7 Easy Ways to Boost Brain Power and Improve Cognitive Function (In Just 10 Minutes a Day!)

How to Improve Cognitive Function

Hey, I'm Emilie!

A certified life coach, meditation instructor, and spiritual entrepreneur. I’m here to help you create a vibrant life around your higher purpose and heart’s desires. 

Your Current Lifestyle Habits Will Determine Your Brain Health 20 Years from Now

Your current lifestyle habits play a critical role in your brain’s health and cognitive functions 20 to 30 years from now.

Not only is improving your cognitive function useful for learning, remembering things, and being more productive right now, but it’ll also ensure that you enjoy a good quality of life years down the road.

I’ve recently listened to a podcast interview with neuroscientist Dr. Kristen Willeumier, who is also the author of Biohack Your Brain. I learned a ton of helpful information on how to improve our brains’ health and performance and why it’s crucial that we do so.

Did you know that the cellular damage that leads to dementia and Alzheimer’s begins two decades before the first symptoms appear?

This means that, although early signs of cognitive decline usually appear around the age of 60 or later, the initial cellular damage can start at age 40!

I have witnessed people in my family lose their autonomy and quality of life because of cognitive decline; and let me tell you, if there’s something I can do to prevent this from happening to me, I will absolutely do it.

Thankfully, there are some very simple things we can do.

We can prevent or at least slow down brain aging by making simple lifestyle changes; and the sooner we make them, the better.

Here we go— seven easy ways to boost brain power and keep your cognitive abilities sharp for the years to come!

Note that although simple, these practices must be done consistently over time to have a real, positive effect on your brain.

Mindful Morning Routine

Healthy Brain Habit #1: Use Your Non-Dominant Hand

A simple way to improve cognitive function is to use your non-dominant hand to perform a simple task every day, like brushing your teeth.

Doing this will strengthen neural connections in your brain and even grow new ones.

You could also write a sentence or two using your non-dominant hand each day.

Personally, I have a lot of difficulties brushing my teeth using my left (non-dominant) hand, so I’ve been doing the second option.

Every morning, I write three things I’m grateful for, three things that would make the day great, and my daily affirmation in The Five Minute Journal using my left hand. My handwriting looks like a 2-year-old’s, but no one else sees it anyway.

Combining the task of writing using my non-dominant hand with a daily habit I already have (writing in The Five Minute Journal) helps me not forget to do it.

Healthy Brain Habit #1: Use your non-dominant hand to execute a simple task every day.  

how to improve cognitive function

Healthy Brain Habit #2: Learn Something New Every Day

A major risk factor for brain aging is cognitive inactivity, aka not using our brains! You can easily prevent this from happening by continually learning new things.

Dr. Kristen Willeumier recommends learning a new word every day.

You could also learn to say a word or even a full sentence in another language each day. If you do this every single day, within a year, you’ll almost know an entire, new language.

You could also learn something new in your second language. When I wanted to get better at English, I read magazines like Discover and National Geographic. I looked up words I didn’t know and learned new vocabulary terms in my second language while simultaneously learning about topics that interested me.

Healthy Brain Habit #2: Learn something new every day.

How to Improve Cognitive Function

Healthy Brain Habit #3: Increase Blood Flow to Your Brain

Moderate exercise increases blood flow and sends more oxygen and nutrients to the brain, which helps keep brain cells healthy and grow new neurons. 

You don’t need to run sprints, but the exercise’s intensity should be high enough to raise your heart rate a little bit.

Dr. Kristen Willeumier recommends going for at least a 10-minute brisk walk (walking 100 steps per minute or faster) every day. She says that 30 to 40 minutes of exercise per day is even better. You can use a pedometer app to count your steps and determine your pace.

For even greater health benefits, try to go for your walk just after a meal.

A Japanese study showed that walking after a meal improves glucose response, and maintaining a stable blood glucose level is a key factor for optimal health, including brain health.

