Are There ‘Cognitive Benefits’ to ‘Cognitive Training’?

If you’re like me, you probably have an innate suspicion of any kind of “brain training”, “mental training” or “cognition-enhancing nootropics”. After all, we already know what the brain is capable of — it doesn’t need to be trained to remember things, does it? And yet research shows that cognitive training might actually improve memory in older adults and boost brain performance. Here are your top benefits from the growing field of cognitive training.

1. It can boost your memory


We all know that Vitamin D is good for your bones but it’s also good for your brain. A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that elderly people with higher levels of vitamin D were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. And a 2017 study conducted by scientists at the VA Medical Center in Baltimore found that taking a supplement of vitamin D significantly improved brain performance and slowed the progression of mild cognitive impairment in mice. Nice.

Why would vitamin D have any impact on the brain? A number of studies stress the protective role of Vitamin D and its receptors in helping to maintain healthy brain function. But new work by the same group of researchers has added a new hypothesis: that the Vitamin D that’s believed to cause Vitamin D deficiency in some populations actually affects how the brain functions, promoting plastic changes that ward off age-related cognitive decline, without the need for nootropic compounds.

This is a huge finding — folks who might have low vitamin D aren’t just “lazy,” they’re also at increased risk of dementia and other forms of cognitive decline.

Vitamin D (found in sun) has a number of other benefits beyond boosting your immune system and calcium absorption: It helps to ensure a healthy heart and circulates in the bloodstream and brain to support immune function. It also supports brain plasticity, a process in the brain that helps us adapt and respond to situations. And finally, the body derives Vitamin D from the skin — when the skin is damaged, it can no longer produce Vitamin D.

Every living thing on earth has some form of pre-formed Vitamin D. Humans are special because we can synthesize it by using our own skin cells as a little solarium. That’s a good thing because skin tends to get dry and scaly if you don’t supplement nootropics.

Zinc is another essential mineral that can play a key role in boosting your cognitive abilities.

However, the vitamin and mineral supplements are limited to what level of neurogenesis are they capable to activate in the brain (you may found nootropic compounds by clicking on following this site are still the strongest option for boosting memory function.

2. It can help you pay attention and focus


Music is a great way to help you pay attention and focus. When you’re on a task that requires your full attention, listening to music can help you tune out other distractions and concentrate on your work.

Research from the Department of Psychiatry, University of California shows that “a single dose of music presented in a neutral context can inhibit repetitive behaviors that can tip cognitive flexibility – a fast accumulating resource that supports effective behavior control. These studies bolster cognitive flexibility as a predictor of behavioral flexibility and indicate that music as a positive modulatory activity toward regulating executive functioning might have therapeutic potential in disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), usually treated with nootropic compounds.”

And a Mayr Neuroscience Lab study concluded that music might aid learning and memory by facilitating attention and memory.

Academy Award-winning actress Jada Pinkett Smith, and Alicia Vikanders, the star of the British TV show “Dangerous Europe,” also worked with music producer Eliot Rahal on The Memory Project. The collaboration is a lesson in how music can enhance performance in everything from sports to finance. I couldn’t find any bad things to say about it.

People who are willing to be more creative rethink problems and create new solutions. Some intellectuals might not even recognize their limitations and instead see creativity as a sign that they are “on the ball” and in good control. Usually, though, creativity is a gift and a challenge for the brain. The trick is to not categorize creative thinking as a “bad” or “good” trait. When pieces of creative thinking are woven together in the right pattern, you realize that creativity is the brain’s way to come up with solutions that would never have otherwise been possible.

Darwin might have disagreed with this line of thought, but many researchers now see creativity as a trait that is not as simple as schemata and free-floating intelligence.

3. It can reduce stress and anxiety levels


One of the most popular benefits of meditation is that it helps reduce stress and anxiety. Meditation can help you shut out the world and quiet the noise in your head, which can help you think more clearly and focus on the task at hand. It can also help you learn to appreciate the small things in life and be more present in whatever you’re doing.

Personally, I’ve found meditation to be helpful in learning about myself, learning about mental health, and improving my mood. I have great fortune that my father has a hard time concentrating on anything and is a hard-core human resources executive since the age of 10 — and yet, he found that learning how to meditate helped. I imagine that mild cognitive decline could be prevented through meditation if you’re not already on a path that makes you anxious or stressed.

