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15 Apps To Train Your Brain

15 Apps To Train Your Brain

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.

          appshappify

            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.

              appelevate-app

                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.

                appSudoku-Free-iPad

                  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.

                  appthinkometercritical-thinking-university-think-o-meter

                    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.

                      appbrainfitnesspro

                        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.

                        apppersonal-zen

                          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.

                              MemoryTrainerbest-apps-for-improving-memory-memory-trainer120508

                                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.

                                app10plus

                                  Featured photo credit: picjumbo Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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                                  Gareth Lloyd

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                                  Last Updated on September 20, 2018

                                  8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

                                  8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

                                  You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

                                  Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

                                  When you train your brain, you will:

                                  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
                                  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
                                  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

                                  So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

                                  1. Work your memory

                                  Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

                                  When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

                                  If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

                                  The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

                                  Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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                                  Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

                                  What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

                                  For example, say you just met someone new:

                                  “Hi, my name is George”

                                  Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

                                  Got it? Good.

                                  2. Do something different repeatedly

                                  By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

                                  Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

                                  It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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                                  And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

                                  But how does this apply to your life right now?

                                  Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

                                  Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

                                  Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

                                  So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

                                  You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

                                  That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

                                  3. Learn something new

                                  It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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                                  For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

                                  Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

                                  You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

                                  4. Follow a brain training program

                                  The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

                                  5. Work your body

                                  You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

                                  Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

                                  Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

                                  Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

                                  6. Spend time with your loved ones

                                  If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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                                  If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

                                  I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

                                  7. Avoid crossword puzzles

                                  Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

                                  Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

                                  Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

                                  8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

                                  Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

                                  When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

                                  So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

                                  The bottom line

                                  Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

                                  Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

                                  Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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