If you’re taking a break from work, and you’re looking for something to do, it can be tempting to simply put on your favorite Netflix show and sit there and stare at the screen like a zombie.
Binge-watching a show can feel good – but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s good for your brain.
In fact, binge-watching a show stimulates our brain to produce more dopamine, which causes our bodies to experience a drug-like high. This can lead us to develop a pseudo-addiction to whatever we’re watching, because our brain wants more dopamine.
This is as unhealthy as it sounds – and it’s definitely not the best use of our time. After all, staying mentally fit is just as important for our long-term wellbeing as staying physically fit.
With that being said, we thought we’d give you some suggestions for games that will keep your brain switched on, and provide you with some beneficial long-term skills that you’ll be able to leverage in your everyday life.
Here’s a list of fun games to play online during downtime or work breaks to keep your brain stimulated:
Solitaire has been around since the 18th century, and it is still extremely popular today. In fact, it is one of the most popular games in the world – and for good reason.
This single-player game is extremely brain stimulating, and playing it can improve your concentration and make you more strategic by creating new connections in your brain, and reinforcing existing connections.
The more you play solitaire, the better you’ll get at it, which means you can monitor your improvements and challenge yourself as you get better.
With SolitaireBliss, you have access to various, free versions of solitaire, including traditional, Spider, FreeCell, Pyramid and more.
Color Pipes is also a game of strategy. It requires you to connect pipes together by drawing different colored lines between them. If the lines cross, then your solution is invalid and you have to start again.
This game helps you to improve your long-term strategy. It’s fun to play alone, or you can play it with family members or friends, and work together to come up with a solution that works to improve your collaboration skills and teamwork. Or, you can test yourselves and see who can complete the most puzzles the fastest.
I’m A Puzzle
Like solitaire, completing jigsaw puzzles creates new connections in your brain, and reinforces existing connections. It is also a surprisingly effective way to improve your short-term memory, and give you greater attention to detail.
Websites like I’m a Puzzle give you access to thousands of interesting jigsaw puzzles – including animals, bridges, landscapes, and more – for free. You can even upload your own puzzle using any image you’d like using the platform’s free jigsaw puzzle maker.
Uploading an image of something that you enjoy – such as a particular scene that calms you, or an animal or person that you love – can be a great way to relax your brain. Bizarrely, research has also found that looking at cute pictures can even rekindle your love life!
Sudoku is a number puzzle game. It requires you to fill a 9×9 grid with numbers so that no column, row, or 3×3 section within the grid contains repeated numbers.
Sudoku is a great game for helping you to think critically and improve your concentration. It can also help you to improve your memory – especially if you’re playing a timed game against the clock. As you play more, your playing speed will gradually improve, and you will be able to complete games faster. These skills can transfer into everyday life by ultimately making you better at decision making. Because sudoku puzzles come in varying degrees of difficulty, you can also slowly work your way up to focusing on harder puzzles as you hone your skills.
And just like all of the other games we have listed, sudoku also relaxes your brain by taking your focus away from the everyday stressors of life and giving you something to focus on. According to study tests, people who regularly do puzzles like sudoku have brain function equivalent to 10 years younger than their age.
So the next time you’re taking a break from work or studying, reach for one of these games instead of your phone. It will be more beneficial for you in the long-term, and you’ll probably even find that it’s more fun than scrolling through social media.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but we don’t get any commission from sales made.
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