When you’re considering what career you should get into, the last thing on your mind is probably how well that job is going to exercise your brain. As it turns out though, there are some intellectually stimulating careers out there that offer more than others in terms of brain health.
Studies have gone into finding out which jobs are best when it comes to keeping your cognitive function high, and the results might surprise you. This doesn’t mean you should quit your job and get one of these mentally demanding jobs instead, but it gives you an idea of what our brains need to keep active.
Considering we spend so much of our lives at work, the profession that we choose will have some influence on our brain health. The more we learn about these jobs and what the brain needs to thrive, the better equipped we can be to give it what it needs.
We are now learning just how important it is to keep your mind stimulated at all ages and to try and preserve the health of your brain. Our jobs are something that take up a great portion of our lives, and for those who work full time, you can spend around a third of your adult life working.
Research has shown that people with mentally stimulating jobs as well as lifestyles that are stimulating and engaging will usually have better brain health later on in life. Why exactly this happens is still being researched, but some believe it’s because our brains build up a reserve during these years and they effectively slow down the negative effects of aging.
Other experts believe that choosing a mentally stimulating career that you partake in every day is similar to undergoing brain fitness activities or brain training games. By keeping your mind active and guessing each day, you’re strengthening it for years to come.
One large study done in Scotland looked at participants over many years from their birth into their older age. Of these 1,066 individuals, there were many different careers and lifestyle factors that came into play, but the study was predominantly interested in their work.
These participants were aged around 70 years old when the study was conducted and it looked back on both their education and former occupations. They were testing on cognition and things like memory and how fast they processed information, and the results were published in the health journal Neurology.
This study has shown what many people thought to be true, and that was that people with complex occupations use more brain power. They found that there were three key categories of complexity when it came to working, including:
These careers were very people facing and require one to communicate with a wide range of people and their situations regularly.
People who work with complicated data and were required to use a lot of brain power over an average workday.
Workers who spent their day with machines and other technical devices could be placed in this category.
Although jobs that fit into each of these areas could be classed as mentally stimulating and good for lifelong brain health, there were two in particular that performed the best.
The study found that people who worked in a career with high complexity with people or data were going to have a better cognitive function as they age. However, this didn’t account for the unique complexity of some people’s jobs or how long they had them for.
Looking at these categories of the best jobs for your brain, there are some careers that stand out as winners. These are the best occupations for brain health according to the findings of the study, not in any particular order:
Doctors usually work with people quite a lot and deal with many different conditions, symptoms, and personalities in a standard day.
A social worker builds many relationships with people of all ages and backgrounds which makes it complex with people.
Lawyers deal with many clients as well as external relationships with other law officials, and it is quite complex when dealing with people.
A probation officer is another job that has high complexity with people due to the many different cases and clients they work with.
Musicians work with a lot of data including beats, tempos, notes, and rhythms, whether they’re learning an instrument or writing a song.
The sheer amount of data that a civil engineer deals with on a daily basis means their brains are getting quite a workout.
Creating buildings means using a lot of data and making calculations constantly, which is all in a day’s work for an architect.
Fixing problems with various machines is a great exercise for the brain and is quite complex.
Making instruments, devices, and machines use a lot of brainpower and is a good example of a career with high complexity with things.
If you can’t find your occupation listed on the best jobs for your brain, there’s no need to panic. There are plenty of other ways you can exercise your brain and keep it healthy for longer by doing simple things like brain fitness games and brain health supplements.
Our jobs are such a huge part of our lives and understanding now that they can actually affect our elderly years and how we function makes them even more important. If you feel your occupation lacks mental stimulation, you should put in extra effort to keep your brain working out at home.