What do you do when you meet a former colleague, and you cannot remember their name? Yikes! Embarrassing!! Right?.
During one of our webinars, a company’s senior executive threw me a query on this scenario. He said, “I was in a clients office recently when a person yelled out to me, ‘Hello Boss, how are you?'” And he said, “I was standing in front of the person. I was blank. I tried hard to recall his name but failed. I could not identify him at all.
The senior executive went on to say, “I smiled, and I said, ‘Hi, I’m fine’ and kept going.” Lately, I inquired about his name and learned that we spent around two years in the same company.
Do you also find it challenging to remember a 10-15 items shopping list? Are you facing challenges in paying attention while switching from one task to another? Does this affect your day-to-day life?
No worries! Resort to Cognitive training! Just like exercise plays an essential role in maintaining our physical health, Cognitive training for the brain does so.
Before deep-diving into Cognitive training let’s understand related terminologies first. Cognition refers to the mental processes involved in comprehension and the gaining of knowledge. These processes include remembering, judging, problem-solving, knowing and thinking. Cognitive psychology investigates how people think and processes involved in cognition.
Types of cognitive processes
One of the core deliveries of any cognitive training program is to improvise Cognitive processes. let’s understand these aspects in nut shell.
Attention, a cognitive process, allows one to concentrate on a specific stimulus in the environment.
Language is a cognitive process that involves understanding and expressing one’s thoughts and emotions through written and spoken words. Language allows one to communicate with others and plays a significant role in thinking.
Learning involves taking in new things, interpreting, analyzing, synthesizing information, and integrating it with past knowledge.
Memory and necessary cognitive processes allow people to decode, store and retrieve information. It is a vital component in learning and will enable people to learn about the world and their personal histories.
Perception allows people to take information from their senses and then utilize it to interact with the world. It will enable a person to indulge in decision making problem solving, and higher reasoning.
Cognitive processes affect every phase of life, from school to work to relationships to the workspace, making cognitive training a must-have into early childhood. Some specific uses of Cognitive skills are:
Learning new things requires forming memories, making connections, and taking in further information that you already know. It allows one also to learn a new concept.
Cognition plays a vital role in the decision-making process. It requires comparing old information with new knowledge before making a choice.
Impact of cognition
The information of what you see, hear, taste, touch and smell is first transformed into signals that your brain can understand and interpret. This perpetual process allows you to take in sensory information and convert it into signals that your brain can interpret and act upon.
As the world is full of sensory experiences, one has to interpret all the incoming information to bring down your experience of the world down to fundamentals i.e.critical concepts and ideas that you require.
Filling in gaps
As the information is reduced, it is also required to make it more memorable and understandable to elaborate on these memories and reconstruct them whenever needed. This elaboration happens when it is difficult for them to remember something. The brain fills in the missing data with whatever is likely to fit in.
Interacting with the world
Cognition impacts what goes inside our heads and how these thoughts affect our behavior, mental processes, and actions. Our attention to the memories of past events, the world around us, understanding languages, judgments about the world, and the ability to solve problems directly impact how we behave and interact with the environment.
What are Cognitive Skills?
Cognitive skills are the fundamental skills the brain uses to think, remember, learn, read, pay attention and reason. These skills play an essential role in carrying out any task from the simplest to the most complicated. Cognitive skills also help you solve problems in the workplace and improve your work quality with your potential.
Importance of Cognitive skills
Cognitive skills are required in an interview and on a resume which makes you an appropriate candidate. You can develop the skills throughout your life, but improving them can make you better with your organization’s abilities.
Cognitive skills help the brain to reason, remember, solve problems, read, think, hold attention, and understand. They allow you to register the new information by taking that information and distributing it to your brain’s various areas. From here we can understand why multi-model cognitive training, stimulating all parts of the brain, is so crucial.
Strengthening your cognitive skills is vital, which can help you perform better in almost every aspect of life. Improving your focus and concentration skills can help you stay at the task and help you become a more active listener, enhancing your relationships. Building your logical and reasoning skills can also help you generate innovative solutions for difficult challenges. To know more please visit our blog here
Age-related impairments in reasoning, memory and processing speed can arise in people during adulthood and progress into the elders. As we get older, our cognitive abilities eventually deteriorate. Cognitive decline in a certain amount is a normal part of aging. Some people will experience a severe deterioration in cognitive skills, which leads to dementia. This situation can make it impossible for them to cope with ordinary day-to-day tasks. People differ significantly in how their brains and the rest of their bodies decline with age.
