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Blog > 7 Habits to Strengthen Your Cognitive Functions

7 Habits to Strengthen Your Cognitive Functions

Sharpen your cognitive edge
Woman playing chess

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In today’s business world, leadership prowess partly depends on a leader’s cognitive abilities. Cognitive functioning encompasses a range of mental processes, including memory, attention, perception, reasoning, and problem-solving. Warren Buffett, known for his exceptional memory and analytical skills, attributes much of his success to a lifelong commitment to mental acuity that he has developed through reading and continuous learning.

Additionally, Ray Dalio and Christine Lagarde are examples of how cognitive sharpness can propel financial success. These three leaders possess the mental agility to navigate complex markets, foresee trends, and make strategic decisions that set their organizations apart. Recognizing and optimizing these functions can significantly enhance a leader’s decision-making abilities, ultimately influencing their success in every aspect of their lives and work.

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7 Habits to Strengthen Cognitive Function

To help individuals and organizations thrive, we’ve compiled a list of seven transformative habits that are scientifically proven to bolster cognitive abilities. From regular exercise to innovative biohacking techniques, these practices are designed to optimize brain health and function, ensuring that leaders and their teams can perform at their best. Let’s explore these habits and understand how they can be seamlessly integrated into our daily lives for peak mental performance.

1. Regular Exercise

Physical activity is a cornerstone of enhanced cognitive function. At Arootah, we recommend aiming for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity weekly exercise. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, promotes neurogenesis, and boosts overall cognitive performance. Build in activity throughout your day and be consistent with it. Consider adopting a company-wide fitness program to improve overall employee well-being and productivity. Technology such as a habit tracker will help your team consistently maintain their workout routines.

2. Balanced Diet

A diet rich in antioxidants, Omega-3 fatty acids, and essential nutrients is vital for optimal brain health. Incorporate foods such as fatty fish, leafy greens, berries, and nuts into your daily meals. These nutritional powerhouses support cognitive function and provide the energy leaders need for effective decision-making.

3. Adequate Sleep

Quality sleep is a non-negotiable factor in cognitive well-being. Aim for 7-9 hours of restorative sleep each night. As our Coach Program Manager Debbie Cheuh aptly says, “Like refocusing a camera lens, a night of good sleep brings our thinking into sharp, vibrant focus.” Sleep is a fundamental tool for memory consolidation and cognitive restoration.

4. Stress Management

Chronic stress can impair cognitive function, hampering your ability to make sound decisions. Incorporate stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga into your daily routine. Managers practicing mindfulness techniques often cope better with high-pressure situations, leading to improved personal well-being. These practices foster mental resilience for long-term vitality.

5. Mental Stimulation

Engage in activities that challenge your mind regularly. Whether solving puzzles, playing chess, or learning a new language or instrument, continuous mental stimulation is key to optimal cognitive functioning. Ensure you engage with the stimulation that gives you energy and does not drain you. Distractions such as social media or binge-watching Netflix not only mentally drains you but also impedes progress on your goals. Leaders who prioritize intellectual challenges continually expand their cognitive capacities.

6. Brain-Training Apps and Games

While not a replacement for other cognitive activities, brain-training apps and games such as Lumosity or Sudoku can provide our brains with enjoyable mental exercises for cognitive agility. Bring gamification to the workplace through brain-training apps employees can integrate into your company’s wellness routines.

7. Biohacking

Consider biohacking strategies to optimize cognitive performance. Biohacking is the practice of improving mental and physical performance through the use of science, technology, and lifestyle changes. Strategies may include taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements such as fish oil. Studies show they have an incredible impact on cardiovascular health. Companies can promote biohacking initiatives throughout the organization to improve a team’s cognitive health, leading to more innovation and strategic decision-making.

The Bottom Line

As leaders, we must recognize the integral role cognitive functions play in achieving success. By adopting the above seven habits, you can gain a competitive, cognitive edge in the business landscape. Cognitive acuity is a hallmark of effective leadership. Those who prioritize it are poised to lead with clarity, resilience, and elite performance.

Get started on your leadership journey by scheduling an executive coaching discovery call today.

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Disclaimer: This article is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be and should not be taken as professional medical, psychological, legal, investment, financial, accounting, or tax advice. Arootah does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or suitability of its content for a particular purpose. Please do not act or refrain from acting based on anything you read in our newsletter, blog or anywhere else on our website.

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