You have a life and I understand that you haven’t got all the time in the world to spend on your brain health. If you have only 20 minutes to spare each day, which should you choose — doing brain training or meditating?
That depends on what your life is like. Do you need more mental stimulation? Or could you benefit from deep relaxation?
Who Should Consider Brain Training?
Brain exercises in the form of brain training programs have become very popular and present a compelling case that to keep your brain sharp it needs stimulation, like the kind scientifically designed games can provide. Brain training companies claim that their systems can improve memory, concentration, focus, and problem solving skills.
Of course the brain does need continual mental challenge to stay fit, but not everyone needs a brain training program to keep their brain stimulated. So who could benefit from spending their 20 minutes playing brain games?
If you have a job that is boring or repetitive, or spend a lot of time in passive activities like watching TV, playing 20 minutes of brain stimulating games could be exactly what you need.
Even if you do the daily crossword puzzle or Sudoku, doing the same thing over and over creates neural grooves and fails to stimulate your brain like truly new experiences or brain training can.
Surprisingly, many young people do brain training with online programs like Lumosity. You wouldn’t think they would need it, but since they grew up on video games this is a familiar activity for them.
For those of us who as parents struggled to get our kids away from video games, these games may not hold the same appeal to us.
There are programs designed specifically for seniors, like Dakim BrainFitness. This program is designed for people over 60 and is used by people with serious memory problems, like dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Anti-Aging Games is designed for people in the middle, 35 and up, that are mentally healthy and are looking for a way to stay sharp.
Who Should Consider Meditation, Instead?
Sometimes I get guilted into thinking that if I don’t stimulate my brain enough, I’m going to be left in the dust by all those people with optimally trained brains.
But I spend most the day writing on my computer and doing other mentally challenging activities. At the end of the day I look forward to doing something completely different.
If you’re like me and spend much of your day in front of a screen, you may feel the last thing need is spending more time on the computer doing brain training!
If you often feel stressed out or have mentally demanding days, what your brain could really use is 20 minutes of deep relaxation. You are a good candidate for meditation instead.
You can choose traditional meditation if you like the more zen approach. Or you can speed up the process by listening to high-tech brainwave audio files which can give you the benefits of meditation quickly and easily.
Whichever style of meditation you choose, the benefits of meditation include increased learning ability, improved focus and concentration, a feeling of deep relaxation, and improved mood.
Your Brain Thrives on Variety
Consider doing training some days and meditation on others, depending on what your day was like. If it was stressful, meditate. If you had little mental stimulation, do brain training with one of the digital programs or mix things up with a game of chess or foreign language lesson, both excellent ways to use your brain in a different way.
Your brain thrives on a variety of activities to keep those synapses firing — the more different kinds of things you do, the happier and healthier your brain will be.
Or, spend those extra 20 minutes moving your body. Physical exercise is one of the best things you can do for your brain and makes a great addition to any brain health regime.