VOS: 5 Ways To Improve Your Psychological And Cognitive Functioning

5 Ways To Improve Your Psychological And Cognitive Functioning

Productivity & Growth

June 2021

5 Ways To Improve Your Psychological And Cognitive Functioning

Age is just a number, but have you ever felt years beyond your chronological age due to stress? Facing chronic worries can cause you to experience significant cognitive declines. This might be making repeated mistakes at work, forgetting important dates or details, and finding yourself struggling to keep up with tasks that used to be second nature to you.

If any of this sounds relatable, not to worry. There are simple ways you can work towards boosting your cognitive functioning and recovering your mental energy.

In this week’s guest blog post, Drew Allen, shares five tips that will help you combat stress and build a healthy foundation for future mental growth.

1. Improve your sleep schedule

Sleep is arguably the most underrated factor of good psychological health. When you sleep, your body recovers fights off disease, repair muscle and refreshes your brain. The hours you spend asleep each night influence how sharp your mental acuity will be the next day; from feeling more energised to improving memory, sleep and cognition go hand-in-hand.

Poor quality of sleep and not getting enough rest can cause memory loss, reduced problem-solving abilities, poor attention, lack of concentration and more. If you’re struggling with your sleep pattern, consider cutting out caffeine at least eight hours before bed, or turn off your phone and avoid any electronic devices at least one hour before sleep.

Adopting a wind-down and relaxation practice will help you to process the events of the day and gradually doze off, which can help aid better sleep.

2. Learn to manage negative relationships

The people in your life play a huge role in how you feel about yourself. If you find yourself surrounded by negative, toxic relationships, these negative emotions can start to rub off on you, causing emotional exhaustion.

Although it isn’t possible for you to simply stop talking to a difficult boss, coworker, relative or friend, there are ways to manage these relationships with communication strategies that can make it easier to deal with them.

A helpful technique is writing down all the reasons why distance from them would be a good thing for you. Try not to let guilt cloud your judgment when doing this exercise. If the reasons for ceasing communication outweigh any of the benefits of keeping in contact, it’s the right time to take action and put your own wellbeing first.

3. Set personal boundaries

Boundaries aren't solely about what you permit from other people; boundaries also help you make better choices for yourself.

If you decide that the weekends are for relaxation and not for work, that means avoiding work-related phone calls and checking your emails - no matter how much your brain tells you that you need to be doing more. New habits start with small steps that become easier to implement over time.

Setting boundaries like this can also help you stay committed to goals such as keeping active, eating well and reducing screen time. While it isn't always easy to set boundaries, taking time to figure out what will work for you will go a long way to improving your mental health.

4. Keep on top of your finances

Money problems can lead to chronic stress and, as a result, poorer cognitive functioning. Worrying about your finances can take over your personal and work life, affecting your motivation and ambition. If these feelings sound familiar, it is important to take positive steps towards regaining control of your finances.

Consider ways you can ease the stress, such as taking out loans or reducing spending. These empowering decisions can help you to find greater financial stability, enabling you to start thinking about the future again rather than finding yourself in a state of worry and stress.

5. Have the courage to ask for help

Last but not least, try not to let yourself struggle beyond your abilities. There's a difference between pushing through a challenge and suffering in silence. If you find that you're unable to improve your cognition and psychological wellness alone, reach out to someone your trust, or a professional such as your doctor or a therapist.

You can also look for professionals to help you in other areas of your life; perhaps it could be a good time to seek out a career coach or mentor? Recognizing your own needs and honoring your limitations can free up headspace, reduce stress and allow you to grow without guilt.

The journey to good mental health

The adult brain is not stuck in a permanent state of being. It can change, evolve and expand, building new pathways and be rewiring to help us continue to improve and perform better.

Remember, mental health is a lifelong journey, so it’s important to check in with yourself on a regular basis. Our physiology directly impacts our psychological mindset; taking care of things that seem unrelated to your mind can actually have the greatest impact on how well it performs.

Original source: 5 ways to improve your psychological and cognitive functioning

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