Benefits of Playing Solitaire for Brain Health Benefits of Playing Solitaire for Brain Health

9 Surprising Mental Health Benefits of Playing Solitaire

How many times did you try your hand at setting the cards? Didn’t get it? I’m talking about one of the oldest games Solitaire. You while working on my system, whenever I feel stuck or get clueless, I quit working. And guess what I do! I play Solitaire.

You may not believe what I’m going to tell you now. After two or three quick games, I mostly get the clue. Yeah! that’s even surprising for me too. Believe me guys! it works. When I get back to work, I’m recharged with lots of ideas in my mind.

Actually playing games is usually looked down on as video games, which are considered just bad for the eyes and mental health and a complete waste of time. But is it valid for all games, and is it valid for solitaire? In this article, you will get all your answers.

This card game originated in the late 1700s and is still popular around the world. When you play solitaire, everyone may not praise it as an amazing hobby, and its benefits may not be immediately obvious. However, some psychological benefits could still be enjoyed while playing the game. Or a way of learning patience? So, let’s see what are the benefits of playing solitaire.

Mental Health Benefits of Playing Solitaire
Source: Pixabay

1. Mind Soothing Activity

One of the most unknown benefits is that playing solitaire helps you soothe your mind because it does not require much attention. Unlike other games, you do not have to think logically, so you are not under stress while playing it. It’s a slightly occupying mental activity that relaxes your brain and puts it in a meditative state. I have experienced this many times. My mind gets relaxed after playing this game; and so it starts working efficiently again.

Is Playing Solitaire Good for your Brain
Source: Pixabay

2. Interesting Low-Risk Game

The level of risk is low, so the impact of failure and success is also low. You will not be disappointed in losing as it is a light, low-intensity game. That’s what makes it more engaging and interesting.

a row of white boxes with black text on them
Source: Unsplash

In an interview with the Icy Whiz team, Marcus Smith, LCPC, LPC, LCADC, Executive Director at Alpas Wellness, discussed the cognitive gains and cultural perceptions of playing solitaire. Here is what he said:

Marcus Smith, LCPC, LPC, LCADC
Marcus Smith, LCPC, LPC, LCADC

“Solitaire can serve as a therapeutic tool for relaxation and mental stimulation, primarily due to its requirement for patience, strategy, and problem-solving.

Engaging in this game can help enhance cognitive skills such as memory, concentration, and the ability to recognize patterns.

These benefits arise because the game’s solitary nature allows individuals to focus without external interruptions, promoting a meditative state that can be very relaxing.

However, the solitary aspect of solitaire can also be a double-edged sword. While it provides a break from social interaction, which can be beneficial in moderating stress, it may also contribute to social isolation if played excessively.

This isolation can be detrimental, particularly for individuals who may be prone to depression or anxiety.

Excessive play of solitaire, like any activity that displaces other vital life functions, can lead to negative outcomes such as physical strain, including eye strain and carpal tunnel syndrome from repetitive movements.

Moreover, an overreliance on solitaire for stress relief can interfere with the development of more effective interpersonal coping strategies.

Cultural attitudes towards solitaire and gaming, in general, vary significantly around the world and can influence how the game’s benefits and drawbacks are perceived.

In some cultures, solitary games might be viewed as a valuable exercise in self-reflection and meditation, while in others, they might be seen as a less valuable use of time compared to social or physical activities.

For those looking to use solitaire for cognitive improvement, I recommend setting clear boundaries to maintain a healthy balance. Consider limiting play sessions to short breaks during stressful periods or using them as a controlled reward for accomplishing other tasks.

Integrating solitaire play with other cognitive enhancement activities, such as puzzles or social games, can also help ensure a well-rounded approach to mental fitness.”

3. A Good Me-Time Activity

One of the best ways to spend your me-time is playing solitaire. It will not bore you or waste your time. One can disconnect from the other world and everyday activities while keeping oneself mildly occupied.

Greyhound Laying in Bed and Senior Woman Playing Cards
Source: Pexels

4. Meditative and Stress Busting

Solitaire is a very good meditative activity for people who suffer from anxiety or who worry a lot about things. It can help you to calm down and distract in a low-risk manner. This, in turn, allows you to destress, focus better, and sleep properly.

person holding playing cards on white table
Source: Unsplash

5. Positive and Healthy Competition

The competitive nature of people usually is not very appreciated because such people lose sight of what is healthy competition.

So, if I consider solitaire in this sense, it is a mildly competitive game as it is single-player. But that is enough to create that sense of doing more and performing better, which is required to generate the push for a person to perform better.

Person Holding Playing Cards
Source: Pexels

6. Solitaire and Memory Building

It is a well-known fact that playing online games a lot can adversely affect our memory, but moderate gaming, including games like Solitaire, might also help build memory. This is because the game is designed so that you can manage all the elements, the complete set of cards, and the moves.

When we play it often, we slowly train our brain to remember more and expand its capacity.

Is Playing Solitaire Good for your Brain
Source: Pixabay

Anna Harris, Clinical Mental Health Counselor at OnlineMFTPrograms.com, talked about the benefits of playing solitaire in an interview with the Icy Whiz team. Here is what she had to say:

Anna Harris
Anna Harris

“There are a lot of benefits to solo games like solitaire. They are a great way to engage the brain, as they make you think about things like numbers and strategy, and they break up your normal daily routine by forcing you to think differently.

