Joy Held's Writer Wellness

"Be well, write well."

Tuesday Tickle: Play Equals Brain Health

on January 11, 2011

There are  five primary areas of practice to the the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

In the exploding world of brain research, it’s being proven that play is healthy for your brain. Most people love to play games. Growing up my house was filled with games and gamers, although we didn’t call ourselves gamers back then. We played card games, board games, music and dance games, and learning games in my house almost every day. My mother was a dance teacher and my father played alot of musical instruments so our house was pretty busy with some kind of creative endeavor all of the time.

We not only learned skills and strategy, we learned competiveness. And we learned to think like someone else. If we could figure out how someone at the game table was thinking, it was possible to win the game by thinking like them but ahead of their thoughts. That’s strategy training.

Games were really big and the holidays were really special because it meant we didn’t have to stop playing a particular game to go back to school. My favorite Christmas was at age seven when I received Monopoly as a gift and my dad, sister, and I played the game for four days without stopping until one of us won. I couldn’t wait for the weekends as a child because it meant extra time to play games.

What good is playing a game? Were you “taught” that games are a waste of time? Too bad, because playing games creates new brain cells and new brain cells mean better quality of life because new brain cells help use function and cope longer and better. Work a crossword puzzle, play a video game, or play cards with family friends. It is proven that playing games challenges your brain and increases its ability to function.

The practice of using your brain to think through a game’s strategy and then implement your plan keeps things like memory and focus in tact. Playing a variety of games such as working puzzles and playing board games encourages your brain to build new brain cells in response to the mental challenges. These cells prosper when challenged continually. Playing games helps your memory to function better just because you practice using your memory when playing games.

Don’t play games with other people’s heads. Engage in gaming to strengthen and lengthen your own brain’s capabilities. As my college teachers used to say, “Play is learning.” Cool.

(Fall Fairy by K. Held)

Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity

Who Dares Wins Publishing  www.whodareswinspublishing.com

 

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