Today is World Mental Health Day 2017. So what can we do to make sure we stay mentally healthy, at work and at home? Is it boring to train your brain? Research into the effects of video games says No.
Mental Health is as important a topic as physical health and in recent decades has been shown to be every bit as crucial to our well-being. Thankfully there is lots you can do to be mentally healthy – including helping your brain to stay active.
While mental health is affected by many things; exercise, nutrition, your environment and relationships to list a few, you can also train your brain to be better at different things. The brain is often compared to a muscle – the more you exercise it, the better shape it will be in.
Recent studies have found that playing video games may increase the links in your brain between the areas responsible for learning and memory. And that people who play certain types of video games regularly can be shown to have increased learning capacity, better ability to focus on tasks and better memories.
Here’s a few words on how video games can help us learn from TEDx speaker Karl Kapp;
As an eLearning company, we’re big fans of gaming and the gamification of learning. Almost anything is more fun when it’s a game! So we’ve put together a huge list of our favourite and most challenging video games to inspire you to train your brain regularly.
There’s a growing body of research about the many positive aspects of video games. World of Warcraft was mentioned in the Harvard Business Review as a tool for teaching virtual leadership and virtual team-building skills. Minecraft which many of us may play with kids or grandchildren is being used to teach maths and geometry all over the globe.
The game Rise of Nations was the topic of an interesting study: researchers took 40 non-gamers with an average age of 69 years old, and had them play this game for around an hour a day for one month. They found it increased the mental acumen of test subjects, in their ability to switch between tasks, in reasoning and short-term memory.
People that play action-based video games like Assassin’s Creed actually have the ability to make decisions 25% faster without losing accuracy compared to people that don’t play action-based video games.
There’s also evidence to show that video games may be a viable treatment for depression and improve memory and mood in adults with mild cognitive impairment. (Source: MNT)
So when it comes to training and development, learning games should definitely make it onto the list of what your organisation needs in it’s suite of learning tools. Puzzles, quizzes and gamification of courses are perfect. For making training more fun, for bite-sized refresher courses and for increasing employee engagement with your training programme. Given the choice, many learners will actively complete learning games and quizzes even if they are not a requirement – especially with incentives like leaderboards and giveaways as part of your LMS.
So now that you know workplace learning doesn’t have to be boring, here is our big list of games you can play in your free time, to help keep your brain on it’s toes.
For more information about Mental Health in the workplace, see these factsheets from the CIPD.
Brain-teasing games for your smartphone
Not to mention classics like Tetris, Sudoku and Solitaire!
Two-player and online opponent smartphone games
Strategy & Role-playing games
As well as the blockbuster titles we already mentioned (World of Warcraft, Minecraft, Rise of Nations and Assassins Creed), here’s a mix of old and new video games to test your memory, problem solving skills and hand-eye co-ordination.
Here are two more titles that received a lot of attention from people who like particularly ‘challenging’ games.
This 1930’s cartoon-styled game received a huge backlash on the internet recently, from angry gamers who thought the studio made this one way too hard. Like Marmite, you’ll either hate it or you’ll love it, like this long-time game reviewer. If you really like a challenge, this one is for you.
Another game that people in the know are touting as one of the hardest they’ve ever played, the simple style of Fidel has got people hooked, but that doesn’t mean it is easy.
— Daniel Benmergui (@danielben) 1 August 2017