It is also healthy to have individual hobbies and to be able to entertain yourself on your own – that can be incredibly beneficial in a relationship or family dynamic where there may be some codependency involved.”

7. Mental Skill Development

The most beneficial outcome of playing solitaire is the development of mental skills. Consistently playing helps you develop three skills: multi-tasking, attention span, and problem-solving. However, video game players generally have a good or long attention span.

Ace of Spade card
Source: Unsplash

However, because cards are involved in the solitaire game, you can also learn multi-tasking because you must think of the next card and the entire stockpile.

Problem-solving is learned very effectively because the objective is very clear. Plus, it gives a sense of achievement while having fun.

8. Solitaire and Strategic Planning

Solitaire is one game that helps you learn and understand planning because you must strategize in real time. The game is designed and played, so you need a strategy for how you will approach it, as well as the capability to change mid-game.

Is Playing Solitaire Good for your Brain
Source: Pixabay

This process, as a whole, increases the efficiency of your brain’s processing in general and also strengthens your strategic management. It is appropriately decisive, so you do not need a very intricate set of steps like chess, which keeps up the enjoyment aspect and does not make it dull and difficult.

9. Solitaire Helps to Kill Boredom

It is obvious that if you are getting bored, then there will be emotional consequences of the same, too, like unnecessary aggression or impulsiveness. These are outcomes of poor mental health. When you play solitaire or, for that matter, any online game, you escape that feeling because you’re far away from reality. Plus, you get so engaged that time flies, and you do not get the time to get bored.

grayscale photo of person playing cards
Source: Unsplash

The game is a step-by-step challenge that keeps you so engrossed in achieving the mental goal of winning that your brain doesn’t drift off to anything else. The whole process helps you to motivate yourself more and leads to self-expansion. You broaden your scope and avenues when you’re in a competitive setting the next time.

We interviewed Dr. Lea McMahon, LCP, EdD, Chief Clinical Officer at Symetria Recovery, and asked her about the potential risks of excessive solitaire play and its impact on mental health. Here is what she said:

Dr. Lea McMahon LPC, EdD
Dr. Lea McMahon LPC, EdD

A lot of research has shown that users can calm down, concentrate, and think better by playing solitaire by themselves.

People who are addicted to solitaire say they feel calmer, less worried, and less stressed. Solitaire can help you concentrate and be smarter because it makes you think strategically and solve problems.

Solitaire is good for people who are trying to quit because it’s a lonely game. Rehabilitation patients can learn more about themselves, grow as people, and keep their minds balanced by playing alone. Solitaire is a game that can help you relax, deal with worry, and get stronger.

Solitaire has many benefits, but playing it over and over again can become addicting. People who play solitaire and have mental health problems may withdraw, forget things, and return. If you’re using solitaire to treat a problem, play it slowly.

Different cultures have different ideas about how safe and helpful solitaire is for drug rehab patients. People in some countries play solitaire to unwind, while people in others use it to waste time or escape the real world.

Telling people that solitaire can help with therapy and improve their thinking can help get them into recovery programs.

Playing mindful solitaire can help with brain training during addiction treatment. Spend less time by yourself and do more healing and social things every day.

You can play aggressive or strategy solitaire to improve your ability to concentrate, remember things, and make choices. Talk to addiction experts or other professionals to make sure that solitaire fits with your recovery plan and goals.”

Is Solitaire Beneficial?

Well, you have read and understood a lot about solitaire by now, so in conclusion, I can say that it is a quick, rewarding, and stress-relieving game. You can unwind after a worked-up day by playing a game or two, and since there is no money involved, there is no risk of addiction like poker.

Also, since the difficulty level is not as high as that of chess, you can relax while playing and have a good time. Overall it’s a good pastime or play it for a change.

Guest Author: Saket Kumar

Last Updated on May 17, 2024 by Pragya

Authors

Anushree Khandelwal
Pragya
  1. I still play Solitaire when I am bored or have some free time. Good to know the benefits of this game because many have told me not to play it.

  2. Who would have thought solitaire had brain benefits, acting as a meditative exercise and improving the memory capacity. The fact that it can alleviate boredom and serve as quality me-time adds another layer of appeal. As a casual solitaire player, I’m amused and can truly relate to the insights shared in this enlightening read.

  3. I found this article on the benefits of playing solitaire to be surprisingly insightful. Exploring the psychological aspects, such as the mind-soothing activity and the potential for learning patience, shed light on the subtle yet positive impacts of this game on the brain. The notion of it being a slightly occupying mental activity that induces a meditative state was particularly intriguing. As someone who enjoys solitaire casually, it’s interesting to consider the hidden benefits beyond just a simple card game.

  4. I was thinking of this solitaire game as a waste of time, but I had no idea it truly sharpens the brain. Now I’m not putting any limitations on myself when it comes to playing this game. One aspect of this game that you said that I appreciated is that there is no chance of addiction, unlike poker.

  5. Well I finally found someone who gave me validation to play this, and a good reason also. Because people always look at games like they are really childish especially this one, it doesn’t really have a good reputation and also the people who play this. So next time when someone tells me not to play it I will show them this article.

  6. Well first of all good article. just like exercises which makes you physically strong, games like solitare and other egames also increase the mental power and also relaxes the brain. great article.

  7. This article showed me that playing solitaire is not just fun, but it’s like a chill pill for your brain. It helps you relax, think better, and even boosts your memory and brain skills. Totally gonna play more solitaire now!

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