Healthy Brain Habit #3: Exercise for at least ten minutes a day.

Cognitive health

Healthy Brain Habit #4: Indulge in Berries (and a Bit of Dark Chocolate)

To fight the damaging and aging effect of free radicals, Dr. Willeumier recommends eating at least 2-3 servings of berries per week and a square of dark chocolate (70% cacao or higher) daily.

Berries and cacao contain high amounts of antioxidants, which neutralize free radicals. Free radicals are said to cause cellular damage and aging. 

A Harvard study found that eating 2 to 3 servings of blueberries or strawberries per week slows brain aging by 2 ½ years if you do so consistently over time.

Healthy Brain Habit #4: Eat a minimum of 2 to 3 servings of berries per week and indulge in a square of dark chocolate every day.  

Improve Cognitive Function

Healthy Brain Habit #5: Ditch Sugary Food

Research shows that excess sugar speeds up brain aging. Plus, mid-life diabetes and obesity are two major risk factors leading to dementia.

But how much sugar is too much?

Well, the American Heart Association recommends that women have no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day and men no more than 35 grams, which is way less than what the average person eats every day.

The best way to reduce your sugar intake is to avoid eating packaged food and drinking sodas.

Healthy Brain Habit #5: Try to reduce your daily added sugar consumption to 25 grams if you are a woman or 35 grams if you are a man.

Improve cognitive function

Healthy Brain Habit #6: Meditate Daily

Not only does meditation improve cognitive abilities like memory and concentration, but it also reduces stress.

Chronic stress can damage DNA and speed up aging. It accelerates the shortening of telomeres, the protective cap at the end of a strand of DNA.

The excessive shortening of telomeres caused by chronic stress can lead to early cell aging and make you more prone to disease.

Studies have shown that meditation not only helps to prevent the shortening of telomeres, but it actually lengthens them. It’s a great habit to build if you want to sharpen your cognitive abilities and keep them sharp over time.

If you’re new to meditation, I have a free 10-minute video class that will teach you the easiest and most popular meditation technique. This technique doesn’t require that you “stop your thoughts” or “calm your mind”— some even call this technique “effortless meditation.”

Healthy Brain Habit #6: Meditate a few minutes daily.

Mindful Morning Routine

Healthy Brain Habit #7: Ground Yourself

Hypertension is another major risk factor for brain aging.

“Memory, concentration, and other cognitive functions decline faster among middle-aged and older adults who have high blood pressure than in those who do not.” (The American Heart Association)

The good news is that lowering your blood pressure might be easier than you think.

A few years ago, I heard an American cardiologist and the author of the book Earthing, Dr. Stephen Sinatra, at a conference. He told us that “earthing” (or “grounding”) – walking barefoot on the natural ground – is one of the best ways to lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation in the body.

You could walk on the grass barefoot for just a few minutes a day or even sit on a chair in your backyard as long as your bare feet touch the soil. You could also buy a grounding mat that replicates the effect of soil and can be used indoors (if that’s easier for you).

Healthy Brain Habit #7: Ground yourself a few minutes per day to reduce inflammation and lower your blood pressure.

Improve cognitive Function

You Have So Much Power Over Your Brain’s Health!

If there’s one thing that I retained from listening to the interview with Dr. Willeumier, it’s that we have so much power over our brains’ health and in preventing cognitive decline.

Also, that it’s something we should be thinking about right now since our current lifestyle habits will impact our brain health 20 years from now.

The seven practices mentioned in this article are quite easy to implement and can increase the chances that you’ll enjoy a good quality of life in the future.

Again, don’t hesitate to take my free 10-minute meditation class to learn the easiest meditation technique.

Have a beautiful week!

Emilie

FREE MEDITATION CLASS

Want to take a little vacation from the turmoil in your mind?

Learn the easiest and most popular meditation technique in just 10 minutes! Some even call it “effortless meditation.” 

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