• Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Ten ways to boost cognitive health

Ten ways to boost cognitive health

There are two ways people differ: personality and intellect. Intellectual health is critical to leading a balanced life and has become one of the eight dimensions of wellness. Therefore, to experience wellness balance, one must have a healthy intellect. So, what is intellectual wellness?

Intellectual wellness is a state of open-mindedness and flexibility that deploys critical thinking, engages in meaningful conversations, explores creativity, and cultivates resilience. This type of well-being improves the brain’s physical structure and has determined how successful a person becomes to a certain extent over the years. For example, people who are very smart academically get admitted into IVY league schools because they pass specific tests like the SAT, GMAT, and GRE with very high scores. These high scores rate the IQ level of such individuals and grant them access to certain types of schools, which guarantees a well-paying job upon graduation. Such an opportunity gives these individuals a significant career head start, equating intellectual well-being with success.

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Moreover, this informative age or era has blown away any form of protection or covering of leaders in any capacity enjoyed before now. Every current and aspiring leader has to be intellectually sound to lead effectively. This pressure is often felt when people take our personal wellness status tests. They become desperate to improve their intellectual health, having scored poorly in this area. So, here are some exciting ways to improve your cognitive health.

Lifelong Learning: Be open to new ideas and improve by learning new skills and reading books, articles, documents, and educational posts. Don’t just read; critically engage your thoughts on what you understand in the document, then comment or ask questions.

Embrace Change: Take advantage of technological advancements as they impact your areas of specialty, focus, or interests. An audiobook can be finished within a few hours while multitasking, especially when your schedules are tight. AI helps people read documents, articles, and other materials aloud. Cyberspace is inundated with information on almost any topic or area of interest, and the advent of AI makes it even easier to find.

 “Intellectual wellness is a state of open-mindedness and flexibility that deploys critical thinking, engages in meaningful conversations, explores creativity, and cultivates resilience.”

Eat Healthy: Even though the direct impact of eating crunchy foods on brain health is yet to be well documented,. Studies have proven that these types of foods highly contribute to overall cognitive health and brain functions. Such foods include nuts like walnuts, seeds like flax seeds, and vegetables like celery, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots packed with antioxidants, Omega-3, and fatty acids. These nutrients improve memory, enhance cognitive functions, and prevent decline; everyone should incorporate them into their regular diets. Moreover, highly processed foods and beverages with alcohol, refined carbohydrates, trans fat, high sodium, and sugar adversely affect cognitive functions and brain health.

Get Creative: Everyone has creative abilities to a certain extent, which means creativity is not limited to artistic expression. Our ingenuity manifests in other forms, such as science, business, problem-solving, humanity, and decision-making. Therefore, the ability to excel in unique areas of creativity rests on nurturing such talent through continuous learning, new exposure or experiences, and adaptation to changing circumstances. Engaging with one’s environment helps develop skills, knowledge, and perspectives that contribute significantly to creative thinking and innovation.

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Practice mindfulness: meditation, taking deep breaths, and mindfulness are other ways to enhance intellectual well-being. Studies revealed that meditation increases the density of the brain’s grey matter, especially in areas linked to self-awareness and attention. The grey matter density helps people perform better academically than those who don’t meditate. Taking deep breaths is another powerful head-clearing mechanism that enhances oxygen flow into the brain for clarity and removes fogginess and headaches.

Be Resilient: Resiliency tests one’s resolve. It triggers the ability to think critically with great problem-solving tenacity that people may not know they possess until faced with a challenge or a difficult time.

Engage Others: Engaging people may include playing devil’s advocate in friendly debates, playing games like chess or sudoku, contributing meaningfully to posts, asking questions, reviewing books, etc.

Keep Journaling: As we meditate and reflect on what we read, situations we encounter, events we partake in, actions or inactions we take, work we put in, and other activities, we start to see the need to write. Journaling is one easy way to start writing to improve intellectual capacity.

Learn Language: Learning a second or third language shows how far one is willing to go in exercising the brain to allow for developmental growth. Bilingualism increases cognitive reserve, improves focus, enhances multitasking abilities, promotes mental flexibility, and aids the ability to perform executive functions like attention control.

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Healthy Habits: Healthy habits that promote brain health include exercising regularly, practicing sleep hygiene, a wholesome scalp, and hair therapy. Observing sleep hygiene involves having at least seven hours of sleep daily, removing brain-stimulating devices from the sleeping area, and avoiding food intake an hour before bedtime. Prolonged head covering or unwashed hair prevents scalp health. An unhealthy scalp may lead to discomfort that inhibits cognitive functions. Ladies should wash their hair weekly to unclog their pores. Regular scalp massage stimulates blood circulation, which aids in toxin and waste removal. Leaving the head uncovered while sleeping at night may prevent oxygen deprivation.

 

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Olayinka Opaleye is a Wellbeing Specialist and Corporate Wellness Strategist. She writes from Lagos. Tel: 09091131150 or follow her on www.linkedin.com/in/olayinkaopaleye