The Best Smartphone Apps to Train Your Brain

EHL Editorial Team | 9 Aug, 2017

Smartphones open up a world of opportunity right at your fingers. The boom in educational apps lets you use your devices for more than recreation, to truly learn as you go, wherever you go. 

You might know that crossword puzzles or word searches help your brain stay healthy as you age, which may lower your risk of developing brain plaques that are linked to Alzheimer's. These apps test your brain, keeping it limber and building new mental skills, so you can stay sharp at any age.

Studies have shown that certain computer games boost your memory, your brain processing speed and your brain function. The more you play, the stronger you reinforce the new neural paths associated with game play, so the more flexible and limber your brain can become. Some games help you do tasks better, while others strengthen self-control over emotions, login, or reasoning.

Psychology professor Tracy Dennis says repetition is key to building new cognitive skills: “The more you do something, the more available that pathway is, so you may be able to use your brain resources more effectively.”

Research is mixed on the lasting benefits of these games. Some studies have cast doubt on the effectiveness of brain games, while others have proved that they do boost performance. While the future will no doubt bring additional research, at the moment, why not consider these games a useful addition to your smartphone? Just like listening to news podcasts will keep you updated on current events, so you can be of better service to guests, brain apps help you work smarter. Who doesn't have a commute or break that could be more amusing with a game to play?

  • Lumosity
    Free and paid versions of this popular app test your memory, boost your problem solving and critical thinking skills, and help you develop greater flexibility, all essential skills for a hospitality professional. Since you train by playing games, it's fun.
  • Eidetic 
    If you like doing memory matches, you'll enjoy Eidetic, which uses contacts and information stored in your phone to help you remember things.
  • Positive Activity Jackpot 
    Developed as an antidote to PTSD in veterans, this app combines GPS with augmented reality to redirect individuals with depression. To play, pull the jackpot lever and the app will find a fun diversion near you. The app works on the pleasant event scheduling theory, in which time spent doing enjoyable things boosts mood and promotes recovery from depression.
  • Fit Brains Trainer 
    This free app assesses your mental acuity and trains your brain by recommending games and puzzles based on your performance. If you're competitive, you'll enjoy boosting your mental sharpness and flexibility from the 300+ games in the library. The more you play, the more challenging (and rewarding) games get.
  • Peak 
    Peak allows you to train on language, memory, mental acuity, attention span, and language using 30 different games. A free version offers access to the games, but a monthly subscription personalizes your play with stats and unlimited access.
  • Cognito 
    Cognito combines memory boosting activities with game play involving a spy plot. As you work through the game, you'll test your memory, reasoning, focus, and adaptability. Limited play is free; a monthly subscription lets you play unlimited.
  • Personal Zen 
    If you struggle with emotional management, this game may help you let go of anger and be more optimistic. In play, you follow one mellow and one angry-looking character through grass, slowly learning to focus on the positive. You might use the game to relax before a stressful work event or everyday to promote a better mood when working with guests.

Related Article: Wine Apps: Open your Palate to Technology.

To enjoy success with brain games, play a variety of games consistently. If you only play Sudoku or word searches, your brain isn't being challenged by new information over time. The more frequently you play, the sharper you'll feel.

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