One of the most frustrating things to deal with is the day or week when you feel a bit “off your game.” It’s as if your brain can’t function the way you need it to, and you’re dropping the ball left and right. You may need some mind training games to get you back on your feet and out of the mental rut you’re in. These can be anything from your favorite board games to an activity you’ve never tried before, you just have to motivate yourself to be competitive in whatever you do. The best training is often right under our noses, we just have to see these opportunities for what they have the potential to be.
Sometimes the most underrated mind training exercises are the common board or card games we already have at home. Activities such as Uno, Monopoly, Settlers of Catan, and even Euchre are widely accessible games that you may already have. You may not take them very seriously, but when you sit down with your family and get a little competitive, these laid back pastimes become a challenge of strategy. For instance, would you hold on to that “wild card” in Uno to use it as a guaranteed winning play, or are you going to use it sooner to get ahead of the game? Simple things like this teach you to think two steps ahead and plan for any situation that comes your way.
We all get into slumps where you can’t seem to keep track of anything, multitasking is suddenly an Olympic sport, and you can’t seem to construct a coherent sentence. You might need an exercise of awareness and agility in a fast-paced environment to shock you out of your stupor, and those activities could be recreational sports or even certain video games (sorry moms!). In both scenarios, you have to work to keep tabs on all the moving “pieces” in the match, as well as understand how and when to communicate to your teammates. Being able to master basic awareness and communication skills in these games will improve your day to day life, and as a bonus, you’ll form a community and make new friends while you’re at it.
Critical thinking could include both previous topics, but it essentially means analyzing and evaluating the given issue to make a judgment or decision. It can be really hard to find an activity that exercises this skill well, but many people swear escape rooms hit the nail on the head. Facilities such as EscapeWorks in Denver design their rooms to present varying puzzles to participants. They’re challenged to think outside the box to find a solution, as well as evaluate the importance and validity of clues you find. All this under the added stress of a time limit and trying to communicate well as a team makes escape rooms the ideal pick for a full-brain workout.
From the comforts of your own couch to the turf of a soccer field, there are dozens of opportunities to train your mind right at your fingertips. No matter what skill you need to improve, there are countless options for you to choose from. Sometimes you just have to get a little creative, which is an extra mental exercise in itself.
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