The subject of the perceived efficiency of brain games to train your mind is not new and certainly not over yet, as extensive research is still necessary not to prove without a doubt that they indeed improve our brain functions, preventing us to be victims of neural degeneration, cognitive impairments and all sort of connected disease, but to find the exact mechanisms these games and exercises help us improve our cognitive functions. And since we love games, why not play them for our own health?
There are quite hot debates in the psychological world regarding their benefits and positive outcomes on a long term, but truth be told, some of these games are indeed challenging, interesting, mind – provoking and quite good testers of our abilities.
There is nothing wrong with trying to improve our mind skills and our functions, such as memory, attention, decision making and so on, and if you feel up to it, here are ten brain games to train your mind to have fun with!
1. Memorize pairs
This is a fun game to play, even with children, to enhance their mnemonic abilities.
Make a list of pair words and memorize the pair. This is great for practicing your ability to retain information.
Check your memory skills by asking somebody to read you a word in the list, while you should retrieve from your memory the paired word. Since this is quite good to test and improve your linguistic memory, try a similar game replacing words with numbers and even other more complex matches, such as concepts and specific terms.
2. The Dark Room
Another good memory exercise that will keep your Acetylcholine levels pumping and help you learn a lot of things is to memorize the location of some clothes in the bedroom, turn off the light and start dressing in the dark. Do a few regular activities in complete darkness, like brushing your teeth or eating, they will lead to new brain connections to strengthen.
3. Long Story Short
This is quite popular and it is not meant only to improve your language skills or put your brain to heavy thinking, but to also pump up your creative cells: try writing a short story using only 7 to 10 words, a story that makes sense, of course. It is not as easy as it seems, and even writers have some troubles in finding the exact words to pull this task off.
Together with age, come also the attention problems. We find it hard to focus or pay attention to multiple sources in the same time, or do at least two things in the same time without jeopardizing one or the other. To enhance your attention skills, you should try some brain games to improve your mind, such as reading and listening to music in the same time, jogging and listening to an audi-book and striving to understand both, changing the regular route to your office so you could focus your attention on new things.
5. Name Your Colors
This is a widely popular game that has some hard science behind it. The rule is to look at the above list of words and read out loud the color that each word is printed in—not the word itself. You will see it is awfully hard, but this exercise will work on your ability to stay focused.
6. Full Room
Enter a room and try to remember five objects’ locations. Step out of the room and state which object was in each location. This is a good exercise for bot your memory and your attention and you can improve your skill by trying to add many more objects and places to the list. You may not get Sherlock Holmes’ abilities, but this brain game to train your mind is sure helpful to enhance some cognitive processes that we need so much.
Now this is such a great game, few people managed to not get addicted to it. You will think this only requires mathematics, but you are wrong. Sudoku will ignite a lot of your cognitive functions, from attention, to memory, to problem solving, decision making and computing, so give it a try. In your real life, being great at Sudoku might help you solve logical problems that you meet at work for instance.
8. The Raven
The Adult Standard Raven Matrices test is one of many (although the most popular) IQ test that is used in academical and diagnostic purposes. The Multiple Intelligence theories agree that the Raven test doesn’t actually measure all your intelligence skills and domains, but when it comes to space concept, mathematical computing and logic, it is almost infallible. So take the test and practice with it your rational – logical and mathematical intelligence and if you break it, move on to some harder ones.
9. Crossword puzzles
They look so mundane, you wouldn’t believe they can actually be listed among the brain games to train your mind, but you’ll be surprised actually. These puzzles, just like Scrabble, tend to work on your vocabulary and the way your mind defines concepts and retrieves knowledge with the help of only very few triggers. It is a great exercise for categorization, conceptualization, making connections very fast and keep your brain cells working at full speed.
10. Lateral thinking
Solve this exercise:
A man lives in the penthouse of an apartment building. Every morning he takes the elevator down to the lobby and leaves the building. Upon his return, however, he can only travel halfway up in the lift and has to walk the rest of the way – unless it’s raining. What is the explanation for this?
This is a classic lateral thinking problem and you can have a lot of fun (and get mind blown) by trying to solve others. Lateral thinking exercises have a tremendous benefit on your capacity to process information, give them meaning, make assumptions, solve problems and step out of prejudice and traditional barriers in thinking.
If you have other brain games to train your mind, please feel free to share them. We hope you will try some of them and see some improvements in your cognitive skills.