First Brain Training Puzzle Completed!

Fish Puzzle

UPDATE: First Puzzle Solved!  Thanks to Kelly Flores, Pressley Rankin, Tim Sprake, Grace Jackson, Enzo Sainato, Kirk Shattuck, Marge Chow, Arron Grow, and Chris Mayo.  All these people exercised their brains to create a masterpiece (See Below).

Puzzle 1 Puzzle 2







Do you need a break from the daily grind? Are you feeling unmotivated or unproductive? Are you struggling with “mama-brain” or “senior moments”? Do you have a difficult problem you need to solve?

Come join us in the School of Applied Leadership to help us put together a jigsaw puzzle, as solving puzzles is one of the ten tips Dr. Richard Restak recommended in his book Think Smart: A Neuroscientist’s Prescription for Improving Your Brain’s Performance. Brain researchers often cite the benefits of solving puzzles to help with improving brain performance, and as leaders, puzzles are a great way to engage your brain in problem-solving strategies.

  1. Take up video-gaming. Action video games improve eye-hand coordination, improve spatial visualization skills, and increase the number of things that you can visually attend to simultaneously.
  2. Strengthen your memory. Memory is our most vital mental faculty. Strengthening memory is an important component in lessening the odds of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
  3. Learn a new word every day. Learning new words not only enriches one’s understanding of the world, but also enhances the brain’s language centers and the pre-frontal lobes where judgment and executive function are mediated.
  4. Engage in spelling exercises. Spelling forces you to mentally see the word prior to speaking it or writing it down. This exercises several language-related brain areas and circuits.
  5. Monitor your moods, fantasies, and self-talk. If you find yourself immersed in upsetting or stressful scenarios, change your brain activity by switching to something that doesn’t involve just your own concerns.
  6. Work off stress with increased physical activity. A healthy brain requires good general health. You can decrease the harmful effects of stress on general health by exercising daily, but you should choose an exercise that appeals to you and that won’t be considered a tiresome chore. Even just walking is fine. Walking four miles per week cuts down on the chances of later developing dementia by fifty percent.
  7. Take a twenty-minute nap every afternoon that you can manage it. A daytime nap will produce nearly as much skill-memory enhancement as a whole night of sleep. So after you have taken a class or engaged in some other learning situation in the morning, consolidate that information by napping for a brief time in the afternoon after lunch when you’re most likely to feel tired and fall asleep easier.
  8. SOLVE PUZZLES. Different parts of the brain will be exercised depending on what kind of puzzle you choose. Crossword puzzles challenge the language and memory areas while jigsaw puzzles provide exercise for the parietal lobes. When you get proficient do the crossword puzzles in your mind without writing anything down and do the jigsaw puzzles with the picture side turned over so that you’re working with shape and form alone.
  9. Work with your hands. Few people other than musicians and surgeons are skilled in fine finger control. Whenever you perform an activity requiring finger dexterity you enhance your brain. Knitting, model-ship or model-train building are fine-taking up a musical instrument is even better.
  10. Pay more attention to your sensory experiences. One of the most common causes of forgetting and poor memory relates to failures to register what is going on during the original experience. Practice sharpening your senses by identifying by name all of the herbs and essences you encounter in everything you eat. Challenges are as readily available as the nearest garden, spice-rack, and wine-tasting group.

These 10 tips retrieved directly from



Published May 18, 2015


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