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.
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