5 Games That Teach You To Focus
With so many things to do, and so little time, it can be hard to focus –– whether it’s for getting our work done, accomplishing things in our day-to-day lives, or doing something fun like playing soccer. The good news is that there are all kinds of ways to improve your focus, from focused brain-training exercises to ordinary hobbies like reading. And among the most effective options, for some, are games! Indeed, while it’s certainly the case that some games can be distracting or chaotic, there are others through which you might just learn how to maintain attention on a given task at hand.
Here, we’re taking a look at five such games that can help.
Chess is an excellent way to train the mind on multiple levels. The goal of the game is to capture (or rather, trap) your opponent’s king, and in order to do so, you’ll need to develop a strategy to attack your opponent. But of course, you’ll also need to defend your own king, and one wrong can leave you under heavy attack. Simply put, it’s a game in which even the best of players still work hard to stay focused, because even a momentary lapse in attention can derail a strategy or give an opponent a leg up. Play enough chess, and that same determination to focus on what’s in front of you might just seep into your everyday life.
This challenging number puzzle game can be enjoyed alone or with others as a collaborative multiplayer activity. The goal is to complete each block and line with a non-repetitive set of numbers, so you will need to figure out how to strategically place each number in its proper position. This may sound easy, but it’s actually a bit of a mind-melter if you’re new to it, and it’s also quite difficult if and when you start timing your games. Ultimately though, Sudoku is an ideal game for exercising the mind, strengthening logic, and testing memory –– all of which help improve focus.
While many of us probably played this age-old game when we were young, it is now popular as a social game that keeps players mentally engaged (one reason it’s often played in retirement communities, perhaps). As you listen to the numbers and letters being announced, you have to act fast and search to see if there are corresponding slots on your card. Miss a call, and you might well be cheating yourself out of another square filled and another step toward the fun part (being able to call out “BINGO!” of course). It may not be the most complex of games, but it is one in which you have to maintain attention if you want to win.
The popularity of poker has grown in recent years, in large part thanks to people’s quests to find something to do with friends online during the pandemic. Beyond social perks though, it’s also fairly common to associate poker with mental skills such as resilience, emotional intelligence, and even an ability to learn from mistakes. Similarly though, playing regularly can also improve your focus –– because in order to win, you’ll need to stick to a strategy, withstand the ups and downs of good and bad hands, and pay attention to opponents’ tendencies. Poker is a game in which each new hand brings fresh challenges, and in order to play the right cards and make the right betting decisions, you have to pay close attention.
Another fast card game that is great for exercising the mind is blackjack. As you get your cards, you must think fast, adding up cards and determining whether you should “hit” or “stay.” The memory is also put to the test, as you have to remember what cards have already been dealt (which would rule them out as possible next cards). Just like in poker, you really have to focus on each turn of the card, and every action of other players (and the dealer) if you want to tap into your strategies and increase your odds of winning.
As is the case with every skill, focusing requires practice if it’s to be perfected. There are many ways for you to improve your focus, but if you want to have some fun in the process, games make for great options. The ones above aren’t the only ones that can help, but they’re all likely to improve your capacity to pay attention to a task at hand.