Some people will tell you that playing Scrabble is good for you because it forces you to calmly focus your attention on the board. However, if you’re a competitive person, then the word ‘calm’ might not even be in your vocabulary. Either way, here are 3 reasons why playing Scrabble is good for you, whether you’re a thinker or a shouter.
Improve your vocabulary: Obviously, if you play Scrabble on a regular basis you’re going to improve your vocabulary. With more than 180,000 words in the official Scrabble dictionary you’re bound to learn a new definition or two. Assuming, of course, that you also look at the definition and not just the spelling.
Learn how to think strategically: Scrabble is a game of strategy. Sure, that blank tile can be played anytime you like, and it makes it a little easier to clear your tray. But if you play it at just the right time you’ll rack up an additional 30 points. You also learn little tricks like when not to play a word and how to keep your opponent from being able to build on your words. In Scrabble, it’s not just how you lay the tiles, it’s also how you play them.
Improves cognitive function: Of course playing Scrabble is good for you. It makes you smarter, right? In some ways, it does. If you couldn’t solve quadratic equations before you started playing, you’re still not going to be able to, even with years of play under your belt.
However, a recent study shows that regular game play does improve some cognitive abilities. For example, the human brain has a much easier time reading and comprehending words that are spelled out horizontally, but it’s not as quick on the draw with vertical spelling. Studies have shown that the ability to read and comprehend vertical spelling is vastly improved in people who play Scrabble on a regular basis.
The human brain also quickly recognizes and understands tangible words like ‘tree’ or ‘house’ or ‘child’, but when it comes to abstract concepts like ‘happiness’ or ‘repugnant’ it takes a split second longer for our brains to recognize and interpret the words. That ability, too, is also greatly improved among regular players.
So the idea that if you play Scrabble for the rest of your life you’ll always be sharp as a tack, has a little merit, in that you’re exercising your brain muscle. You’re keeping your brain flexible. However, if you’re not Einstein now, you won’t be in the future, even if you play for 100 years.
You will however have loads of fun because unlike those crossword puzzles you’ve been doing to exercise your mind, you’re going to need at least one opponent to play Scrabble. That means you’ll be socializing with other people. And any expert will tell you that socialization is always a good thing.
Smiling, relaxing and laughing help lower stress levels, lower blood pressure and relieve depression. You’ll sleep better at night, your digestion will improve and you’ll have a much better outlook on life. So set up that Scrabble board, gather a few friends, and let’s start spelling.