Mental Health: Neuroscientist gives game tips to stimulate the brain

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Crosswords, games and even the use of social networks are ways to train the brain and cognition.

Analog or digital, these stimuli require energy from the mind to read, understand and assimilate information, explains biologist and neuroscientist Lívia Ciacci, speaker at the Supera Method, brain gymnastics.

Next, see activity tips from the neuroscientist, who highlights the positives and negatives of each one of them.

Crosswords

It has different levels of difficulty and can be found in magazines on newsstands, on the internet and on mobile apps. Promotes interesting language training to stimulate vocabulary and memory at all stages of life. With age, we tend to lose the ability to speak verbally, so any language exercise is welcome to keep the brain sharp. However, it has limitations regarding the effect of stimulating cognitive ability, especially if the person is stuck at an easy level of difficulty. It can also be difficult if the person already has some degree of dementia.

Chess

From the first contact with the rules to winning a game, learning the game requires the involvement of complex cognitive functions, such as working memory, spatial vision, abstract reasoning, inhibitory control, planning and decision making. Reinforcing these functions through learning chess will positively impact many other daily activities that use these same brain regions. The negative point is that, as it is a game full of rules, with several pieces characterized by different movements, learning depends on dedication and focus. Such learning will be more effective if there is an experienced teacher or facilitator assisting.

Reading

Being literate and reading means building a new circuit in the brain, able to integrate diverse sensory information to give meaning to words. Having the habit of doing in-depth reading —books on paper, texts with rich vocabulary—strengthens the ability to think and makes the person increasingly able to learn and develop. When reading a text published on the internet, be aware of the sources and the veracity of the information so as not to be a victim of fake news. Search for subjects of your interest and authors that encourage critical thinking.

Checkers

It has rules and dynamics a little simpler than chess. In addition to the low-cost physical game, it is available in several applications. Flexible and strategic thinking works a lot, since it is necessary to plan the moves to predict what the opponent will be able to do later. The problem is that after the player gets used to it, he will need to play with different people to make it more stimulating.

Abacus

It is an ancient instrument used to make accounts. It helps to develop reasoning agility through visual mathematical calculations, not just abstract ones as in conventional mathematics. Training with the abacus promotes plasticity changes in the brain that increase the efficiency of information processing in visual-spatial related regions, which consequently increase the performance of several other integrated neural networks. You have to be persistent not to give up at the first obstacle and train to unravel the abacus gradually and assertively.

Social networks

They are good for keeping up with the routine of family and friends, especially those who live far away. It is also possible to follow causes and get involved in interesting debates, stimulating knowledge. However, care must be taken with false information propagated on social networks that, in addition to misinforming, can generate fear and anxiety. The dynamics of short and fast videos, for example, puts the brain in a constant state of alert. Following the day to day of celebrities who seem to lead a perfect life can also generate comparisons and emotional triggers.

Gymnastics for the brain

It is a methodology that organizes the positive points of games and activities that stimulate the brain, promoting group practices. The principles of novelty, variety and increasing degree of challenge, added to socioemotional skills, stimulate brain functions. As it is a paid course, it is necessary to organize the agenda so as not to miss classes.

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