Posted on May 6, 2019

Mind your Brain- Therapy and Care for Emotional and Cognitive Wellness

Aging and the functional changes that come with it are of concern to most people and society at large. Knowledge of how neuroplasticity works and utilizing this knowledge can support people's cognitive and emotional health. At present, we don’t have sufficient evidence (see Cochrane review below) as to whether and what type of cognitive activities or tools can help to prevent dementia-related changes. However, it appears clear that one can train thinking abilities (i.e., improve performance by training the specific area such as attention or reasoning)- it’s based on the principle of learning and activity, which changes the brain. Thus, although the authors (of Cochrane review) suggest, whether such training will help to delay cognitive decline remains to be seen, mentally stimulating activity can help build your brain’s cognitive reserve.

In short, I would recommend to continue with consistently completing physical and mentally stimulating activities. Guidelines for mental activities need to be:

a) challenging/ stimulating
b) done frequently
c) use a variety of different tasks/ train a variety of cognitive/ thinking domains (e.g., attention, memory)
d) have fun (i.e., it's not helpful to do activities you really don't like)

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