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Ways To Boost Your Cognitive Flexibility

Just for a moment, think of yourself resting on your couch, watching Netflix and munching some fried chips right from the bag and suddenly you notice the fire alarm, the bright red color blinking and hear its piercing sound in your ears. All of this happens out of nowhere when you see your curtain half caught up with the fire because you forgot to switch off the Iron. How are you going to react?

In neurosciences “task switching” has a common mention in the study but if you’re unfamiliar with it then let me give a really rough idea of how it works, it’s basically the ability of a person to switch his thoughts according to a new stimulus that has been produced in the situation and in psychology, this concept has been given the name of “cognitive flexibility”.

Lets use a resembling situation to explain the concept of cognitive flexibility, think of yourself as an air conditioner installed in your room, take that as your brain and the temperatures of the air conditioner as your “thoughts”, you decide to stay on one constant temperature even if it’s getting colder outside and there’s a dire need of increasing the temperature but you decide not to change it and stay on the lowest temperature, this will be considered your cognitive inflexibility. The following example should be taken to consider what one should do when a new stimulus is present and how he should easily adjust his thoughts according to that situation.

Various elements have been considered to describe what cognitive flexibility is an individual’s life, this concept can be implemented when it comes to adapting to the religious transitions happening along in a century’s time, adapting to current affairs or just adjusting to a new environment. If we summarize this all, this concept basically makes you more acceptable, divergent and allows to respond better to the creativeness of the evolving world.

Rigid thinking

Rigid thinking is the direct opposite of flexibility, it makes a person react inappropriately in different or unfamiliar situations, rigid thinking becomes a problem when one starts having problem in adjustment and knows no alternatives to tackle an unfamiliar situation occurred in his surroundings, moreover, it stops the individual from exploring new ideas and concepts that exist in his environment.

Confirmation Bias

Confirmation biasness is something we start developing as we get older, for example if a person tells us about the concept of photosynthesis, which we all have learnt about when we’re in the primary school and when a younger one tells us about it, we give little to no acknowledgment, mentioning it to be a that concept we’re already aware of. This type of behavior only leads to one losing what the actual essence of learning is.

Reinforcement

When we face failure or expect a different action directed by our brain, we target the method of reinforcement and to increase the cognitive flexibility too, we concentrate on that. The reaction to a different stimulus must be well processed by the brain, the main area of commands, and if we fail to adjust to the new stimulus then we need to learn methods to act better next time which can only be possible by reinforcement.

Memory 

Memory is one of the crucial parts of the brain that affect the cognition of the brain, it allows to accept, store and retrieve the processed information in it and our actions too depend on it.

For example, you’re talking to a friend of yours who’s facing some work problems, as soon as you hear the term “work” you relate with the theme and advise him something that could help because the theme matches with yours, you’re familiar with work environments and your brain directly ticks the box of memory leading to a retrieval of information already stored in the memory.

A lot of people have been terming memory as an analog of a camera, it records an experience, stores it in and then at time of need you can retrieve that following captured experience, but the psychiatrists have termed memory a lot more complex than the basic functioning of a camera.

Information bottleneck

For example, you turn on the tap but find no water coming out directly from out, later you observe a blockage in the tap due to ample dirt stuck in between allowing little to no water to flow directly out of the tap. This concept focuses on people when they’ve too much information saved in their minds that a point comes when they’re unable to respond according to an acceptable degree.

Salience

The term itself means to prioritize or make something prominent, in neurosciences we study the concept of salience networks. Our brain is constantly full of sensory data and to act on a certain thought it needs to focus on what’s more important in that current scenario and to follow an action like that, it needs to prioritize the information that will best guide our behavior in that situation.

Low latent inhibition

You meet a friend who’s always worn spectacles and you meet him after good 6 months, you greet him normally without noticing the logo on the corner of the frame and you consider it an old information of him wearing specs and move on. In situation 2, you meet your friend after 6 months, notice the logo in the corner of the spectacles and respond immediately, you inquire about when he planned to change his spectacles and have a good conversation about it. Your brain accepts the change in the situation and acts accordingly, analyzing every detail, from the color of the logo to the place he bought his from and how long did it take him to get his spectacles back.

Mostly artists also have low latent inhibition, they’re more inclined towards gathering new facts and observe the intricate details of the subject they’re planning to base their future work on.

Myopia

Myopia is the concept in psychology which relates to us not seeing what’s behind the doors, for example we might get introduced to a topic which has always been discussed before and you still hold a blurry vision of the concept, technically, making you aware of the topic. If you have a cognitive flexibility, then your brain will direct you to search further about the topic and find out about why’s everyone going in one single flow or why is there a need to create another pathway for people to walk in. if you’re capable enough to do that and adjust according to what you know is better for you and the fellow participant of the conversation is the actual cognitive flexibility.

Here are some of the ways that can efficiently help you to increase your cognitive flexibility.

Cognitive Performance And Physical Exercises:
Research has proved physical exercise to go hand in hand with the cognitive function of humans, when you exercise, happy hormones are release, commonly known as dopamine and serotonin etc. this allows you to have a lighter mood and a better acceptability towards situations that you’re unfamiliar with due to which you’ll adjust a lot better to a new stimulus.

Make new connections

One of the best sources to have a healthy mind is to form new connections with the people you’ve never met before or casually have seen them in your office but working in a different department, greet them with a simple Hello and it’d eventually lead you to having daily conversations with them to a casual friendship. Form a positive attitude towards people that have been expecting a neutral behavior from you, all of this will help you have a broader perspective of things that already are present in the society, and you’ll soon have a mind that can easily adjust to any unfamiliar situation in life.

Unfold the past experiences

Try talking to someone about whatever you’ve gone through and kept piling all that up in your mind, barricading the thoughts in one place and letting them escape can lead you to have higher chances of not being capable of dealing with any situation in your life because you’ll already be too busy with whatever’s happened in the past.

Imagination and practicality

At the time of accumulation of thoughts, try to widen your perspective with thoughts that allow practicality for the information you’re storing in, figure out ways that can make you bring them to some use, this method allows you to stay ahead of the unexpected situations in the future.

A willing attitude

Keep your attitude in a positive and constantly remind yourself that you’re up for whatever’s going to become an obstacle in your life, if you got clear intentions then you’re good to go.

Self-determination for learning

 Equipping yourself with knowledge is a lifelong process and it’s never too late to equip yourself with a new skill that’ll allow to invest yourself in something productive or simply will earn you a few bucks and both are going to facilitate you only.

Positive thinking

This method is a key to have a better cognitive function when every other step feels a little difficult implement in your life, try to have a clear and positive mind when there’s a sudden need of sorting out a situation that has been placed right in front of you. Try to have a clear mind when you’re supposed to decide.

Secondly, find creativity and a bit of joy in every aspect of life, learn methods that can equip you with activities that allow you to have a joyful mood, go to a walk with your dog or normally implement some laughing therapies in your daily routine. Once you find a way to find humor in your daily life, you brain is forced to adjust to different situations that are most likely to occur in your life.

Explain after you learn

Some years back there’s this quote that I randomly read while surfing on the internet, if you’re able to explain a concept than you’ve learnt it but if you’re unable to do that then you need to relearn the previous concept. To implement this concept in your life just stand in front of a mirror and explain the concept to yourself, if you succeed then you’ve learnt it in the best possible way.

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