This article was last updated on September 5, 2017
Life is a journey full of adventure and mystery. Every day provides us with the opportunity of learning something new. Even so, learning is more than memorizing bits of characters, facts, figures, and literature. The most important aspect of learning is cognitive learning.
What is Cognitive Learning?
Cognitive learning describes a person’s way of processing information and reasoning. It also encompasses memory and decision-making skills. It is good to note that learning accompanies you from the day you are born until the day you leave this earth. Here are seven simple ways to improve your cognitive learning.
Diet Right To Make It Right
What goes down in your gut ends up in your brain. In an article published in The Journal of Physiology, the author links “irresponsible eating” to reduced cognitive potential. In that study, taking a healthier diet full of vitamins, antioxidants, and polyunsaturated fatty acids resulted in better cognitive function later in life.
Feeding the brain with the right foods protects your learning and memory abilities. Wrong foods usually cause serious health complication. In the western society, sugary diets have led to diseases like insulin resistance. Insulin always plays a vital role in your energy levels, as it is responsible for regulating glucose levels.
- Sugar diets can make one hyperactive- impulsive, inattentive, overactive, reducing your cognitive learning skills.
- Vitamins and minerals play a vital role in brain development and cognitive function in both children and adults.
- Avoid foods rich in saturated fats as these reduce cognitive processing.
The Center for Education Neurosciences points out that diet do have an impact on our learning capabilities. In this study, children who took breakfast in the morning performed better in mentally demanding activities- Short-term storage and manipulating information.
Exercise to Reduce the Odds of Cognitive Impairments
Exercise is a powerful way to improve your cognitive learning. Recent studies suggest that exercise, particularly aerobic exercises, enhance cognitive strategies that enable a person to interpret their environment and respond to it. According to an evaluation published in PMC, Aerobic fitness can spare a person age-related loss of brain tissue. It also enhances functional aspects that control cognitive function. Fit individuals can focus greater attention resources towards their environment. These people can respond to information quicker.
Exercise is good both for memory and thinking. Impaired cognitive learning can arise from cognitive impairment. Exercise benefits the body in that:
- Working out reduces insulin resistance.
- It reduces inflammation.
- Stimulate the synthesis of growth factors.
- Promotes the growth and development brain
- Improves mood and sleep
- Reduce stress and anxiety.
Some research indicates that people who exercise have a greater volume of the prefrontal and medial temporal cortex- the thinking and memory parts of the brain, than those who do not work out. Exercise enhances neurons and mitochondrial activities. In other words, exercise improves your power supply, meaning you stay active for longer. Some studies also say that exercise improves your ability to store and remember information. Combined with smart food choices, exercising can enhance cognitive learning.
Meditate to Connect
If you were wondering what all this fuss about meditation is, let me educate you. Meditation is a state of being thoughtlessness. It is about connecting your inner soul to a realm bigger than you. In recent years, research has found a new aspect of meditation called mindfulness. A meditation practice that activates mindfulness has been shown to have a bigger impact on cognitive learning.
Here is how meditation improves you cognitive learning abilities.
- Mindfulness fosters inner calmness that allows people to acknowledge and accept things as they are. A calm mind focuses and concentrates better, thereby encouraging learning. Agitation only works to defocus you from what needs doing. Without calmness, you end up procrastinating.
- Attention and memory reflect your quality of life Many studies have proved that meditation can in fact, improve attention and concentration. Recent studies also indicate that the minute we start to focus, our attention blinks for about half a second. That is enough to divert attention to other things lessening our concentration. Reduced attentional blinks means you focus faster and process information quicker and more accurately.
- There is also evidence that indicates meditation can help improve people’s adaptive thinking. Our past experiences have the power to diminish our cognitive learning potentials. Meditation can help you overcome your cognitive rigidity.
Yoga for Brain Power
The essence of learning is remembering. Therefore the slow decline of memory, thinking, and reasoning abilities predispose us to age-related complications, including cognitive impairment. However, there is evidence that suggests that those effects are reversible.
