How games like Wordle can improve brain health

Letters arranged in a table to combine into "Games for your brain"

The online word game Wordle has exploded in popularity in 2022, and it joins a long list of word games that cognitive scientists know can be great for brain health.

Why these games are helpful

It’s important to challenge yourself to new problem-solving exercises. Puzzles and games, especially those involving novelty, can stimulate and challenge key parts of the brain, including reasoning, language, logic, visual perception, attention and problem-solving.

They can also help slow or prevent declines in cognitive health. The more you exercise your brain, the better — “use it or lose it.” Using your brain in any way is thought to build up new connections between nerve cells in the brain. This increases your brain reserve, so to speak.

Anyone with cognitive issues could benefit

Playing games like Wordle can benefit nearly any person with a cognitive issue, including those with head trauma, stroke, sleep apnea, “chemo brain” and attention deficient conditions.

Some people might find puzzles and word games an effective way to de-stress, though others may find it too stressful, causing more anxiety, so it depends on the person.

Other brain benefits of puzzles and games like Wordle

When you play a game of skill and successfully solve it, that gives you a sense of completion and achievement. That’s valuable — it’s satisfying and enjoyable. In their small way, these games can help individuals in the pursuit of happiness.

Other activities that improve brain health

In addition to puzzles (crossword puzzles, sudoku, logic problems and others), games and other problem-solving activities, physical exercise and socialization are two excellent ways to stimulate your brain and keep those key brain areas functioning well. Dancing, singing, playing musical instruments and playing sports are great options.

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