Far from being just a silly puzzle, Wordle is good for our cognitive health.
Wordle is the latest online craze at the moment, having just been bought over by The New York Times after exploding in popularity at the beginning of the year. However, according to a study by neurologist Douglas Scharre, MD, director of the Division of Cognitive and Memory Disorders at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Centre, the word game is more than just green and yellow boxes, five letter words, and some healthy competition amongst friendship groups.
Problem-solving puzzles have always been popular-and-fluctuating phases in and out of most people’s lives, whether that be a newspaper crossword or the odd daily sudoku. Wordle joins a long list of these games that are proven to be excellent for brain health. By challenging yourself to new variations of puzzles on a regular basis, different parts of the brain are stimulated including reasoning, language, logic, visual perception, attention and problem-solving. Using your brain in any way is believed to create new connections between nerve cells in the brain. Consequently, these games, such as Wordle, can also help slow or prevent decreases in cognitive health, as the more you use your brain, the stronger and more efficient it becomes – a mental form of exercise, if you like.
Whilst Wordle can spark enjoyment and be beneficial for people of all ages, it is especially advantageous to those who suffer from a cognitive issue, for example head trauma, stroke, sleep apnea, and attention deficient conditions, according to the research. However, that said, the emotions that it draws out, varies massively from person to person. Some people use puzzles and word games as a tool to de-stress and relax, whereas for others, they have the potential to provoke feelings of frustration, stress or anxiety.
There has been a lot of discussion surrounding Wordle and social media, about whether the pressure of posting and comparing your results to others is, for starters, necessary, but also healthy for maintaining a positive mindset. Once again, the answer differs between individuals, yet what is constant is the sense of completion and achievement when the daily puzzle is successfully solved. It’s important to remember that these games should be satisfying and enjoyable. Some will even argue that in a small way, problem-solving games can help in the pursuit of happiness and lift moods, similar to physical exercise and socialisation.
There’s no doubt that some of these puzzles can be time consuming and can require a very specific set of knowledge or skills in order to complete them successfully, however, Wordle is rather simple in the grand scheme of things and perfect for beginners looking for a short brain workout. Guessing five letter words and stringing together vowels and consonants to find the correct answer is much less intense than the pressure of an entire crossword. It’s not going to eat up hours of your day, yet it will still have a positive effect on and improve brain health. Challenge others, keep your own streak alive, and work on your strategy as you take on the daily Wordle, whilst simultaneously building up your
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