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Why Practicing Strategic Games is Beneficial for Your Cognitive Abilities


We're all in a rat race, doing the same things over and over again, which means that after a while, our minds will put all those things on auto mode to save our body's energy. We no longer need to strictly use our brain muscles to fully fulfill the tasks we regularly perform because they all set in a pattern after a while. So, slowly, our brain power starts to decrease if we don't learn new things or try to improve our mental skills. The brain needs regular exercise, no matter how strange that might sound, and thankfully there are many games you can try out and play for this purpose alone.

Most importantly, games are good activities that help us communicate freely and engage in many activities with each other. Unlike a child who really wants to explore, play gives way to reasoning and paying attention to achieving goals. In other words, gaming provides a lot of benefits for people with the interest and ability to practice and show off their skills at what they are good at. In the text below, we’ll dive into more detail regarding the importance of strategic games and their many benefits for cognitive function.



They teach us that problem solving is a skill

Cognitive function is an aspect of brain health that involves thinking, remembering, and learning. Good cognitive health requires taking care of your physical health, controlling your blood pressure, maintaining a healthy diet, being physically active, connecting with social activities, managing stress, and keeping your brain active. In the spirit of the last statement, “keeping your brain active” means constantly stressing those muscles by solving and finding practical solutions to presented problems.

Strategic games teach us to solve different kinds of problems and to develop the thinking skills we need to do so. Critical thinking, solving specific problems, or cognitive flexibility are just some of the skills that you can improve through these games. Other competencies that players acquire are accuracy, the ability to deal with problems, anticipation, the ability to adapt to all new situations, and the development of reading and mathematical abilities. It is very important for the player to win, so he/she analyzes the situation, persists in their plan, and moves to a higher level. In addition, the players themselves need to understand what is happening, develop logic, and recognize the pattern.


Playing games speeds up mental data processing

When you are on the computer playing a game or with friends engaging in a strategic board game, it often means that you have to react quickly, and many studies have shown that gamers have a better reaction time when approaching problem-solving than others. Mental data processing involves the brain’s ability to quickly respond to available information within a short time span, meaning your brain will access certain information at a higher speed than usual. This is something you are naturally able to do, but sometimes this ability fades due to a lack of adequate “training”. That’s why playing games can activate this natural ability and enhance it.

Chess, for example, has been known to us for centuries, and the fact that it is still “hanging around” tells a lot about the game's benefits and its many advantages. While facing your opponent in a face-to-face game of chess, you’ll have to remember his/her moves before and think of all the possible outcomes of your next move. This requires remembering all your previous games and all the wins or losses you endured. Thankfully, the internet provides you with a lot of free chess puzzles and the ability to practice them on a regular basis. You can learn new moves and explore new strategies while working on your focus and constantly acquiring new knowledge. No wonder, whole tournaments are being held annually, considering the many benefits the game provides and how it helps our cognitive functions.

Other games have similar information response times and can help you speed up your mental data processing. Regular strategic games, which are quite popular, such as League of Legends and alike, have been proven to provide you with the same benefits while at the same time making you feel like part of a bigger community of online players worldwide.




Visual tasks are easier for those who play games

Research has shown that people who play computer games, compared to those who do not, are better at finding objects, hidden or lost, can more easily separate important from non-essential, detect visual changes and solve different problems with ease. Motor, spatial, and precision skills are also developed. In the game, the players need to find their way very quickly, and for that, they need to develop very good spatial navigation skills. They should also be precise when aiming at the target. The ability to think about objects in three dimensions and make inferences about those objects based on limited knowledge is referred to as spatial ability, which is a category of reasoning skills. For instance, a person with strong spatial thinking abilities might be especially quick to complete a tangram problem, which requires players to connect smaller forms to create larger ones. The ability to see how an object would appear when rotated may also come naturally to someone with strong spatial abilities. These abilities can be developed with effort and are helpful in a variety of real-world circumstances. For mathematics, science, engineering, and technology, spatial skills are crucial.


They teach us that failure is part of the success

Anyone who has ever succeeded knows that behind it lies a series of failed attempts. Failure is very important for the psychological development of children as well as adults, and computer games and different strategic games are great for showing how a level can be passed immediately, or only after you lose "all your lives" a few times. The “success” of failure teaches us to accept life's unpredictability and to handle little misfortunes much better. People who lacked “losses” and failure throughout their lives are exposed to higher stress levels and are regarded as even the slightest mischance catastrophically. In contrast to this, people who have been engaged in various games, from regular sports to strategic games, are more confident and feel less worthless after a failure, as they have accepted this phenomenon as a principle of life.


Multitasking is a lost art

We often say how women are generally better at multitasking than men, yet few of us really understand what multitasking is. Generally, it is the ability to do and finish with a high success rate for several different tasks while being partially concentrated on each. The ability makes it possible for most to finish more with less time on their hands and to manage problems more effectively. When multitasking, our brains are faced with numerous solutions on how to handle the problems we face, and therefore we prioritize the solutions that are most effective. This ability generally allows us to prioritize things in our personal lives and pick the best way to handle an issue. Strategic games require us to be multitasking masters, as you have to perform several different cognitive abilities at once, and it all culminates with you seeking and finding the best move.

With all this said, you can see how playing these games is by no means a “ waste of time,” but rather a productive engagement that benefits your brain on various levels.

© Angel Castaño 2008 Salamanca / Poole - free videos to learn real English online || InfoPrivacyTerms of useContactAbout
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