I Combined Brain-Games and Meditation For Ninety Days

The results just blew my mind

Photo by Ameer Basheer on Unsplash

Meditation improves your focus. Alright, I know that and you know that too. You have probably heard that like a million times.

But what does it really mean?

How do you know your concentration levels have improved or your mental agility has indeed increased? These changes aren’t always obvious.

So, I did a little experiment — actually in all honesty — it was accidental. I combined my long-standing love for playing brain games with my newfound love for meditation

Being in the corporate for long screws your brain — you want to see data and trends to draw conclusions. When you have metrics, it becomes easier to understand the improvement in your performance.

Brain games are fun, non-addictive, and helps to keep your brain sharp. Let me warn you though — the last statement is controversial to some extent. I did some research and most of it wasn’t conclusive — most studies tend to show significant differences for people who are older or have any existing cognitive disabilities. For others, the research is mixed.

Nevertheless, it didn’t matter to me in my experiment — for my hypothesis I was keen to understand if meditation improves my score for these brain games than the other way round.

A bit into my journey so far

I have been playing this for a year now — there’s a set of six games that the app curates each day for you. It’s like a customized workout routine for your brains. It takes less than twenty minutes and offers the right level of challenge to develop your cognitive skills — so I was happy to invest that time in jogging those muscles.

In the last few months during the lockdown, I also started meditating regularly — a long-time goal that never got prioritized before. Usually, I’d do a quick five-minute meditation session after a tough physical workout session. But that’s it. I realized soon five minutes has no impact except maybe lowering down the heart rate to some extent. As my fondness for meditation grew, the time I spent practicing went up as well.

Now I spend more than fifteen-twenty minutes every day, even days when I am not physically working out.

Once you understand how it works those fifteen-twenty minutes into the session will just fly. You’d be able to focus on your breath and use it as an anchor to not drift away into thoughts. You can find more details about my first month of meditation and how it helped me in this article below.

Combining meditation and brain games

To understand the impact of meditation, I thought of a little experiment —to combine the two activities and observe the results.

I played a set of brain games. I took a screenshot of my overall score.

Here is the result prior to meditation.

Screenshot captured by the author on 11/09/2020 before meditation

I meditated for 20 minutes without any guidance. I used the technique of counting breaths to maintain focus throughout the session. I wandered into thoughts occasionally, but overall I was good. I was relaxed and peaceful.

Now, comes part two of my experiment — I played the exact same set of games again on Peak. This time my results had dramatically improved — I had broken all my records. I got high scores in four out of the six games I played. My overall score had improved by seven points (It had never exceeded five points previously.)

My scores in memory, problem-solving and language significantly improved.

Screenshot captured by the author on 11/09/2020 after meditation

I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement. I was exhilarated.

Before I conclude on my hypothesis let me also share a few counter-arguments that I have anticipated as to why meditation may not have had any impact

Counter argument #1 — A second session is usually better than the first

You might say my score would improve regardless of meditation. However, I have been playing these games for six months now, so I have practiced them a hundred times already.

Just one session won’t make a big difference.

Additionally, these games are designed in a way that tests your focus, coordination, memory, and mental agility. When you play with a clear mind, your ability to perform better naturally improves.

Counter argument #2 — It’s just one time — I could have been either been lucky or more conscious

I experimented for over three months now using different combinations and recording my results to understand the trend myself. While the overall score has varied each time — I have consistently seen an improvement each time I had a clear mind.

There were a few times when meditation didn’t improve my score at all — but I realized my meditation in itself wasn’t that effective. I was too occupied mentally or had difficulty focusing. Not surprising — the results were poor too.

But barring those exceptions, a good meditation session has always given me a good score.

Screenshot captured by Author showing Peak stats for 3 months between mid-Sept and mid-Nov

Meditation helps in clearing your mind of all bizarre thoughts, it transcends you to a more relaxed state — so your attention is higher and you are in a state of flow. Anything you do in this state of mind would be better than when you are in chaos.

My hypothesis has been proven — Meditation helps in improving the cognitive abilities of the brain.

If you have been meditating and playing brain games like me you must be nodding in agreeance right now.

If you have been meditating and haven’t exercised those brain muscles in a while, maybe give it a try and test it for yourself

If you love pushing your cognitive skills but are either stuck or don’t see any progress consistently you should definitely try meditating

If you do neither but still enjoyed this article, then here’s what you can do — start meditating daily for a few minutes and then gradually scale it up.

I use the below apps — you can also find the links below. They are not affiliate links and I make no money (I wish I did, though) — I am not promoting them. I simply find them useful and wanted to share my feedback with you all.

For Brain training, I use Peak
For Meditation, I use Insight Timer

Wish to stay connected — Let me know your email here and I will share more insights once in a while, no spams — Promise!

Thinker, self-experimenter, and a newbie writer. I write about personal growth, socio-political issues, and career advice.

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