Nothing is more difficult than a long bout of brain fog. No matter the cause, brain fog makes it difficult to concentrate and work efficiently. It can affect communication and creativity, and ultimately result in frustration. Aside from maintaining a healthy lifestyle – from sleeping well to exercising moderately – one way to curb brain fog is to develop critical thinking skills.
Though thrown around as a buzzword related to productivity and intelligence, critical thinking isn’t a simple concept. It involves the ability to express ideas and thoughts clearly, along with a penchant for finding imaginative solutions. In other words, it’s one of the perquisites to innovation.
Still, most average people don’t have the time, resources, or energy to develop their critical thinking skills. Even then, there isn’t a class offered online or at a local university titled ‘Critical Thinking 101’. So, how can professionals develop their minds without adding extra stress?
One of the simplest ways is to pick up an engaging game that challenges the mind without adding pressure to your daily life. This idea isn’t anything new. In fact, using games to sharpen thinking skills has been an ongoing part of human history, starting with the game Go.
In Ancient China, Go was used to help educate rulers. But today, it might just help you land a new promotion. Let’s take a closer look at five games that foster critical thinking.
As one of the world’s most popular card games, most people have heard of Texas Hold’em. The game became a household name in the early 2000s, at which time Texas Hold’em tournaments were broadcast worldwide. Aside from the intrigue of bluffing, poker requires players to make quick decisions, calculate odds, and avoid tunnel vision.
Anyone looking to learn the basics of Texas Hold’em rules or try their hand for the first time can join an online platform. While popular in casinos, most players today prefer the convenience of online games. Many sites offer welcome bonuses, while other platforms are free-to-play.
Back in 1989, one of the very first PC games was Minesweeper. The simple digital title is a puzzle game that requires players to locate a ‘bomb’ on a large grid. By clicking squares that clue the player in as to the bomb’s location, players must use hard logic to avoid mistakes.
Recently, studies from the Education Resources Information Center (US) found that Minesweeper also assists in computer usage. The game’s emphasis on logical proofs closely mirrors the mechanics used to build computer software.
As mentioned above, Go is one of the earliest boardgames. It emerged around 4,000 years ago and can be sourced in a document from 2356 BC. According to some sources, the game was used to help educate rulers.
The game, which can be accessed online or in-person just like poker, requires players to surround rival pieces. These pieces can only be placed on the corners of a square layout and the game requires players to learn and adapt various strategies, developing their critical thinking skills in the process.
Just like Go, chess has an extensive history. The different functions of each chess piece and the board’s square layout create almost infinite possibilities for players to consider. This challenges the mind to make predictive calculations as they play.
In other words, players will have to build a tactical strategy, then adapt this strategy as the game advances. This closely mirrors the challenges in poker; in a single game, a player will need to change their tactics alongside their opponents.
This online title emerged in 2018 and has since become one of the world’s most popular video games. It’s available for PC, console, Nintendo Switch, and mobile devices for a simple download. The title requires players to identify which of their opponents are Imposters and which are Crewmates.
The social reduction game has proved popular for its storytelling elements, which blend seamlessly into a mysterious who-dunnit format. Even better, this game can be played with friends, which makes it a socially engaged title as well.