If you’re obsessed with Wordle, you’re not alone. Although it’s a relatively simple game, it’s undeniably popular. And for good reason—it’s a lot of fun! But more than that, it’s actually good for you. Word games and puzzles have a ton of mental health benefits—they’re basically the brain equivalent of going to the gym and staying hydrated.
Best Word Games to Play
Before I dive into all the mental health benefits of word puzzles and games, here are some of my personal favorites to try.
One of the most popular word games right now is Wordle. Even if you haven’t done it yourself, you’ve undoubtedly heard people talking about it. Or, at the very least, you’ve seen the green and yellow squares all over your Facebook feed.
Wordle is a daily word puzzle. Each day, there’s a new five-letter word you must guess in six tries. What’s even more fun is that the daily word is the same for everyone. It’s kind of like we’re all playing it together.
2. Crossword Puzzles
Crossword puzzles aren’t new, but they are a lot of fun. You can find a great daily crossword puzzle on solitaire.org. And unlike with typical newspaper crosswords, you won’t have to constantly erase and re-guess. Once you enter a letter, it’ll either be red or green, letting you know whether or not you’re correct.
This is definitely one of my new favorites—and if you’re a fan of Sodoku, you’ll probably really enjoy it too. Wordoku is sort of like Sodoku with letters instead of numbers. You’re given a set of 9 possible letters you can use to create a word. Those same letters are also spread out across the grid, and each letter can only be used once per column and row (see my screenshot below).
Like Wordle, it’s a simple premise but it’s harder than it seems.
Benefits of Word Games
On solitaire.org, you can play games like mahjong and solitaire, but they’ve also got plenty of additional word games, including a letter scramble and word searches. And the best part? It’s free!
Not to mention, playing online word games is great for your mental health. Here are some of the benefits:
1. Sharpens Cognitive Skills
Games like Wordoku, Daily Crossword, and Wordle are great for boosting your cognition. Again, it’s like a workout for your mind! Word puzzles are particularly good at stimulating your brain in problem-solving, reasoning, and logical thinking.
Additionally, it’s beneficial for improving your attention and concentration skills.
2. Enhances Memory
Word puzzles have been shown to improve both your short-term and long-term memory. It’s also been cited as a way of helping to prevent cognitive decline, particularly with memory issues. Daily word game play can also reduce the risk of dementia.
3. Improves Creativity
For writers and bloggers, doing a daily word game can be great for expanding your own vocabulary. You’ll learn new words and new knowledge, particularly with crossword puzzles. Anytime I do a crossword, I learn a lot that I didn’t already know—historical facts, cultural events, and word synonyms. All of that can help improve or boost your creativity.
Related Read: 15 Things No One Ever Told Me About Being a Writer
4. Provides Stress Relief
Daily word game play can be incredibly helpful for your mental health. It can provide a great deal of stress relief making it beneficial for those suffering from anxiety or depression. There’s also a social element to games, even those online, so it can help promote a sense of connection.
Related Read: How to Improve Your Mental Health with Exercise
5. Boost Self-Esteem
Here’s another great mental health benefit to playing a daily word game. Solving a puzzle can provide you with a hit of dopamine, the feel-good chemical. Along with that quick mood booster, the long-term impact is improving your self-esteem.
Think about it—how proud do you feel when you get the daily Wordle in 3 or less guesses?!
Playing a daily word game is fantastic for your mental and cognitive health. If you’re not someone who loves word puzzles, though, you can get the same benefits from other online logic games such as Sodoku. No matter what you’re into, there’s a great game out there you can use to boost your brain health.
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