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4 Smartphone Apps That Will Train Your Brain

October 27, 2016 | By |

Sure, you might be a Sudoku whiz or Queen of the Crosswords, but just how mentally fit are you?

Studies have shown that participating in varied mental activities can help improve memory and even make you more efficient in your everyday tasks. While puzzles can certainly be a great way to work the most complex organ we’ve got, you might not always have a newspaper in hand. Here are 4 smartphone apps that offer fun and motivating exercises that will help get your brain moving.

Lumosity

In almost every list we found, Lumosity made the cut—for good reason, too! This app was developed by a team of experts, from neuroscientists to visual artists. It offers over 50 different games that focus on memory, attention span, flexibility, and problem solving. The games even aim to help improve your processing speed.

From finding the odd one out to serving up coffees in a video cafe, these games are fun and simple exercises that, with daily practice, may have a positive impact on your cognitive skills. Lumosity tracks your progress and even shows you how you stack up against others. You can purchase a monthly subscription to unlock all of the games and benefits, or you can sign up for a free basic membership which gives you access to several different activities each day.

Headspace

When it comes to active brain training, meditation has been proven time and time again to produce measurable changes, both physically and psychologically. Even practicing meditation just a few days a week can help improve your concentration and attention span, allowing you to increase focus and remember information better. It’s also a great way to help reduce stress and anxiety. For those with depression and addiction, maintaining a regular meditation practice has been shown to reduce the symptoms associated with these issues and improve one’s personal perception and feelings.

While it may seem contradictory to pick up your phone when beginning your meditation practice, Headspace is trying to make it worth your while. This app is designed to help you learn and develop a healthy and mindful practice that will benefit your health in many ways. Headspace breaks meditation down into ten minute sessions for each day. You can start with ten free sessions chosen from a variety of topics. Pick the ones that fit with your current lifestyle, your current mood, or try something new. Headspace will track your daily progress and even offers a “buddy system” that lets you connect with others who are also practicing mindfulness, as well as rewards for your progress.

Happify

It’s not surprising that our happiness is a topic studied by scientists and psychologists. What makes us happy is a question as old as time. Through fun and inspiring games and activities, Happify is trying to help its users build healthier habits and feel better.

Created by a team of positive psychology experts, authors, meditation teachers, and researchers, this app focuses on bringing fundamental elements from positive psychology to its users so that they can live a more happy and meaningful life. By focusing on each person’s strengths, the activities on Happify can help eliminate negative thoughts, stress, and anxiety. Happify aims to teach users how to change their habits so that they focus on the positive things in life. This app offers fun quizzes, polls, and even a gratitude journal for you to record your thoughts. With the support of a positive community behind you, you can connect with others and elevate your personal well-being by overcoming the emotional and physical stresses that can often hold you back in life.

Cognito

If you’re looking to get some brain exercises in without feeling like you’re studying for an exam, Cognito is the app for you. Cognito advertises itself as a “secret agent game that trains your brain,” and compared to apps like Lumosity, it has a more cohesive and adventurous aspect to it.

Each day, you’ll complete personalized missions that focus on five core elements of your brain: memory, focus, speed, adaptability, and reasoning. Cognito also lets you play and compete with friends, offering a bit of friendly competition and encouragement. If you’re looking to see how other aspects of your life affect your mental agility, this app will give you information about how your physical activity and even your sleeping schedule can have an impact on your brain’s functioning by pulling out data from the Apple Health app on your phone.

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