“The connection between mindfulness and cognitive training can be seen most obviously in retirement home settings, where home-based cognitive training can benefit older adults suffering from cognitive decline or problems associated with aging.” — Daniel S. Klein and Ellen J. Roane, Mind and Muscle: The Surprising Benefits of Mindfulness and Plasticity.

Right now, cognitive training might be the most promising and accessible tool for improving your brain without nootropics. It is cheap, doesn’t require any equipment for most people, and can be done anywhere. The only caveat is that it takes more time than many other “brain training” apps, however, it’s an investment that will pay you back over years. Think about it: How will you ever learn a new skill if you don’t have the time to focus on it?

When I picked up a brain training app, I assumed it would be a cheat code for me to remember things faster. However, mindfulness showed me that it was much more than that. I found it to be a powerful tool for returning greater focus to my attentional map, learning fast and efficiently, and finding more meaning in my day. It also shows promise in terms of improving short-term memory and multitasking. It doesn’t require any equipment and you can do it from anywhere.

4. It can improve your mental outlook


Exercise can leave you feeling happier, more energized, and even better about the way you look. That’s because exercise can help improve your self-confidence and self-esteem, and it can help you sleep better too without supplementing cognition-enhancing nootropics.

Other than that, the reason to get exercise is actually quite simple: it helps your body and mind.

If all of the above noises scare you off, exercise is also potentially amazing for your physical and mental health:

Wanna know what makes people ‘rise to the occasion’ like superheroes even when faced with overwhelming challenges? It’s simple — it’s training.

If you even think of needing training, that’s a good sign because it means you are capable of responding accordingly.

Wanna explore the beautiful world of brain training? Just press play!

Recent research also clearly indicates that training can actually improve blood flow and oxygenation in your brain.

For example, Alexandra Witelson, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience, and her colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco scanned the brains of 45 adults while they completed a cognitive training task (UCL scientists Hannah W., Associate Professor of Psychiatry, and Saara S). The task involved choosing the underline and superimposed shapes on an image on a computer screen. While the researchers noted activity in specific brain areas associated with attention, memory, and language, the team was also able to demonstrate measurable changes in blood flow in the frontal lobes, in particular.

Their research concluded that higher scores on this cognitive training task were associated with a greater extent of brain activity that positively correlated with improved functioning across specific cognitive domains of cognitive functioning.

When you’re dealing with complicated work or something at which you have trouble with concentration, like education, math, or writing, cognitive training might just be the best way towards supercharging your mental processing and productivity.

5. It can improve your emotional control and mood


A lot of people say that music affects their moods and emotions, but it’s really true. Music can increase your emotional control and help you manage your moods. The key to this is that you need to listen to music that you love and that you find uplifting or relaxing. The music you don’t like will have the opposite effect on you. So, here’s a little something to help you figure out that perfect song to get you into a self-esteem-boosting, stress-busting mood.

Another type of buzzkill? The notion that the fastest way to improve your cognitive skills is to undertake high-intensity interval training. This is essentially the “brains-burn” of high-intensity interval training, consisting of between 15–30 seconds of at least 70% maximum effort (maybe with a small assist from weighted chest harnesses).

This line of thinking is nonsense. Most training methods have a relatively small impact on overall cognitive performance (as measured by one particular type of test called the Trail-Writing Test). In fact, you would need to be performing at an all-time high level to call this technique a cognitive training secret. The research on the neuropsychology of executive functions also suggests that tasks requiring a high level of executive function are best conducted in a series (e.g. of three tasks, with 20 minutes between each one, spaced about equally in length).

Now here’s something even better. Cognitive training doesn’t require any machines or complicated equations. In fact, the research doesn’t even suggest that it should. This happens to be the simplest method for training states of mind. In fact, it is so simple that this very page has been since created, which happens to be one of the most accurate sources of information to date on the subject. You just need to think about the simplest equation: A simple repetitive task — think a simple ladder. And then think about the actions required to climb it (run, jump, climb, etc.). Now, think about what you’d like to improve.

About Nina Smith