new places had a much stronger memory and higher cognitive functions overall. This doesn’t mean that everyone should go out and try new experiences that test their limits, like skydiving or bungee jumping. Rather, new experiences could include trying out a new hobby or seeking new group activities like going on a field trip to a new city. On the whole, new experiences keep the mind stimulated and working hard.
2. Keep Up Social Connections
It’s often said that humans are social creatures, and there is lots of scientific evidence to back it up. In general, socialization helps with general mental health, as socializing with others boosts happiness and helps fight depression and anxiety. When it comes to socialization and cognitive ability, it’s been proven that those who socialize boost their brain’s overall intelligence. This is because having conversations with others requires the mind to be active and stimulated to participate. The brain needs to be able to handle abstract ideas and thoughts and express them well.
3. Take Time to Daydream
Isn’t daydreaming bad? At least, that is what society often tells people. A study from 2012 found that the exact opposite is true. Those who daydream have expanded cognitive abilities. This is because daydreaming requires individuals to mentally multi-task. Even though daydreaming individuals may be currently performing a task, they often tend to be thinking other thoughts or fantasies. Daydreaming allows individuals to be able to handle more mental tasks and strengthens the brain’s overall memory.
4. Meditate Whenever Possible
Meditation has always been a popular activity across time and has only become more popular over the years. The many, many benefits to meditation include reduction of stress, increase in self-awareness and the ability to handle negative thoughts and emotions better and, among other things. While these are all great reasons to start meditating, there are additional cognitive benefits to meditation. These include boosts in creativity, a higher ability to focus and mental clarity and stability. These benefits help with keeping the brain’s memory and functioning ability sharp.
5. Have Fun Playing Games
Studies have shown that playing video games can vastly improve cognitive abilities to the pleasure of gamers everywhere. Often, video games require full concentration and the use of many problem-solving skills to succeed.
Individuals of all ages can benefit from tackling games, especially ones that require a lot of thinking. For those who would prefer games that do not involve technology, games like crossword puzzles or Sudoku can be just as equally effective.
The benefits of improving cognitive ability are abundant and should be considered by every individual. Taking part in the above activities improves one’s memory, decision-making skills and overall mental health and happiness. The brain is just as important to exercise as the rest of the body for achieving optimal well-being.