The Waiting Game

Provided that you are not a doctor or a nurse, the doctor’s office is not a place known for its capacity to elicit a substantial amount of mental strain from those who enter. The majority of the usually small amount of brain exertion comes from deciding whether to look at Sports Illustrated or Newsweek, answering questions about your symptoms, and dealing with the occasional insurance issue.

This may be a good thing. Being sick can zap our mental energies by itself; we don’t need anything else at the doctor’s to drain what remains from us. We’d much prefer to sit back, read about Tiger Woods, and list off our problems so the doctor can tell us how to solve them. That’s all well and good until you consider that, as a population we are probably not using our brains quite enough.

Think about this. When you get home from work, what do you do? Most people will say that they watch TV, eat, watch some more TV, and go to bed. Not exactly the most stimulating way to pass the time. Don’t get me wrong, people need some time to unwind after a full day’s work, but unwinding doesn’t need to come in the form of watching a group of 20-something New Jerseyans make fools out of themselves in a bar.

Unwinding can be challenging; it can be stimulating and still relaxing at the same time. Need proof? Try playing Kakuro. While it is challenging, it’s the sort of unpressured challenge that won’t stress you out. You feel like your doing something when you play Kakuro, and have a sense of accomplishment when to puzzle is successfully conquered. How much accomplishment do you get from listening to a group of people sit around and critique people’s singing?

Let’s get back to the doctor’s office, the one place that should be advocating this kind of mental stimulation but is not. Instead of reading old magazines to pass the time, try B.Y.O.S. (Bringing Your Own Stimulation) in the form of Kakuro.

For one, it gets your brain working at a time you would usually be reading about the latest political sex scandal. Secondly, it distracts you. Thinking about what ails you can be stressful, especially when you think it could be serious. Playing Kakuro will distract you a bit from your present situation, alleviating stress and relaxing you at a potentially tense time.

Print some puzzles off our site or simply bring your laptop and play online. They should have wireless internet there. This is 2011 after all.

Kakuro is great in any situation where you are waiting or taking a break from something. The dentists’ waiting room, the break room at your office, and many other places can be utilized as Kakuro hot spots. Your options are only limited by your own creativity, and other minor obligations like your job duties.

When it comes down to it you should work your brain so it can work for you.

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