Memory is probably one of the most important things humans possess. If you’ve read any of my other blogs, you’ll know that I’ve connected the value of our brains to society at large, and more specifically, the double stack taco at Taco Bell. Memory is a big deal. Its importance is also painfully apparent for those who have ever experienced a family member whose mental acuity declines as they age.
When it comes down to it, memory is our most valuable asset.Given memory’s paramount importance to our everyday lives, it’s a bit surprising that many of us (myself included) don’t do much to keep our brains sharp. I drink green tea every day, but I’m pretty sure that doesn’t help at all with my memory.
Since it’s 2020, and the time is ripe for new year’s resolutions, it’s the perfect time to give you (and myself) five games that you can play to keep your memory fresh. These easy brain exercises stimulate your learning faculties, which can help keep your most important organ in tip top shape. If you’re looking for a resolution this year, consider adding one of these to your everyday to-do list.
Whether you’re a hard nosed gambler or just a social bridge player, cards have numerous ways to keep your brain firing on all cylinders. Basically every card game except for slap jack requires thought. If you want to win, it helps to keep up with cards that have shown up, which ones haven’t come around yet, and even a bit of odds calculations. All of those calculations are perfect for keeping your synapses firing.
Find a hobby and stick with it!
Keeping your memory sharp mostly consists of learning new things. Somewhat paradoxically, creating new memories helps keep your old ones fresher. Whether you choose woodworking or needlepoint, find something you enjoy doing and get as good as you can at it! A samurai in Japan wrote, “From 1 thing, learn 10,000 things.” He’s saying that by diving into something, your brain makes connections that it wouldn’t make otherwise.
Play a musical instrument
This isn’t really a game, per se, but playing a musical instrument is great for your brain and memory. Best of all, you can be as serious as you want with it. If you want to just learn a couple of chords on guitar, you can do that pretty easily. If you want to be a concert pianist, that’s much harder. But you can still do it!
Play basically any sport (except football)
Exercising is really good for your brain. It promotes better blood flow and cardiovascular health, both of which are great for your noggin. Most sports also require split-second decision making, which can really jump start your neurons. If you want to keep your memory, I’d recommend steering clear of football. CTE is the opposite of helpful for your memory.
Put together a puzzle
Putting puzzles together is a low-stress way to keep your synapses firing like firecrackers on the 4th of July. Building a puzzle promotes skills like spatial awareness, organization, meditation, and patience. All of those qualities are great for your memory!
The best news about this article is that the games you can play to keep your brain sharp are actually fun, and they’re easy too. You don’t have to dedicate a ton of time to them--just a couple of minutes everyday can make a big difference. The important thing is that you give your gray matter a little bit of love to keep it going strong.
Nobody likes a smooth brain! Give that thing some wrinkles!