Ageing is an inevitable process, with the cognitive decline appearing as a natural consequence. As time passes, we begin to experience memory impairment and concentration difficulties. Moreover, we might have trouble performing certain tasks, with our mental health suffering in the process. But just as we exercise other parts of our body so they keep functioning at their optimum level, cognitive therapy exercises do the same thing for our brain.
In the paragraphs below, you will find a number of cognitive therapy exercises, which are meant to help you improve your memory and other cognitive functions. Be sure to give all of them a try and see which one works the best.
Boost Your Mental Health with These Cognitive Exercises
Breathing & hand movement brain exercises
You can begin this exercise by assuming a standing position, with the palms facing each other and brought close to the chest. Inhale through the nose. As you exhale, allow one of the hands to slide and use your fingers from the other hand to cover it. Inhale and repeat the process with the other hand. A set of several repetitions should be enough.
Why is this exercise beneficial? It teaches you – and especially the brain – to coordinate. You have to follow the instructions precisely and coordinate the body movements with the breathing. The brain responds quite effectively to such challenges, forming new connections. In turn, this represents a useful exercise for preventing cognitive decline.
Map drawing brain exercises
If you are looking for fun brain exercises to try out, this particular one might be just what you need. All you have to do is close your eyes and imagine your hometown, drawing information about it from your mind. You should then take a piece of paper and draw a map from your memory.
As soon as you are done, you can take your drawing and compare it to the actual map. You can take your time and see which elements you have missed, or move on to a more complex challenge, such as drawing the map of a continent. This exercise is ideal for training your brain, challenging you to use your memory and the attention to detail.
Writing backwards cognitive therapy
The brain gets accustomed to each activity you are doing, which is slowly turned into a habit. This means that it will not form new connections once the activity in question is performed hundreds or millions of times. For this reason, you need to challenge yourself and try new ways of doing something permanently.
A simple but highly effective exercise involves writing backwards. Also known as mirror writing, it can help your brain form new connections and stay young. It is a challenge indeed, as you are accustomed to the learned behaviour, but it is worth a try.
Modern living has gotten us accustomed to relying on digital devices to retain information, such as smartphones, computers, etc. We no longer know the phone numbers of friends off by heart, and we cannot go shopping without an actual list. And, unfortunately, all of these habits have affected our ability to memorise, a change which can affect the way the brain functions.
Aside from taking memory supplements, which are quite useful and filled with beneficial ingredients, you can try memorisation as an actual exercise. For example, you can try and memorise the phone numbers of your closest family members or friends. Or, if you want, you can memorise the shopping list and go shopping, relying solely on your memory.
Is there more than one use to this object?
Out of all of the cognitive therapy exercises, this is quite an interesting one, one that will force your brain to look at things from a completely new perspective. What you need to do is take an otherwise regular object – such as a glass – and think about the different things for which it could be used, aside from its obvious purpose.
You can also think about the other things that object could be, to challenge your brain even further. Such exercises are meant to help you think out of the box, with the brain seeking out answers to the challenge presented and, thus, keeping those neurons young and functioning.
Learn a new song
Music is more beneficial for the brain than you might think. When it comes to improving memory, there is an exercise that you could consider. All you have to do is pick a new song, one that you never heard before, and try to learn the lyrics. By doing this memorisation, you will boost the levels of beneficial neurotransmitters in the brain and improve its overall health.
Learning a new song might not seem like such a big deal, but, in reality, it is one of the simplest ways to improve your memory. As you are struggling to remember both the lyrics and the melodic line, your brain forms new neural connections. Thanks to these different associations, the brain stays young, healthy, and thriving.
Have you tried the dictionary game?
The dictionary game requires that you take your dictionary and write down five new words each day. You should memorise those words, as well as their meaning and test yourself the next day. To make this exercise even more difficult, you can add a new word each day.
What is the purpose of this exercise? Well, helps you memorise new information and trains your brain to get accustomed to novel information. This language activity is quite beneficial, as it will force the brain to recognise new words. The development of language skills, regardless of age, can perfectly support brain health.
Can you remember the position of the watch?
This exercise develops your visual-spatial abilities, as well as the overall cognitive function. Select a room in your home and decide on several items, trying to memorise their location. You should then exit the room and try to remember where each of the items was located. For example, the watch was on the wall facing the window.
If you want to make this exercise even more challenging, you can wait for several hours before trying to remember the location of each object. This exercise is excellent for improving your memory and, at the same time, it will teach the brain to pay more attention to the environment (including the elements commonly found in the peripheral vision).
These are some of the best cognitive therapy exercises to help defy the ageing process and keep your brain as young as possible. They are easy to try and a lot of fun, allowing you to improve your memory, cognition, and other essential functions. Good luck with the groceries!
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