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Five reason to get (brain) fit this winter

05 July 2019

Crosswords, sudoku, word searches, brain training… we’re constantly instructed to get off our phones and test our brains. But why are these activities so good for us?
Just as a healthy physical lifestyle – with a good diet, exercise and sleep – is important for your body, so too is a healthy mental lifestyle. Puzzles, and puzzle books, are a classic way of exercising your brain. And, just like other forms of exercise, you can select your level of difficulty and work to reach a more demanding level.
We’ve broken down some of the key benefits of brain training puzzles below, we hope it helps!

IMPROVED PROBLEM-SOLVING SKILLS

Puzzles, such as sudoku and crosswords, encourage and improve problem-solving skills. Puzzles reveal information as you attempt to solve them. Sometimes, in sudoku for example, they can reveal that you are on the wrong track and need to start all over again. While it may feel frustrating, processes such as this can encourage mental resilience.

DEVELOPED REASONING SKILLS

Alternatively, you may find that you are on the right track with your puzzle. Your ability to acknowledge and understand new information is an effective way to strengthen your reasoning skills. Taking the time to enhance these skills not only keeps your mind sharp, it familiarises your brain with the feeling of resolving problems.

STRENGTHENED OBSERVATION SKILLS

Activities, like word searches, can help strengthen your observation skills. Taking the time to look for certain words can be an opportunity to relax and unwind, while still stimulating the brain. This can also encourage a mental association with observational searching – a skill you will feel grateful for when looking for lost keys or glasses!

ENCOURAGED ABSTRACT THINKING

On top of that, being unable to find the last few parts of a word search, or search and find page, can encourage abstract thinking. Recognizing that your process of thinking is not effective with the task at hand is a fantastic skill to your on and off the puzzle page.

ENHANCED DECISION-MAKING SKILLS

Many of us struggle with decision-making – what to have for dinner, what to wear to work, what movie to watch. Puzzle books and brain training activities require decisiveness to complete them. The act of placing a word in a crossword puzzle, or number in a sudoku puzzle, can be a subtle way of taking a risk.

Practicing simple, but essential, habits such as these are why puzzles are so beneficial for the mind. After all, practice makes perfect!