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10 wellbeing benefits of playing chess

Chess is a versatile hobby that teaches us a variety of skills that can be translated into our everyday lives in various areas. With origins that date back to the 15th century, it is a hobby that is played all over the world and can be enjoyed by those of all ages, teaching us how to improve our thinking skills, resilience and creativity while improving our confidence and intelligence, making it an incredibly beneficial hobby that provides endless enjoyment.

It is also a brilliant tool for improving mental wellbeing and lowering stress levels, helping you to become healthier, happier and calmer in your everyday life.

Read on to find out more about the physical and mental benefits of playing chess.

1. Grow your brain

Did you know that strategy games such as chess can actually help your brain to grow by stimulating the growth of dendrites, which act as the signal carriers for the brain and play a vital role in its development and growth. The more of these you have, the faster your brain can work.

2. Increase your mental fitness

As well as helping your brain to grow, chess can help to sharpen your brains and give it a much-needed workout, helping to keep it agile and offset the effects of ageing. Such activity reduces the risk of conditions such as dementia, which are more likely to develop if you have a sedentary lifestyle without sufficient mental and physical stimulation. Those who play chess are much more agile mentally and have better cognitive function and memory.

3. Develop core skills

Playing chess challenges your brain with many different types of thinking. These include logic and pattern recognition skills, as well as analytically and visual skills, all of which are valuable core skills in their own right, not to mention they all help to improve your memory.

4. Increase your intelligence

Some scientific studies have found that playing chess can boost intelligence, helping to increase academic performance.

5. Boost your creativity

Chess is a great pastime to ignite your creativity, especially if you are experiencing a block. The kind of thinking required to play the game uses the right side of our brain – the side that is responsible for our creativity. Stimulating this side of the brain while allowing yourself to become absorbed in something that requires your complete attention can allow you to reach a creative breakthrough in much the same way as meditation. Being able to activate the creative part of your brain is something that has numerous benefits in everyday life, especially when faced with challenges that require problem-solving abilities.

6. Improve your problem-solving skills

As previously mentioned, playing chess can dramatically improve your problem-solving skills as it is a strategic game that demands quick thinking, planning multiple steps ahead and exploring different cause and effect relationships in a constantly changing scenario. Few other pastimes offer such an opportunity.

7. Develop your memory

Chess helps improve and develop cognitive skills as it requires players not just to figure out their own strategy, but also to remember the rules of the game, and that’s before you consider the moves that your opponent has made and may yet make. This means that chess players develop especially good memory recall, which can also help boost memory and verbal skill development.

8. Improve your attention span

With so many distractions in our modern-day lives, it can be difficult to focus. The beauty of chess is that it requires us to focus our attention completely on the game at hand. This teaches us to focus better and improves our attention span, which will improve our performance and make us more productive.

9. Reduce Stress

Playing chess regularly is recognised as an effective way to help reduce stress levels that can contribute to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, as well as causing physical problems.

10. Develop interpersonal skills

Playing chess with another player promotes the development of skills in areas of communication, social interaction and social bonding. This makes it an ideal way to socialize and bond with others, which can help to make you a happy, healthier person. The interpersonal skills you develop can also be invaluable in other areas of life.

Lara Edwards
Community Manager and Editor of Motiv8.Me Woman. A photographer, radio presenter, poet and spoken word performer, Lara recently graduated from university with a joint honours in History & Creative Writing.

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