How Do You Exercise Your Brain?
When I started doing Sudoku I could solve the ‘easy’ puzzles but it took all my brain power to solve the ‘medium’ ones. I persevered (I’m stubborn that way) and over time I progressed through ‘medium’ to ‘difficult’ to ‘challenger’ puzzles; the expert level! Sudoku is a great work-out for my brain.
The card game Free Cell always baffled me until I watched how my father played it. I couldn’t imagine how to get the aces out when they were buried beneath so many other cards. My Dad didn’t seem to be concerned about that. After only a cursory glance to see where the aces were, he just kept doing what he could do – putting a red seven on a black eight, etc.. He knew if he carefully tended to the little moves he could win every game and did. I can do that now too if I stay focused.
Jigsaw puzzles are big in my family. We love the fully-interlocking, thousand-piece ones that take weeks and weeks of Sundays to do. When I first sit at the puzzle table I feel slightly overwhelmed. I stare and sort pieces for a while without putting any together. Then suddenly I begin to see where the pieces go, one after another. It’s like my brain has been quietly solving the puzzle while I sat staring at the mess of scattered pieces! I don’t know why but it feels so satisfying to “get a piece!”
I was just playing these games, enjoying them but then I noticed my game skills were spilling over onto my life. I’m better at tactical thinking now thanks to playing Sudoku. From Free Cell I learn strategy and patience; I can get to where I want to be if I continue to take the little steps with focused attention. Doing jigsaw puzzles reminds me that if I take my time and give enough consideration to a problem, I’ll eventually find the best solution.
This Article talks about the brain’s need for exercise. What do you do to keep sharp? Do you play chess or another board game? What about bridge? Crossword puzzles? What am I missing? How do you exercise your brain?
photo credit: Liza 31337