This significant decline in cognitive functioning considerably varies depending on genetic influence, early environment, education and social class in adulthood. The deterioration in cognitive functioning has also been attributed to alcohol consumption, fruit and vegetable intake, cigarette smoking and low exercise. A severe extent of cognitive decline is not unavoidable and remains one of the most significant concerns in the current scenario of our aging populations around the world. Cognitive impairment and severe levels of mental deterioration represent essential predictors for the development of dementia.
What is Normal Cognitive Aging?
Normal cognitive aging is a crude average; it also hides the truth that there are more or less successful cognitive change trajectories as people grow older. Identifying the risk factors for and mechanisms of individual differences in age-related cognitive decline is one of the most significant issues to improving the health of older people. The spectrum of deterioration ranges from normal cognitive aging to dementias.
In Cognitive aging, there is a little decline in some mental functions such as vocabulary, numerical skills and general knowledge, while other mental capabilities decline from middle age onwards or even earlier. These cognitive functions are vital for carrying out everyday activities living independently and for general health and wellbeing.
The aspects of age-related decline are seen altogether; the slowed speed of information processing accounts for our large proportion of the age-related degeneration in all cognitive domains. The slowing of the speed of brain processing begins in young adulthood. To schedule and undertake multiple activities every day appears to be sensitive to aging, and particularly striking impairments in dual-tasking or multitasking appear to signal the onset of dementia.
Aging changes cognition. As you get older, your cognitive abilities gradually deteriorate. Some people experience severe deterioration in cognitive skills, which leads to dementia. This makes it almost impossible for one to cope up with the day-to-day tasks, and it becomes difficult to interpret things easily. Cognitive aging occurs differently for a different person. To read more please visit our blog here
Multi-modal Brain Training can be a great tool to slow down cognitive aging and improve cognitive skills.
What is Cognitive Training?
Cognitive training also called brain training, is a non-pharmacological methodology that involves a sequence of mental activities aimed to help maintain or even increase a person’s cognitive abilities.
Mental abilities targeted by cognitive training include working memory, reasoning, problem-solving, cognitive flexibility and attention. Besides specific brain training, some more general mental activity forms also help retain or improve mental fitness and cognitive functioning. It focuses on keeping the brain fit just as exercise improves and maintains physical health.
Several types of mental training activities take various forms, including playing video games, participating in creative pursuits, and staying engaged socially and physically.
These activities aim to help people become better at things like reasoning, solving problems and learning. These brain training activities also target assisting people in remembering more for improving their cognitive ability to pay attention and focus. These abilities play a crucial role in daily life.
May it be focusing while completing any daily task without getting distracted or reading with concentration. Research says that these abilities are strongly connected to school achievements, intelligence, and overall success.
Brain training is essential because it has several uses like slowing the cognitive declines associated with aging, helping older adults remain more independent and sharpening their mental skills needed in daily life to accomplish the required tasks.
Several mental abilities tend to deteriorate with age, including reaction time, decision making, processing speed, short-term memory and planning skills. Brain training enhances these abilities, and it also helps to reduce the risks of some age-related memory problems.
Improving brain fitness
Cognitive training may or may not work but indulging in mentally stimulating activities is crucial for daily life. You must challenge your brain and sharpen it to protect it as you age. You can do mental exercises or some brain-enhancing activities that might be helpful. For example, try to learn a new language, learn how to play an instrument, draw a map from your memory, do math in your head, memorize a list to test your recall, play Sudoku or put together a Jigsaw puzzle.
Brain training plays an essential role in achieving targeted therapeutic goals; it enhances self-esteem and develops problem-solving strategies. It aims at improving memory, attention, perception, planning, judgment, reasoning, general learning and overall executive functioning. In turn, brain training also leads to improvements in self-awareness, self-confidence and emotional stability.
Types of Cognitive training
Cognitive therapy is based on the method that the way people perceive their experiences influence both their emotions and behavior is. Cognitive therapy focuses on improving specific traits, behavior, or cognitive skills such as flexibility and planning, executive functions.
