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Mind Sport - The Intellectual Exercise!

Good health and resilience during the challenges of the pandemic


Covid has enforced us to stay at home and be productive. People are choosing online yoga, aerobics and other fitness regimes to keep themselves physically fit and healthy. Yet there is a kind of lethargic attitude in the air. However, this is also the time that has engaged people into being creative and experimental. In order to surpass the feelings of boredom, isolation, anxiety, depression, etc. individuals are resorting to watch movie series, over sleeping, playing video games and engaging into non-productive activities or being really productive by engaging into creative stuff like painting, reading, watching documentaries, studying online courses, learning a musical instrument, etc.

In order to improve intellectual abilities playing chess, crossword puzzles, etc. acts as a mind sport that helps us to expand and stretch our brain to perform beyond what we have been practicing before. Thus, naturally enhancing our perspective, focus, intelligence and creative perception, etc. Individuals who want to learn cannot be stopped even under difficult situations.

Chess Practice as a Protective Factor

Since this brain exercise is not restricted to a certain age, it can be enjoyed by young and old. The easy to learn chess develops our cognitive and analytical abilities. This activity not only helps us utilize time better but also builds confidence. It helps us be more adaptable to the wins and losses that life throws our way. This game of mind protects us from truly disastrous diseases relating to mental disorders like Alzheimer, schizophrenia, depression, etc.

A difficult plateau in the chess game can help build resilience, it teaches us the value of being calm when it matters most. Half of life’s problems reduces if we make the correct moves. However, the fact is we learn by failing more than wining because when we fail, we analyze the reasons behind it and when we win, we just go with the flow being satisfied and happy.

Life’s treasures are hidden in routine elements if we take the time to notice. In a fast-paced world where we are to deal with deadlines, unexpected scenarios, tests that life smashes on our face, presentation and interview anxieties, depression because of underperformance or losing suddenly, financial ups and downs, etc. makes us overthink leading us to stress and depreciating health status. Moreover, if we reflect closely, we can see that chessboard is the same as life. We plan with full concentration all our next steps, yet it surprises us with some unexpected moves, and we have no choice but to play on the field of life or chess accordingly. But nonetheless, playing chess builds our resilience to face whatever comes our way with integrity and courage. It helps us in the process of self-awareness which is vital for graceful existence.

This exercise uses both sides of the brain. The right hemisphere deals with pattern recognition while the left brain deals with object recognition. Both analytical and visual elements play a part when it comes to chess or life in itself. Isn’t it a fantastic feeling to play a simple game and learn the core abilities that we need, to overcome challenges or obstacles that come our way? Chess playing advances our rational thinking, our reasoning skills, our focus, planning, our creativity, problem solving skills, our courage, calmness, etc. As a result, it develops our character and likewise the leadership traits within us. We are more prepared for the future than we realize.

Game of discipline and focus.

Everything appears easy until we truly engage in it. The same is with chess, it’s easy to learn the game but to be a truly smart player one needs to be extra vigilant in the process. Observance is the magic wand and you just can’t afford to lose it. One of the greatest disciplines the problem-solving skills are enhanced by playing this mind sport. Truly encouraging when we ponder over the results gained even when we lose the game. Just like we pay great attention to our physical exercises, similarly it’s important to exercise our intellectual muscles too. Give some time of each day on your mental care. Ignoring it is like taking away the engine from the train. Your true potential can be extracted by practicing an effective daily routine which incorporates not only proper physical fitness regime but also intellectual fitness regime.

One of the oldest games that evolved itself with time, Chess highlights that change is not only constant but powerful too. Nonetheless, the consequences depend on our moves. Same is with life we need to make educated choices to avoid pitfalls. However, mistakes will simply act as stepping stones in life. No human being is perfect and we need to give ourselves and others the gift of grace to accept where we and others are in life. Along with an opportunity to improve and learn in the process. Chess is a game not only of smart moves but also of winning and losing with grace. To share the board whether of chess or life as such, with different cultures, generations and backgrounds needs the power of grace. Welcomeness is an attitude more than anything.  

The Rehabilitation Therapy.

Playing mind sports reintegrates patients from physically debilitating experience. It’s also a great therapy for people facing developmental disorders. Special needs individuals can also play chess. A patient’s motor skills can be refined too. Mental efforts enhance the peripheral skills and the communication skills too. Brain can be said to be like the body’s computer. Chess and other mental sports can enhance the growth of dendrites which in turn improves our abilities to process and learn and thus improves the overall performance of our mind and body.  It also renews a fresh feeling of rejuvenation from the depressing environment prevalent due to Covid. This mental activity stimulates mental strength by naturally prompting and initiating an individual to analyze the consequences of their actions. A playful experience that offers great learnings and insights. I will conclude by saying; Chess is a potential mystery that holds the power of good and bad moves.