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How to Improve Cognitive Functions

Every day, you spend hours completing one task after another. As you are doing those tasks, you never seem to wonder how you are getting things done. At least, most people don’t anyway. You are using mental processes to do the work. If you are struggling to complete certain tasks, you may find yourself wondering how to improve cognitive functions. There are numerous documented ways to improve your memory. So, when you are looking at ways how to improve cognitive functioning, it is best to consider methods that actually work. 

What are Cognitive Functions? 

Cognitive functions are all those mental processes you use to complete a task. The processes you utilize the most include:

  • Receiving
  • Choosing
  • Transforming
  • Storing
  • Processing
  • Retrieval of information

As for the most important cognitive functions, you will find yourself utilizing these the most: 

  • Attention – Ability to direct and execute actions appropriately 
  • Orientation – Awareness of oneself and surroundings
  • Memory – Ability to store and retrieve prior knowledge and experiences
  • Gnosis – Ability to recognize prior knowledge from our senses
  • Executive functions – Complex processes needed for planning, organizing, evaluating, etc. 
  • Praxis – Learned motor activities
  • Language – Ability to understand and use words both spoken and written
  • Social cognition – Processes used in society
  • Visuospatial skills – Ability to represent, analyze, and mentally manipulate objects

How to Improve Cognitive Functions

Above, I mentioned there are numerous documented ways to improve your cognitive functions. You simply need to be aware of the strategies you must use to retrain these functions for the better. I have a few favorite cognitive function training exercises to share with you today. 

Physical Activity

Physical activity has been shown to improve cognitive functions. Hormones that are released during physical activity are known to improve memory. Specific molecules, like irisin, are produced in the brain during exercise. Those molecules have neuroprotective effects in many people. 

Staying active is one of the best ways to keep cognitive functions at the level they were when you were much younger.  

Try New Experiences

Traveling to new destinations. Learning new skills. Participating in new activities. These can all lead to better cognitive functioning. 

All these new experiences can be mentally challenging. Therefore, your brain is stimulated and works harder. 

It was long thought that puzzles, or other less-demanding activities, would accomplish this. Those still can, but not as well as more active experiences will. 

Be Curious and Creative

Being curious and creative are two things that are quite helpful in improving cognitive functions. When you participate in creative activities, the communication between different areas of your brain is strengthened. 

Simply practicing a musical instrument can increase your brain volume. It also allows your brain to interpret sensory information differently. 

Reading books and writing can accomplish the same thing. Reading a fictional book will allow you to put yourself in another person’s shoes. You can then imagine the scenes of what you are reading. 

Improve Social Connections

Being isolated from other people will not help your cognitive functioning. Instead, it will disrupt your sleep, increase depression, and elevate your blood pressure. To avoid all those things, and improve your cognitive functions, it is best to stay socially connected. 

Brain-Training Games

There are dozens of brain-training games available for you to play. Problem-solving puzzles can help delay, or even prevent, cognitive function and Alzheimer’s. 

Playing a brain-training game at least ten times can improve your reasoning. It can also speed up your processing skills. Continuing to play the same game, or new games can assist in additional cognitive functioning improvement. 

Sleep More

One of the best ways to learn how to improve your cognitive functioning is to sleep more. This may seem simple, but sleeping more is not easy for some people. 

When you are sleeping, your brain is reorganizing. It is also getting the rest it needs without interruptions or new information being introduced. 

Meditate Regularly

Reducing your stress levels through meditating regularly can be helpful in improving your cognitive functions. It can also slow down cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s. 

If you have never meditated before, it isn’t difficult to do. There are many apps out there that can help you get started. To receive the best results, you should meditate for at least ten minutes each day. You may need to start with a few minutes and work your way up to ten minutes or more. But you will get there. 

Reduce Chronic Stress

Meditating can be quite helpful in reducing certain levels of stress. But you may need to do a little more to reduce chronic stress. It is common knowledge that the levels of cortisol the brain receives from high-stress levels can cause damage. One of the best ways to lower cortisol levels is to reduce chronic stress. 

Practicing yoga is one way to reduce chronic stress levels. You may also find the same results from a good workout, a vacation, or a night out with friends. The goal is to never let your stress reach chronic levels. 

Maintain Stable Vitamin D Levels

Being vitamin D deficient is more common than people think. Especially during the winter months. Maintaining stable vitamin D levels is important for cognitive function. If your levels are too low, you won’t be able to think as quickly. You will also see other cognitive functioning skills decline. 

Boost Your Omega-3 Levels

Omega-3s are fatty acids that have been known to improve cognitive functions. They also play a prominent role in brain development. You can eat foods like fish, spinach, walnuts, and seafood to get the omega-3s your body needs. 

If you can’t get enough omega-3s in your diet, you can easily take a cognitive supplement if your doctor thinks it is necessary, but be sure to read the cognitive supplement review first to get others’ opinions.

Eat Healthy Foods

We understand that you crave pizza, burgers, cake, and ice cream on occasion. However, when you are looking at how to improve cognitive functions, your diet should be at the top of the list. Foods high in omega-3s are some of the best foods for cognitive function. 

If you are looking to eat other healthy foods to assist in increasing your cognitive functions, even more, you should consider organic berries, kale, and avocados. Green tea and raw dairy are two other options for better cognitive functioning.  

Stay Hydrated 

It is important to stay hydrated. Being even mildly dehydrated can create decreased memory and attention to detail. You can drink almost anything to stay hydrated. Water is recommended the most though. 

It is best to consume caffeinated drinks carefully. They do improve cognitive functions by increasing mental processing speeds and accuracy. However, too much caffeine can have the opposite effect. Drinking too many caffeinated beverages can also cause insomnia, anxiety, and stress. Those three things are ones you want to avoid when you are trying to improve your cognitive functions. 

These are the best ways to start improving your cognitive functions. If you have been wondering how to improve cognitive functions for yourself or someone else, you now have the answers. You do not need to do everything on this list. Start with one and then add others in, as you begin to see positive changes. It is not difficult to understand how to improve cognitive functioning. But it is something you need to work on every day to see the results.


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