Meditation has proved to have improved specific cognitive functions such as focus and attention. It is considered a brain training technique. It also reduces mental stress and makes one calm.
Biofeedback is another way of brain training in which a hardware device is used to measure and graphically display various physiological variables, including skin conductivity and heart rate visibility. It teaches users to learn how to manage stress in a better way. There are several ways to hone your sharpness and keep your brain healthy. Specific brain exercises also help enhance brain memory, concentration, and focus and make daily tasks easier and quicker.
You can have fun with a Jigsaw puzzle which can challenge and exercise your brain. You can spend some time playing cards which also improves focus, intelligence, thinking skills and memory. You can build your vocabulary with any exciting brain game. Learning dance steps and moves can increase your brain’s processing speed and memory. You can try Zumba, Jazz, or exercise class to challenge your brain to remember those tricky moves.
You can also do exercises that engage all five of your senses—for example, baking a cake, trying a new restaurant while you focus on smelling, touching, tasting, seeing and hearing at all times. Learning a new skill does not require a particular age. For example, driving, riding a horse, etc. You can listen to or play music, making your brain capable of learning new skills and relaxing them.
The environment also plays a vital role in the brain’s training—the presence of green, noise and environmental setting influences cognitive abilities. Increased urbanization poses significant challenges of lifestyle for older persons concerning mental health. Different environmental characteristics like urban or rural settings play a significant role in affecting cognitive performance.
When so much importance is given to physical exercise, then why not exercise your brain? Your brain reaches its peak performance at 16 to 25 years, and that is when cognitive functioning begins to decline. But there are specially tailored exercises to meet your personal needs. People usually try to keep their brains active by solving a Jigsaw puzzle or engaging in a social get-together. But some of them are not very effective in training the brain.
Science has come up with an innovative way to stay mentally active with customized and personalized brain exercises. These brain exercises challenge your memory, boost your attention, and enhance your logic and verbal skills to various brain exercises.
These exercises play a critical role in day-to-day life and help you do your daily tasks effortlessly and with ease. Brain exercises also play an essential role in improving the memory of people with mild cognitive impairments.
Each one of us has heard the proverb “practice makes perfect,” which is appropriate even for brain training. The longer you exercise your brain, the better you become. Daily brain training sessions should be encouraged among people of all ages, and a little bit of competition can be motivating! Challenge your brain to stay on its toes to ensure that you can reach your full potential, improve your memory, become more intelligent, and have a better attention span.
Here we discuss some essential but weird exercises which help in enhancing your brain:
Neurobic exercises give your brain new experiences combining with physical senses of vision, smell, touch, taste and hearing. It also provides an emotional sense which stimulates more connections between different brain areas that enhance memory and make cells more robust and more resistant to the effects of aging.
Try to brush with your non-dominant hand
This will help you use the opposite side of your brain, resulting in good exercise for your brain.
Closed Eye Shower
Try to shower with your eyes closed
This will help your hands notice your own body’s various textures that you do not usually see while having a shower. This will send messages to the brain.
Turn pictures off your family, your clock and items upside down which will quickly divert your attention elsewhere. Your right brain tries to interpret the shapes, colors and relationships of a puzzling picture that is now upside down.
Switch seats at the table and try to do things differently
When you sit at a position where you do not usually, your brain is exposed to new experiences and is let free.
Engage in art
When you create art, your brain tries to express itself in various ways through shapes, colors textures. This may help you expose a more creative side of yourself.
Eat unusual, unfamiliar foods.
When you try foods you haven’t eaten before, your olfactory system works and tries to identify and accept new experiences. Your sensory organs are put at work here as you try to taste and smell different food items.
Brain Training Games
Engaging in brain training games keeps your mind occupied and diverted and helps you spend your time productively. Brain training games play a crucial role in increasing your cognitive abilities, reducing stress, and refreshing your brain cells. Some brain training games are:Sudoku
Sudoku relies on short-term memory. It helps you plan your moves and improve focus and concentration.Crosswords
Crosswords enhance not only your vocabulary but also several dimensions of your knowledge. It helps in boosting memory and is found anywhere from a magazine to a newspaper.
Multimodal Cognitive Training is also proven to be a great way to improve cognitive function. So what are you waiting for?