- Yoga has been found to help improve coping skills and makes one resilient to stress. This aspect is important as learning and remembering can be challenging to some people. When you cannot seem to remember what you know you know, anxiety creeps in and before long depression knocks.
- The slow breathing in yoga sessions staves off age-related issues. Just breathing in deeply and letting it go tends to get of rid of stress bearing chemicals.
- Since Yoga is meditation in motion, all the benefits of meditation are an added advantage.
- Twenty minutes of yoga is enough to speed up your speed and accuracy of processing information.
- Meditating on the move increases your ability to concentrate and multitask. You can write your notes as your professor explains them in class. Yoga makes you susceptible to success.
- Recent research also indicates that yoga can help teenagers manage anger better and improve their emotional resilience.
Supplement to Complement
Furthermore, taking supplements to complete what lacks in our diet can improve our cognitive learning. Some of the best supplements include:
- Tongkat Ali
Forgetting to remember what we know can be mortifying. Memory is an important part of cognitive learning. Testosterone plays a critical role in cognitive learning. Age causes a natural decline in testosterone. Tongkat Ali provides a natural remedy for increasing testosterone. Increased testosterone helps the brain function better. This herb also increases your power output allowing you to learn for longer. Other benefits include improved attention, working memory, mood, calmness, and reduced fatigue.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fish oils, walnuts, and grass-fed livestock provide us with Omega-3 fatty acids. We can, however, choose to complement what we cannot find or afford in our diet with supplements. This fatty acid improves your ability to focus and also enhances mood.
- Ginkgo Biloba
This Chinese herb can improve memory and concentration. Some studies suggest that the herb increases attention-speed in healthy adults. Other benefits include improved attention, memory quality, and faster memorization.
Sleep to Unwind to Rewind
Did you know that sleep is a complete formula? It has a profound effect on cognitive learning. Quantity and quality of sleep matters. Furthermore, a sleep deprived person cannot afford full attention, hence they cannot learn efficiently. In a study published in Health Sleep the author says that learning and memory are described regarding acquirement, fortification, and remembrance.
Acquisition- fortification and recall- remembrance occur when one is awake. However, consolidation takes place when asleep. Sleep strengthens neural connections that create our memories. Sleep plays a vital role in procedural memory part. Therefore, lack of adequate sleep affects learning and memory.
Depriving you enough sleep steals your focus, attention, and vigilance. That makes it tough to receive information. Inadequate nights of sleep lessen your ability to assess and respond to situations accordingly. Judgment is impaired, and memory lapses become the new you. But sleep can reverse all that for you. Sleep unwinds the brain readying it to rewind and learn new information.
Puzzles to Challenge your Mind
Whats more, problem playing promotes cognitive learning. A study done by the University of Chicago discovered that young children playing puzzles develop better spatial skills. Creative thinking is an important part of life. Without it, our education systems would be a futile attempt. Puzzles have the ability to improve our skills in seeing different things of an outcome.
Furthermore, the key skill developed is exercising memory. Capacity to recall which pieces, colors, or words fit where improves cognitive learning. Another aspect learned is fine motor development. That helps kids in handwriting, ability to draw and play musical instruments. Other benefits of puzzle benefits to children include hand-eye coordination, social skills, and problem-solving. Finally, these aspects play a critical role in cognitive learning.
As an adult, you can also reap these benefits. Playing puzzles with your children can enhance bonding and encourage openness. It could also help improve your abilities too. Competition creates motivation. You and your kids get to have fun as you learn.
In conclusion, cognitive learning is about the ability to learn new things, store, and recall them when needed. It encompasses all aspects of the brain. Health issues such as insulin resistance can be a significant hindrance to your cognitive learning. The ways mentioned above can help improve your cognitive learning potentials. After all, that, sleep enough to remember what you learn.