Your mind is just like your physical form; it needs regular exercise for all of its parts to function at optimum levels. Like your muscles, if you neglect your brain, it will not grow. This leads to subpar cognitive performance and sometimes significant drop in overall daily functioning.
Thankfully, you need not reach such a dreadful state. Here are some common games you can play to work out the brain:
Sudoku: Not Just for the Math Genius
Contrary to what you might be thinking, this game is not merely for the math genius you so envied in high school. It was not designed to be played by just geeks and nerds either. As a matter of fact, just about anyone can play this game. Logical thinkers will find it entertaining, while people whose logical thought processes need a bit of work will find Sudoku challenging and will reap tons of benefits from playing it.
So what is it, and how can you start playing? Well, Sudoku is actually a number placement puzzle based on logic (not so much on mathematics, praise the heavens!). The goal of anyone playing this game is to accomplish a 9×9 grid in such a way that each of the columns, rows, and 3×3 boxes/blocks includes the numbers 1 to 9 exclusively or without repetition. Don’t worry yourself, though. The puzzle already comes with a partly filled out grid. Excited to play the game? Skim through the pages of your newspaper for your daily fix, or search for puzzles online.
Crosswords: A Fun Way to Strengthen Your Grasp of Language
If you’re done with numbers and wish to work on words instead, then try your wits against crosswords. Coming in the form of a square or rectangular grid, this particular puzzle’s goal is for you to fill the grid’s white squares with letters to come up with words or string them together into a phrase. The puzzle comes with clues to give you hints on the words or phrases needed. If you worked at this puzzle enough, you might just be the king or queen of vocabulary yet! Itching to try it? Check Yahoo! Games for samples you can work on.
Anagrams: The Perfect Brain Twist
The goal of this game is to rearrange the letters of a given word to come up with another word. Another variation could have the player forming a word out of randomly arranged letters, sort of like Text Twist. For example, the game could give you the word “secure” or the random letters “c r e s e u.” Now, if you’re quick, it might only take you a few seconds to produce the word’s anagram, which is “rescue.” If you are ready for an even greater challenge, try the games which have you forming phrases from a given combination of words (e.g. bad credit = debit card). Check out this site. Tired of playing on your own? Then organize a rowdy anagram contest with scores of your friends. Not only will you be exercising your brain and giving it the twist it needs, you will also get to socialize at the same time.
Tetris: Keep Those Pieces Coming!
This game is not only oodles of fun, but also trains your brain in numerous ways. Tetris keeps you alert, and checks your reaction time, concentration, and orientation to spatial elements. People of all ages have tried playing this game, in one variation or the other. If you aren’t familiar with this, then check out the game instructions below.
See the rows of blocks at the bottom of the game screen? The goal of the game is to completely fill those rows. The challenging thing about it is that the blocks are of various shapes; you will have to rotate them as needed to fill the gaps. The row will not disappear as long as there is a hole in it; if the rows pile up and reach the top of the screen, you can bid the game goodbye.
There are numerous other games you can play to exercise your brain. If you want to be totally immersed in a thought-provoking exercise, try playing chess. Other games like Scrabble, Chinese Checkers, Bridge, and several other card and board games are also worth a try. No matter which exercise you pick, remember to give your brain the daily workout it craves and needs.
Caveat About Working out the Brain
Remember, working out the brain is a lot similar to working out the body. In order for your brain to improve and not plateau, the exercise needs to be challenging. And just like is a difference between physical activity and physical exercise, there is a difference between mental activity and mental exercise. If you are pretty good at sudoku and are only completing easy sudoku puzzles, then that doesn’t really qualify as mental exercise. So in order for you to make the best use of these brain games, you need to constantly challenge your brain. The brain loves novelty.
Other things you can do besides playing games is to find new hobbies and try to get really good at something. Learning something completely new rewires the brain in different areas and makes it work better. Additionally, reading, exercise, and sports are also a good option to enhancing your brain power.