Scientists used to believe that cognitive abilities peaked at a very young age, but modern research has shown us that this is not always true. There are quite a few habits that can actually improve cognitive skills such as short-term memory, long-term memory, and reaction times. Read ahead for a look at five habits that you can start building today to improve your cognitive abilities.
1. Sleep Right
Your overall health and cognitive skills might be more intertwined than you think. Studies have revealed that poor physical health can affect one’s mental and psychological health. The average adult needs seven hours of restorative sleep per night. Individuals that continuously get less than seven hours of sleep a night will severely impact their memory, decision-making skills, and all other cognitive functions.
2. Stay Social
Humans are social creatures by nature, and interacting with friends, family members, and coworkers on a daily basis could actually slow your rate of memory decline. Maintaining relationships with people that have different worldviews will also help you develop your empathy. Individuals with a strong sense of empathy are able to approach difficult problems from multiple angles in order to come up with a solution. Joining a club or volunteering are two excellent options for making new acquaintances that share the same interests.
3. Meditate Daily
Studies continue to show us that daily meditation can help with a wide variety of psychological issues ranging from chronic stress to depression. When it comes to your cognitive skills, keeping these issues at bay will allow you to fully focus on the most important tasks. Unfortunately, meditating is not as easy as it seems, and it will take some time to master this skill. The best way to start this habit is to spend five or ten minutes every day in a quiet and relaxing area. You should focus on your breathing and try to avoid allowing your mind to wander.
4. Maintain a Healthy Diet
Your brain needs a healthy diet in order to stay efficient, and one of the best habits for improving cognitive functions is to keep healthy snacks nearby at all times. The best snacks are fresh fruits and vegetables that contain antioxidants. Antioxidants can protect you from free radicals that attack your brain cells. It is also important to limit the amount of alcohol, caffeine, and saturated fat that you consume. As an alternative to alcoholic beverages and sugar-laden energy drinks, you should consider switching over to memory-boosting green tea.
5. Don’t Stop Learning New Skills
Your brain is filled with billions of neural pathways that help you solve familiar problems with a minimum amount energy. Over time, the average adult will stop building new neural pathways and their cognitive skills will suffer because of it. No matter your age, you should try to keep learning new skills in order to exercise and stimulate your brain. Activities that use your hands such as playing an instrument or knitting are especially beneficial to brain development.