JANUARY: International Brainteaser Month
Written by Roneel Narayan on January 11, 2023
People always talk about physical stimulation and keeping your body healthy, but where’s the brain gym to help keep your wits sharp? Most people don’t realize that engaging in mental stimulation is just as important as keeping your body in shape, but that’s what International Brainteaser Month hopes to change.
Everyone loves a good riddle. Brain teasers are an excellent way to keep our minds sharp and focused. Many teachers have their students practice them in class, but have you done many as an adult? There are plenty of great puzzles to challenge every level of thinking. For daily teasers, there are several mobile apps that offer daily reminders and challenges.
History of International Brainteaser Month
To celebrate International Brainteaser Month, it would be a great idea to head to the store and look for books with brainteasers. These will be enough to keep you, your friends, and your family’s brains active and thinking throughout the night.
A brain teaser is a form of puzzle that requires thought for us to solve. It often requires thinking in unconventional ways with given constraints in mind. Sometimes it also involves lateral thinking. Logic puzzles and riddles are specific types of brain teasers. One of the earliest known brain teaser enthusiasts was the Greek mathematician Archimedes. He would devise and give out mathematical problems for his contemporaries to solve as best they could. Some examples of mathematical brain teasers are as follows;
If three hens lay three eggs in three days, how many eggs does a hen lay in one day?
One can argue about the answers of many brain teasers; in the given example with hens, one might claim that all the eggs in the question were laid on the first day, so the answer would be three.
Mary’s father has five daughters: 1. Nana, 2. Nene, 3. Nini, 4. Nono. What is the name of the fifth daughter?
What appears once in a minute, twice in a moment, but never in a thousand years?
Those three questions are all different forms of mathematical brain teasers meant to require thinking, even though the answers are sometimes quite simple to figure out, or in some cases, are even in the teaser themselves. It’s all a matter of our thought processes.
Instead of just being a day of awareness and talking about brain teasers and encouraging you to do them, it’s a month-long event that will help you stay mentally active with daily tasks and challenges that will keep your brain healthy.
International Brainteaser Month is all about mental stimulation that helps to boost your overall brain activity and reinforce your memory power. Keeping your brain active also helps to reduce the risk of dementia and slow the rate of decline. If you’re still young and active, then mental stimulation can help you improve concentration, improve your brain processing speed and also help you tackle complex challenges by breaking them down into smaller tasks.
To achieve this, International Brainteaser Month is about giving yourself some mental stimulation or challenge that changes daily. While doing a crossword or Sudoku is a great way to activate your brain and get thinking, it’s not a good idea to develop a habit of doing the same thing. This is because it can slowly get your brain accustomed to that specific task and you’ll start looking for shortcuts in problems.
The idea is to stimulate your brain and get you thinking about different things, breaking down problems or challenges and finding a way to piece together a solution by yourself. By changing up the task every day of the month, you keep your brain on its toes. It’s similar to working out your body–you need to try different brain workouts every day to always challenge yourself!
How to celebrate International Brainteaser Month
To celebrate International Brainteaser Month, plan out some mentally-stimulating daily challenges. You could set a goal of doing a brainteaser or a complex problem every day. This shouldn’t take very long, especially if it’s just a newspaper game like Sudoku or an app on your phone. You could also consider downloading a brain-training game or app on your phone so that you can challenge yourself even on your commute to work instead of just listening to music.
International Brainteaser Month is also a lot of fun with your friends and family members. A great way to get involved with International Brainteaser Month as a group is to play a board game together that involves some strategy or problem-solving. Scrabble is a great example of a fun game that stimulates the brain and helps you grow your vocabulary. Since it’s suitable for all ages, you can play with a large group and make a night of it.
For variation, try brain teasers based around different subjects, from literature to music; our train of thought is what helps us stay focused on the tasks that we have to complete. There aren’t many better alternatives to train our line of thinking than brain teasers.