The Cubing Corner

Can Playing Games Improve Your Focus?

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Can Playing Games Improve Your Focus?

Since the advent of smartphones, distraction has become an indispensable part of our day-to-day life. In fact, statistics estimate that the average American checks their phone 262 times per day, or once every 5.5 minutes. Despite the fact that learning to focus is essential to complete challenging tasks, for many of us it is a daily struggle. Research suggests that practicing mindfulness by putting your undivided attention on one task at a time may improve your “focus muscles”.

Disclaimer: Talk to your doctor about medical conditions that may affect your ability to concentrate.  

Classic Games

Focus is much like a muscle. By practicing focus and building your abilities up slowly you train your brain for  longer  and higher quality stretches of time. A 2015 study suggests that spending 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week, on brain training activities can majorly benefit your ability to focus.

One enjoyable way to train your brain is by playing brain games, or games that require strategy and critical thinking in order to succeed. Here are some great games for both kids and adults:

  • sudoku
  • crossword puzzles
  • chess
  • jigsaw puzzles
  • word searches or scrambles
  • memory games

Some more benefits to brain training games include better working and short-term memory, better processing, and problem-solving skills.

Video Games

Here is some good news for gamers. Traditional brain games are not the only type of game that can help improve your concentration. Newer research also suggests playing video games may enhance concentration abilities.

A 2018 study found evidence suggesting that an hour of gaming could help improve visual selective attention (VSA). VSA is the capability to concentrate on a specific task while tuning out distractions around you.

Note that since this study was small in size, and therefore so the findings aren’t conclusive. In spite of this, playing video games in moderation can help boost your focus. 

Brain Games

Although we can blame smartphones as one of our top modern distractions, they can also be used as a tool for the exact opposite. A new genre of games called “brain training” apps has become very popular. These entertaining apps are backed by science to help strengthen your mental muscles.

  • Lumosity
  • Elevate
  • Peak
  • Happy Neuron
  • Braingle
  • Brain Age Concentration Training

Rubik’s Cube

Solving the Rubik’s Cube can seem deceptively simple. After all, one just needs to twist and turn the cubes until all the six faces of the puzzle have the same color. However, there are nearly 43 quintillion combinations of the puzzle. In order to complete the cube, you must learn the algorithms. Solving the cube requires problem-solving skills, pattern recognition, and a good dose of intense focus. 

The Rubik’s Cube forces your undivided attention for short bursts of time. Speedcubers may complete a solve in under 20 seconds, while cubers may take a few minutes to complete. Regardless of the time it takes to complete, you have no choice but to focus on the solution. because once you are distracted, you lose your place in the complex algorithms.  

Next time you struggle to focus while studying or trying to complete a complex task remember that focusing is a muscle. Studies show that you can improve this ability by practicing. The best way to flex this muscle is through playing daily brain games that you find enjoyable.

 

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