When you don’t use your brain very much, it gets weaker,” Kesari told Healthline. “I think it is important for brain health that you use your brain more.DR. SANTOSH KESARI, NEURO-ONCOLOGIST, AND CHAIR OF THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSLATIONAL NEURO-ONCOLOGY AND NEUROTHERAPEUTICS AT THE JOHN WAYNE CANCER INSTITUTE AT PROVIDENCE SAINT JOHN’S HEALTH CENTER IN CALIFORNIA, CITE:
As Dr. Kesari has surmised, the more you use your brain, the stronger the brain’s capabilities in terms of what is being exercised, and the parts of the brain responsible for those activities. Within this context of providing challenges to encourage out of the box thinking, we came to write our books on brain teasers. For full disclosure the catalyst to write these books was also a result of, or response, to the COVID “New Normal”, where traditional activities that would have provided mental stimulations were no longer available or heavily circumscribed.
Brain Teasers and Logic Puzzles, Going Beyond Everyday Challenges
Thinking outside the box and creating new solutions is encouraged through brainteasers and logic puzzles, as simply by posing such questions the reader knows that the answer is not likely the obvious one. These challenges are thought to utilize both sides of the brain, where imagination is required along with reasoning skills, that in the result see complete brain activation. Brain games do not involve average daily challenges and therefore may be able to translate into cognitive improvements, through use of the whole brain and putting it into action. This premise is consistent with the “Use It, or Lose It” model of brain health management.
“Puzzles play with words, numbers, shapes, and logic in a way that impels us to uncover the solutions that they hide,” Danesi says. “We are thus engaged in a mental hunt for something, much like a detective in mystery stories or a scientist looking for the reason behind some phenomenon … ”MARCEL DANESI, PROFESSOR OR SEMIOTICS AND ANTHROPOLOGY AT VICTORA COLLEGE, UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO, CITE HTTPS://WWW.RD.COM/ARTICLE/WHAT-HAPPENS-TO-YOUR-BRAIN-WHEN-DO-A-PUZZLE/
While it is suggested puzzle challenges benefit all ages, they may be particularly suitable for older brains. Puzzles enable and often require, lateral thinking that could awaken dormant neural pathways. Extended benefits of playing brain games have been said to include a reduction or deceleration of negative mental effects related to old age.
Math Problems, Ubiquitous and Necessary Mental Challenges
Math it seems is becoming a long lost art, with the penetration and propensity to use calculators or other devices in our daily lives that essentially do the calculations for us. So by necessity a math question for many has become a proxy for a brain teaser or logic puzzle!
This is not a good state of affairs, and while we do not believe, or want to believe that math ignorance is pervasive or the necessary result of technological dependence, there is likely little question that math problems provide ongoing challenges to assist with declines in math literacy.
Puzzles activate both the left and right hemispheres of the brain. “Imagination is activated alongside reasoning or reckoning,” Danesi says. “Memory also comes into play, especially in word-based and math-based puzzles. This entails a ‘whole-brain’ activation.”MARCEL DANESI, PROFESSOR OF SEMIOTICS AND ANTHROPOLOGY AT VICTORIA COLLEGE, UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO, CITED IN HTTPS://WWW.RD.COM/ARTICLE/WHAT-HAPPENS-TO-YOUR-BRAIN-WHEN-DO-A-PUZZLE/
The brain exercise offered through a logical math puzzle is then almost like taking the brain to the gym for a whole body (and mind) workout!
Visual Puzzles, for increasing Speed and Accuracy
A visual puzzle tests the speed and accuracy of the puzzler’s attention. Visual puzzles involve information processing elements such as attention, focus and problem solving, being among elements used in interventions that seek to deal with Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Speed of processing challenges potentially help the brain to process visual information quicker.
Brain training processes have been promoted as having some effect on ADHD, although studies are both for and against measurable effects. ADHD is marked by patterns of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity interfering with functioning or development. Researchers have found a spectrum of effectiveness of brain training,
where improvements were seen in cognitive tasks subject of the training although transfer effects to untrained tasks were questioned.
Bottom Line, Brain Games as a Healthy Tool in Dealing with Mental Health
Brain teasers are a great alternative to typical video games / screen time that many individuals and families resort to as a matter of habit. They can be a fun activity to put an end to a stressful day or as a bonding opportunity after dinner. A puzzle shared amongst and with others, has derivative benefits of enhancing communication skills and socialization, key elements of good health and a healthy lifestyle! So challenge on!