As the ever-expanding world of technology mercilessly propels forward, people have begun to urge us to stop and smell the electric current. Every day, we become more dependent on the machines that we created, and it’s easy to condemn the likes of the smart phone for the way in which it transforms so many of us into hunched, shuffling, grunting, zombie-like creatures.

But having your head buried in your phone isn’t always cause for concern, as the brain-training app industry so aptly proves.

The popularity of these applications proves that human beings’ thirst for knowledge and mental well-being is still alive and well, as people seek to give their brain a thorough workout through the medium of smart phone technology.

Only problem is, there’s now a heck of a lot of these apps to choose from, and selecting which one to download can sometimes be the trickiest puzzle of all. Listed below are the main apps that sell themselves on their ability to get the mind sweating, each one reviewed and analysed for your benefit.

1. ReliefLink

ReliefLink doesn’t train your brain in the conventional sense by making you sharper and faster, but rather in a way that soothes the mind, and acts as a conscious, calm digression away from dark thoughts. ReliefLink is focused on improving the mental health of its users who possess troubled minds.

It allows people to log any suicidal thoughts they might have had on any particular day, and hooks them up with a whole host of help numbers and hotlines to prevent tragedy striking.

Offering a variety of soothing exercises that train the brain to steer itself away from the pitfalls of dark ideas, ReliefLink has actually saved lives. If you’re ever in a bad place, it’s an app that really is worth looking up, and you can download it free of charge.

It might just be the best thing you ever do.

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2. Eidetic

An incredibly useful app that actively improves users’ memory skills, Eidetic unabashedly throws pieces of information at you at a rapid rate so that you can’t help but remember it.

Say you need to remember a phone number or date for future reference, all you need to do is enter it into Eidetic, and the app will hit you with constant reminders so that the piece of information remains burned into your memory forever.

The creators call the technique “spaced repetition” – a startlingly simple and effective way for the user to remember important snippets and facts. You’ll have to fork out $1.99 for the upgraded version, but for the simplistic, limited edition, Eidetic is absolutely free.

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3. Positive Activity Jackpot

A simple app with admirable intentions, Positive Activity Jackpot alerts users to all the fun stuff going on in the area around them, and allows them to pull a virtual lever to randomly select an activity to attend or register their interest in.

Aimed at curing people who are wallowing in depression, Positive Activity Jackpot acts an inspiring app to tentatively push users out of the house and into the world where they can meet other people and partake in activities that’ll boost their serotonin levels.

Completely free of charge, this app can get you enjoying life again.

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4. Happify

Designed specifically to make you feel better about life, Happify does what it says on the tin. The app has become a bit of phenomenon for the way in which it boosts its users’ morale through science-based activities and questionnaires, and claims that the five essential elements of happiness are to Savor, Thank, Aspire, Give and Empathize.

Available for free on iTunes, Happify is definitely worth a glance at the very least.

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5. CogniFit Brain Fitness

Another app that prides itself on boosting its users’ cognitive skills, CogniFit Brain Fitness offers a variety of training games, mind-expanding challenges, and the opportunity to communicate with other users through the function of an IM chat system.

CogniFit Brain Fitness focuses on improving your memory, focus and attention skills through a selection of games made up with vibrant graphics.

Free from the off, this is definitely another brain-training app worth giving a go.

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6. Elevate

Winner of the coveted App of the Year title in 2014, Elevate is certainly one of the snazziest brian-training applications currently out there today. Boasting an intergalactic-like interface, Elevate promises to boost users’ memories, speech skills, number crunching abilities, and general mind speed.

With more than 25 different games to play on this handsome app, there really is something for all users to enjoy. Available for free in its simplest form, users have the opportunity to upgrade to Elevate PRO for £4.99 a month.

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7. Sudoku

The famous number-grid game in digital form, Sudoku offers users the opportunity to improve their maths skills on the go. Fast, free, and largely absent of bugs and crashes, this a handy little app to keep you occupied on long commutes, although depending on your personality, it can become frustratingly addictive.

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8. Think-O-Meter

A little different than ordinary brain-training apps, Think-O-Meter focuses solely on improving the user’s critical thinking skills. Instead of offering a selection of colourful games to play, Think-O-Meter doesn’t fool and around and gets straight to the nitty-gritty of it all – throwing up questions and scenarios for the user to try and solve.

After using the app you might find that the skills acquired are able to help you in real life – especially when it comes to the difficult task of decision making.

Free to download, Think-O-Meter might be worth a punt if you have a little time on your hands and fancy improving your critical thinking abilities.

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9. Brain Fitness Pro

Brain Fitness Pro makes the bold claim that it is capable of not just making you sharper, but actively boosting your IQ too. Tough and uncompromising, it’s an app that appears to do its statements justice.

After just a few thirty minute sessions of brain-tingling exercises, you might find that playing strategic games like chess become much, much easier.

Available for anywhere up to £5 in original form, but that’s a small price to pay for the effects on your mind power that this app can have.

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10. Brain Trainer Special

A mind-boggling assortment of math games, word puzzles and provocative memory sequences, Brain Trainer Special offers what you’d usually expect from a brain-training app, coupled with a sleek interface to boot.

Available on Google Play as opposed to iTunes, this is an app that non-Apple users can enjoy to expand their minds.

Usually listed with an initial price of around £.99, with optional expansions available.

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11. Personal Zen

Clinically proven to reduce stress levels, Personal Zen offers some relief for those who have the urge to bite off their own tongue after a horrid day in the office. Operating on a simple, albeit strange principle, this app works by showing two blue faces on a lush, green background – one happy, one angry.

The two faces then disappear underneath the blades of grass, and the user’s task is to trace their finger along the same path as the happy face. It may well reduce stress, but Personal Zen is incredibly weird and certainly takes some getting used to.

Completely free and offering achievements after high scores, the app has several mental benefits…even if it is a little bizarre.

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12. Lumosity

A free app that enhances a user’s brain speed by offering a diverse range of cognitive games, Lumosity creates a brain-training schedule separated into the five categories of Problem Solving, Memory, Attention, Speed, and Flexibility.

Designed and developed by an amalgamated team of neuroscientists and psychologists, Lumosity certainly has credibility on its side, and is a widely popular app with more than 70 million users.

Challenging, stimulating, and boasting a colourful interface, this is a free app that’s worth your time.

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13. Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock

A great little app for helping you feel refreshed every single morning, Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock analyzes your REM sleep patterns and prods you awake at just the right time in your snoozing cycle.

This is a cracking app for those who have trouble clambering out from under the duvet in the mornings, and allows you to go out into the world and perform at your very best all day long.

Available on iTunes. for just £.79.

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14. Memory Trainer

Available on the Google Play store, Memory Trainer is designed to help you improve your memory skills through a variety of puzzles and mental sweat exercises.

Some of the games require you to recall telephone numbers that flash up on screen, whereas others ask the user to find the odd one out.

Available for free, Memory Trainer is a great app for those who find themselves stumped when they’re asked to remember specific information.

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15. 10Plus

A brain-training app tailored to the younger generation of smart phone users, 10Plus accentuates and enhances children’s number-crunching skills by way of colourful, engaging cross-puzzles.

Made with cartoon graphics to help kids retain interest, 10Plus acts as a race against time against the computer, and ought to act as a fun, stimulating challenge for children who struggle with numbers.

Available on iTunes for free.

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Featured photo credit: picjumbo Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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