Math is one of those charged words that make people either excited or queasy. For the people who have no trouble thinking logically and can problem solve using different skill sets math is a fun and engaging exercise that helps form new ideas, solve complex problems and create new ways of thinking. However math can also be very intimidating and reduce even intelligent people to tears trying to factor for “x”.

Unfortunately the way math is taught in most public school systems it really is a matter of you get it or you don’t. While some people genuinely display a high aptitude for mathematics it doesn’t mean that people who aren’t as gifted with numbers can’t grasp the basic concepts of math and use simple problems to help improve several areas of their brains including spatial relationships, cognitive ability and problem solving.

A common gripe regarding math is heard by plenty of school children who rightly ask ‘when will I ever need this’. It’s a fair question since life isn’t laid out like an equation and we rarely are asked by a retail clerk if we’d like to see a variable of the product we are interested in. However, what math essentially teaches us is how to use our brain’s ability to problem solve, which is absolutely necessary to make it through every day life.

When looked at from a mathematical perspective life is really a series of problems for us to overcome: what will we eat, how will we get the food to eat, how do we prepare the food, what do we do with leftover food… these apparently mundane and trivial tasks are actually quite complex functions in the brain that require a string of neurons and code that make us capable of going to a store, buying a chicken, cooking it and storing the leftovers. Surprisingly enough these simple tasks can become rather difficult when stress is factored in. Being able to streamline our thoughts to make better decisions is where math problems come in to play.

When you train your brain by using simple math problems you actively exercise several areas of the brain that are responsible for decision making, thought processes and critical analysis. Math whether it is geometry, algebra or calculus sharpens the mind by forcing the brain to think differently for ways to solve different problems. The more skilled you get at solving problems the more difficult challenges you will be prepared for. Instead of seeing numbers and variables try to look at math as tasks that need solutions. Another trick to making math easier to understand is to not only think of the numbers in terms of money (a concept most people can grasp) but as your money therefore making it relevant to you specifically. When you see how math affects every aspect of daily life then you will begin to understand how equations aren’t set up to confuse you but to help train your brain to think through problems using all the resources your brain contains.

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