Solitaire is known as a single-player game for those willing to spend some leisure time in a relaxing atmosphere. However, while this game seems to be simple and calming, it may still help you improve cognition, decision-making, and the speed of reaction. So, in addition to entertainment, you actually get a chance to boost important skills and use them better in your day-to-day life. Read on to know more about that!
Understanding Solitaire: Rules and Gameplay
Before we dive into the specifics of how Solitaire may enhance your mind, let’s remember the basics and features of this game. Its most common version is Klondike Solitaire Turn 1, known from the 18th century and played with a standard deck of 52 cards. The layout of Klondike includes the tableau, stock, waste, and four foundations. The tableau includes seven rows of cards, from seven to one, and only one card in each row is face-up.
The main goal of Klondike is to build foundation piles by suit in ascending order, from Aces on the bottom to Kings on the top. To do that, you have to make descending sequences in the tableau, matching the cards of alternating colors that differ in only one rank. Proceeding with the game, you reveal more and more face-down cards and finally can arrange them all (as well as the stockpile) into four foundations.
Cognitive Functions Solitaire Can Improve
Solitaire involves repetitive moves and requires utmost attention, which makes it clear why it creates a meditative atmosphere. In such a rested state of mind, you can boost mindfulness, the speed of reaction, focus and concentration, and many other skills you use every day. Moreover, this game can be beneficial for training strategic thinking because every Solitaire deal requires you to plan a few moves ahead. So, aside from breaking the cultural boundaries, it improves mental agility.
Focus and Concentration
During the game, you have to be focused on seeking suitable cards and proceeding toward the final objective. You have to keep in mind the rules, the moves, the strategy, the need to check out the stockpile, and many more. Sometimes, the ability to carefully and quickly observe the tableau makes a huge difference. Such a focus remains in daily life as well, bringing extra cognitive control that helps you to be less distracted.
Solitaire is basically all about analytics. If you want to win, you have to analyze the situation in the tableau, make assumptions and plans, and take the stock into account. You may need to think whether every move you make brings new opportunities or obstacles. In addition, you have to notice many tiny details and weigh their impact on the overall situation.
Your ability to see patterns and logic in diverse situations is an essential skill if you want to be more mindful of life lessons and your goals. In Solitaire, you learn to see the puzzle on the whole and identify familiar patterns that help you resolve the game faster. In real life, this skill may assist you in making balanced decisions faster, finding amazing arguments, and analyzing situations better.
Every Solitaire game is a challenge which you either win or not. You can try different strategies, choose different moves, and therefore improve your decision-making skills. Moreover, online apps and websites allow you to try to tackle the same layout without shuffling the deck, so you may improve your determination as well.
How to Benefit From Solitaire Even More
All the above-mentioned benefits come with every single game. However, you can boost the effects by using some tips. The best ones are explained below.
Limit the Time
Aside from the tournaments, Solitaire games allow you to spend as much time as you want to solve the puzzle. Still, setting a time limit can encourage your brain to be more active and concentrate better. You think and act quicker and learn to keep calm under pressure. In a more difficult variation, you can set the maximum number of moves you can make. As you become more adept at this game, you will start playing faster anyway, so that will be the sign to try more complex variations.
Every move in this game has immediate consequences, so you learn to act quickly and understand how you can resolve the situation brought on by your decisions. Patience combined with the ability to think fast can become your superpower!
Choose Difficult Paths
To benefit from Solitaire even more, try to choose the least obvious way toward winning even if you see a shortcut. While it is not the best winning strategy, this approach is great for your cognition. You learn to keep calm in unexpected situations, explore unobvious ways, and be courageous to explore new opportunities. Eventually, this tip will boost brain plasticity, better information processing, and faster response times even when the situation is tricky.
Use It to Reduce Stress
Make Solitaire your small resort in stressful times. For example, you can allocate ten minutes to play the game if you feel worn out after doing difficult tasks or making difficult decisions. Moreover, you can use the habit of playing a game or two after work to set the line between your job and leisure time and refresh your mind.
Combine Solitaire With Cognitive Training
Digital platforms and apps offering Solitaire may become less engaging with time, especially if you play this game every day. In addition, you should be careful with the signs of obsession or addiction—they may indicate that you should try other ways to relax or distract yourself.
In any case, using standard cognitive exercises and mindfulness techniques along with Solitaire is a good decision. You can solve various puzzles and crosswords, learn languages, play musical instruments, and do sports to improve cognitive functions.
Solitaire is one of the best brain-stimulating activities. This game has lots of variations and can enhance your cognition significantly. It is a good way to have fun and get benefits for your mind at the same time. So, whenever you have a free minute and a deck of cards or an app, try Solitaire, starting from the beginner-level games, and you’ll see how you can clear and strengthen your mind quickly.