From early childhood development training to senior care, there’s a reason why cognitive stimulation is such an encouraged practice.
Now, much like physical exercise, you want to streamline the process of working out your mind as much as possible. Really, when approached thoughtfully, there’s no reason why you can’t have a cognitive stimulation routine that’s effective and efficient for you personally – much like tailored workout plans.
Here are 3 tips for you.
First, rather than going with whatever pops up, opting for structured activities means having a clear game plan so that you’re targeting specific mental processes and getting your brain into systematic thinking mode.
You don’t want to go with the flow; instead, have a schedule for incorporating your exercises frequently. Of course, you want to start easy and gradually crank up the difficulty so that there’s a steady upward trajectory of cognitive challenges.
Take Sudoku, for instance. Beginners can kick off with the 4×4 grids, and as you get the hang of it, move up to the 9×9 challenges. It’s a real brain teaser that amps up spatial reasoning and logical deduction over time.
No, you’re not going to get much out of the exercises or processes that you’re not really into. In fact, chances are that you become demotivated. Really, you want to only work with cognitive activities that you find interesting and fitting for your needs.
So, identify your interests or hobbies and throw in cognitive tasks related to them – so that if you’re into music, it’s a good idea to get into memory games with song lyrics or take up a musical instrument.
Say gardening is your thing. Tackle a challenge like planning your dream garden and really get into thinking about plant compatibility, seasonal changes, aesthetics, structure, etc. It’s killing two birds with one stone – a cognitive workout plus working on a dream project.
Real-World Problem Solving
Puzzle games and virtual simulations are great, but applying your cognitive skills to real-world problems means jumping ahead to having skills that are not just theoretical but genuinely useful in everyday situations.
You want to integrate real-world problem-solving tasks as mind workouts into your schedule. From budgeting to navigating tricky relationship problems, this is how you can already start to reap the benefits of cognitive stimulation even as you work out your mind – critical thinking, strategic decision-making, improved memory, etc.
Planning a trip is a great example. It pulls in budgeting smarts, scheduling finesse, and adaptability to unexpected twists so that it’s not just a mental exercise but an actual challenge that ultimately makes things a lot easier for you.
Exercising your mind is a lot like exercising your physical body. Particularly, you’re going to get the most out of your workouts only if your process is as streamlined as possible.