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15 Apps To Train Your Brain

15 Apps To Train Your Brain
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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.

              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.

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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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                                  Gareth Lloyd

                                  Freelance Writer

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                                  Last Updated on July 21, 2021

                                  The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

                                  The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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                                  No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

                                  Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

                                  Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

                                  A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

                                  Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

                                  In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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                                  From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

                                  A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

                                  For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

                                  This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

                                  The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

                                  That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

                                  Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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                                  The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

                                  Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

                                  But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

                                  The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

                                  The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

                                  A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

                                  For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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                                  But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

                                  If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

                                  For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

                                  These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

                                  For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

                                  How to Make a Reminder Works for You

                                  Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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                                  Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

                                  Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

                                  My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

                                  Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

                                  I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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                                  Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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                                  Reference

                                  [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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