Brain Games

Ah, forgetting where you placed keys and glasses, or following a direction stated a mere five-minutes ago, those are “normal” age-related aspects of memory loss. Did you know a vitamin deficiency of B-12 and hyperthyroidism can affect your memory, too? The continued absence of sharp details can feel like a brain drain. The solution is an activity to maintain and improve cognitive skills. It is time to consider playing games to improve memory, learning, attention and mood!

Crossword Puzzles

Reading clues to suit blocks positioned both across and down is one of the top cognitive exercises that aid all aspects of mental acuity. By merely investing time in a brain consuming activity, like crossword puzzles, you vastly can improve verbal skills, think more creatively, improve problem-solving and delve deeper into thought-provoking subjects. Three and four heads are much better than one; therefore, invite friends! Talking through ideas and thoughts strengthens social bonds, and keeps the mind sharp. The only downfall: You may become an insufferable genius!

Jigsaw Puzzles

Your left brain is the master of linear understanding, while the right hemisphere emphasizes creativity and intuition. Jigsaw puzzles, the act of sorting colors and shapes, combines both sides to offer a mental workout of problem-solving and attention. While scanning multiple configurations, choosing and clicking into place, peace and tranquility promote the relaxation to lower blood pressure and heart rate. Studies suggest puzzle-maniacs tend to live longer. If you haven’t assembled a puzzle in a while, begin with 500 pieces. The perfect balance to present both challenge and solvability!


Are you having difficulty adding and subtracting time values in your mind or calculating tips? One way to improve confidence is to practice numeracy. In the quiet of a morning or evening, begin by choosing a two-digit number like 47; then add five (52) and subtract seven (45). Repeat the process. Increase the challenge level by choosing a three-digit number. Numeracy helps you hold details while strengthening your ability to categorize numbers logically in your mind. In addition to addition and subtraction and telling time, try solving simple equations and ordering mathematical operations.


The health of your body comprising nutritious foods, sleep and daily exercise can enhance enthusiasm or hinder the performance of everyday tasks. In looking at holistic well-being, especially mental health, the brain needs energy and nourishment to function. What better activity than yoga? Breathing, meditation and simple poses can stimulate focus, energy and relieve the day’s stresses. You, too, can practice super yoga poses such as the diamond or spinal twist pose and bee breathing. While the living room is an adequate location, consider joining a class to meet new people.

Pick Up a Pen!

Technology, particularly keyboarding, cannot compete with the cognitive benefits of using paper and pencil. According to the experts, expressing thoughts by hand enhances cognitive processes. Typing may be a faster method to convey ideas, but handwritten acts force the writer to encode the information while continuing additional thoughts. Expressing concerns through journaling, for instance, improves stress levels; therefore, start engaging in creative activities by doodling, journaling, mapping out daily schedules and forming to-do lists. The best suggestion is to go shopping for stationery and begin mailing handwritten letters to family members and old friends! The recipient will love it and, with hope, write back!

Brain Training Apps

Have phone, will travel? Yes, you already have the means to target specific areas such as controlling anxiety, improving memory and attention span. Start by researching “Brain Training Apps” to decide which game you want to download and potentially buy. Be careful; some games require a fee to play the full version.

Research suggests the continuous stimulation of the neural pathways can improve and prolong healthy brain performance. There are any number of ways to promote mental acuity; so, get started today in planning your first brainy activity!


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