Cranium Crunches… It’s What’s For Breakfast!
By Susan Keats, Contributor & Seize-the-Day Propagandist
Cranium Crunches. Doesn’t that sound like a breakfast cereal? Little brain-shaped oats with marshmallow memories? And that’s the problem. My memory. It’s soft and mushy like a marshmallow.
Every morning, I sit at the breakfast table with my laptop and I try to remember what it was that I was going to look up. Most of the time I don’t remember and I just waste time flitting around the internet. It seems to me that more and more I remember less and less.
Maybe I have a shredded wheat mind because I’m busy and distracted. Or, it could be because my 16 rounds of chemo left me with “chemo brain”: a very real and documented result of chemotherapy. It could be because the estrogen-blocking drug I’m taking is also working the same magic on my brain as it is on the rest of my body…shriveling it up to the size of a rice crispie. Or, maybe the difficulty that I have remembering things is an early symptom of the same dementia that my dad is suffering from, far too early in his life. Sigh. Ever feel like the pancakes are stacked against you?
Meanwhile, my exceptionally smart husband kills a lot of time playing solitaire on the computer. His mom, who is 85 and still working as a practicing psychologist also enjoys relaxing with a a good memory game, while his dad, who is nearly 90 and an aspiring poet, similarly enjoys the distraction of playing solitaire on his computer. My very unscientifically based observations have led me to a hunch that playing mind-stimulating games must be a component in keeping one’s brain moist and agile.
Actually, there are plenty of studies out there to support the idea that keeping your mind exercised also keeps your thinking sharp. Just like the atrophied muscles that I’m trying to rebuild and the eating habits I’m focused on improving, I would also like to feel a little less as if my mind is meandering through sludge in the morning while on its way to an idea. I’m afraid my brain muscles haven’t had their Wheaties for longer than I want to admit.
So, I was recently told about a website that is full of fun and addicting brain function-improving games. As a matter of fact, Boombox Network even offered to pay me a little money to check out the site and give my honest feedback about it, so here are my muddy thoughts on the matter:
One of the reasons that I like this particular site is because of the name: Cranium Crunches. As I said above, it reminds me of a breakfast cereal. If only I could just eat my Cranium Crunches and restore all of my brain power.
Well, even though I can’t eat my way to mental fitness, I can choose a different part of my brain to exercise each morning, which is way more fun than reading the back of a cereal box. This site offers a “Brain Page” which allows you to focus on different brain workoutskills: speed, attention, focus, flexibility,and creativity to name a few. The fun part is actually the games. I put an example of my favorite category at the top of this article. Can you find 9 differences between the photos? I can usually find about 3, but I’m getting better! (Click on the photo to get the answers!)
And that is another of my favorite things about this web site. The games are addicting because you want to see yourself improve. Like most other games you play, you really want to beat your best score. I also appreciate the information that Cranium Crunches provides about choosing exercises for chemo brain, dementia, or just staying sharp. The site offers a number of different kinds of games so you will have to take a look and choose the one you like the best. I promise, once you start, it’s hard to stop. And that’s another fine point about this site: It’s free! So, there is no reason to stop!
I’ve decided to add Cranium Crunches to my morning routine. I’ll just add milk for a complete and balanced breakfast.