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To improve your brain’s performance, you don’t need to follow a strict and tasteless diet, or enlist expensive specialists. Instead you can try something that isn’t as costly or difficult to follow. Try playing Scrabble! Let’s take a look at the benefits that playing Scrabble and other mentally challenging word games, can offer!

Your Brain on Scrabble

Most of us imagine that playing games which make use of particular parts of our brain would make us better at using it. That’s usually the case, but not for Scrabble. In the 2015 study Neural Correlates of Visual Word Recognition in Competitive Scrabble Players researchers found out that Scrabble experts made use of a different area of the brain during lexical decisions, the standard visual word recognition task than subjects with little to no Scrabble expertise.

It means that playing Scrabble could be beneficial to people with neurodegenerative disorders that target a particular part of the brain. While it’s certainly no cure, it’s at least a way to arrest the progress of neurological disorders.

Enriches the Vocabulary

It is no surprise that playing a game of Scrabble can teach us new words; sometimes accompanied by a cocky smile on the opponent’s face. The resulting emotional reaction can lead to our new-found thirst for knowledge. The reasons for it shouldn’t matter as much as the goal. If you feel that you are exceptionally bad at Scrabble, one way to improve your word recall and vocabulary is with online tools like Unscramblex.com.

Additionally, Scrabble can be a great way to improve the vocabulary of young kids. By having children focus on a game, they’ll learn while having fun. Bonus points if your child can play word games with kids whose native language differs from their own.

Tactics & Strategy

Although the game of Scrabble is mostly concerned with words, there is also an element of strategy involved. It’s not enough to create a long word; you must be smart about placing the correct letters on specific fields that grant valuable double and triple word and letter bonuses. Even more important is focusing on the options you leave for your opponent. Sometimes making an excellent move isn’t worth it, because it would leave opportunity for your opponents to make even a bigger score!

Improves your Focus

These days the world runs fast, and it can be difficult in this day and age to focus. Our attention spans have gotten considerably shorter. We’re used to multitasking, and processing information fast. Once again – that skill can be useful, but when it comes to focusing for longer periods of time, things get trickier.

No matter what you are in the middle of – running, washing dishes, or vacuuming your bedroom, there is an unconscious desire, this itch that needs scratching that orders you to check your mobile phone. You never know when there might be a discount on those socks that you can’t wait to get your hands (or feet) on, or perhaps you’ve just got a text from your mom about an unexpected visit. It is not outside the realm of possibility. Or maybe that’s what your brain will trick you into believing.

To counteract those attempts, you should try doing more activities that require you to focus for a long period of time. It might be challenging at first, but it is absolutely worth it, as it will make you excel in different areas of your life that require intense concentration.

Improves your Memory

I’m sure you’ve heard about the myriad of different things you should be doing that will make you smarter, improve your IQ, or make you fast like a bullet. Most of those tricks aren’t worth much, but there’s one thing that’s been proven to improve your cognitive performance significantly.

Training your memory leads to improved cognitive capacity, which means that your brain will be more efficient when dealing with challenging tasks. One of the effects of playing Scrabble is learning new words, but playing this game will also have a direct impact on the performance of your brain.

Interactions with Others

Most of us don’t think that interacting with other people as particularly beneficial for our cognitive performance, but in reality it’s one of the best ways to keep our minds sharp. It forces us to compare our perspectives with that of other people and helps us see things from a different angle.

Playing games regularly with your friends can also decrease your stress levels. It is crucial because long-term stress has a negative impact on our cognitive performance and can even lead to irreversible changes in the brain. It means that playing Scrabble is great, but just as important is with whom you are playing – the more diverse the group, the better.

It’s Easy!

Taking good care of your brain doesn’t have to be tedious. The best medicine doesn’t always have to taste bad, but somehow we are more doubtful about its effects if our assumption is proven to be wrong. Regularly playing Scrabble with your friends can be not only fun but also a great way to ensure that you stay on top of your game.

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Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

The Guest Contributor author is a collection of posts written by authors outside of the Meeple Mountain writing team.

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