What are cognitive skills?

How Can you  improve your Cognitive Skills
How Can you improve your 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.

Why are they so important?

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.

When you require that information, it also helps your brain to recognize and retrieve that information. It helps you do your day-to-day tasks quickly with ease and efficiency.

Remembering team goals, pay attention during an important meeting, and interpret data to require good cognitive skills in the workplace.

Types of Cognitive skills

Cognitive skills can be divided into nine broad categories. These are ideologies through which your brain focuses and effectively and interprets information.

Sustained attention

Sustained attention increases your attention span, helping you focus on a single task for an increased amount of time. This skill is required in the workplace, allowing you to stay focused and motivated to continue a task until you complete it. Sustained attention also prevents you from moving to different projects; instead keeps you inspired towards your organizational goals.

Selective attention

Selective attention allows you to concentrate on a single task despite distractions and disturbances around you. It helps you decide to place your attention on your task among different choices.  For example, you could focus on a given task instead of checking your phone time and again.

Divided attention

Sometimes you need to distribute your attention at multiple places that can prevent you from completing three or four tasks simultaneously. Divided attention helps you achieve your given daily task by keeping an extra eye on the upcoming task without getting distracted. For example, you could work on a project’s current stage while preparing for the forthcoming steps.

Long term memory

Long-term memory allows you to remember information from your past. This skill can help you remember crucial points from a previous meeting as well as identifying a colleague’s name you worked with three years ago. Long-term memory also allows you to store essential points of a particular project in your memory which may be required later.

Types of Cognitive Skills

Working memory

Short-term memory, also known as working memory, helps you retain information while using it. It enables you to remember the points you discussed in a recent meeting to prepare a project.

Logic and reasoning

Logic and reasoning are the skills that help you solve your problems with ease and develop innovative ideas. Through this skill, you can cater to an organization’s needs by going through brainstorming and problem-solving. Logic and reasoning are also used when you compile reports to analyze data.

Auditory processing

The brain requires auditory processing to interpret information that comes through your ears by analyzing, interpreting, segmenting sounds for current or later use. This allows you to pay careful concentration in a meeting and interpret the information effectively to use it.

Visual processing

Visual processing plays a vital role in interpreting images. Strong visual processing allows you to use your visuals and make sense of representations of data analyzed designs and proofread essential documents. When you see an image and quickly processed by the brain and interpreted by you immediately, you have strong visual processing.

Processing speed

Processing speed is another cognitive skill that helps you accurately and rapidly perform a task. When you have a good processing speed, your brain can rapidly interpret information and apply it immediately. Strengthening this speed can also increase your productivity at work to effectively complete the task. For example, if you have a good processing speed, you can quickly understand an organization’s needs and undergo a brainstorming to cater to the needs rapidly.

How can you improve your cognitive skills?

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.

Reduce stress

Reducing stress can help you improve your attention span and increase your concentration and focus. Divert yourself from stressful situations or try stress-reducing activities. You can take a brief walk around your workspace, put on some headphones and listen to music to focus on your thoughts. At home, you can indulge in exercise or yoga. You can also reduce stress through certain meditation activities by focusing on your breathing. These methodologies can improve your ability to concentrate and gather attention-related cognitive skills.

Care for your body

You can improve your cognitive skills by maintaining your physical health. Eating a balanced diet rich in vitamins, proteins, fats, carbohydrates and Minerals, drinking plenty of water and getting a sound sleep every night can improve your concentration-related activities and help you perform productively in your workspace. Your memory skills can drastically improve through sufficient sleep as sleep helps your brain store your memories.

Practice focusing

You can improve your memory, concentration skills and attention by focusing on your mind throughout the day. You can find ways to remove distractions and disturbances and see how long you can remain focused on a particular task without losing your attention. You can keep your smartphone away or wear headphones to focus on the given task.

 Exercising your brain

You can find specific activities that target exercising your brain and improving certain areas. You can read a book while you go to bed, join a Jigsaw puzzle play a board game, memorize your favorite song or poem or write a book. Twenty mental activities help you improve your focusing skills, reasoning memory and processing ideas.

Cognitive Ability Test

Specific tests are designed to measure the degree of an individual’s cognitive ability in a particular area, such as mathematics, logical reasoning, verbal reasoning, or spatial awareness. This methodology is used by organizations in the recruitment process to predict the candidate’s aptitude. These tests contain questions about critical thinking and solving work-related problems designed to get an overview of individual potential and caliber for the position.

As we focus on our physical health and a healthy lifestyle, we should also concentrate on our mental health. Just like physical exercise is essential for the body and muscles, mental health also plays a critical role in strengthening and maintaining the brain’s function.

Cognitive activities should be encouraged among adults, allowing people to practice their critical thinking, speaking, listening skills, verbal, logical reasoning, and other cognitive aspects to stimulate and relax their minds. Older individuals need to strengthen their brain and cognitive ability. Some of the essential cognitive activities for adults include:

Meditation

http://www.heartfulness.org

Meditation is the best brain exercise for adults. It allows one to focus on one’s breathing and improves focus and concentration. It helps to keep the body calm and relaxed.

Art 

Art allows one to let one’s creativity go wild and express one’s emotions more easily. It also helps in hand-eye coordination. Doing art activities such as drawing, sketching and painting allows one to reflect on oneself and enjoy which keeps the mind sharp and hones cognitive abilities. It also encourages creativity and allows the individual to feel free and refreshed.

Nature walks

Nature walks allow one to breathe the fresh air nature provides and also socialize among their community. They feel relaxed and connected to what is around them.

Jigsaw Puzzles

Jigsaw puzzles allow one to focus on their attention, special skills and creativity with the general problem-solving ability to fix the Jigsaw puzzle. It also requires patience, encourages concentration and allows the individual to spend time productively.

 Learning a new language

Learning a new language for seniors is a perfect option that strengthens their ability to remember, recall and speak and also improves their critical thinking. It helps them to socialize and meet others. Practicing languages also prevent dementia in the elderly.

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Surabhi Sahai & Swa Raj

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