So here's a story from A to Z. You got a jigsaw puzzle at hand (as a present or a purchase that you did randomly), and wonder if this non-digitalized and app-free type of pastime will work for you or your loved ones. While many reps of Gen Z and Gen Alpha might put jigsaws in one raw with vinyl record albums and rotary phones, the actual truth is that a good old logical game seems to be enjoying a renaissance. Being a great family bonding activity and an easy way to pass time and relax, jigsaws also have a myriad of undeniable health benefits. Some of them might even surprise you.
So, without much fuss…
Benefits of Puzzles for Mental Health
In addition to being a fun interactive parents-kids activity, jigsaws have an array of benefits for mental health. Whether played in groups or solo, a fanciful brain teaser requires your full attention while in return enhancing the mental health of every user from tweens, teens, and millennials to busy moms and dads.
Try Puzzles for Anxiety
One of the reasons to gravitate to jigsaws is because they’re particularly great distractions when anxiety kicks in. Not only do they demand a certain level of mindfulness and concentration, but they also increase the so-called feel-good endorphins. Your progress and the sense of achievement when the last fragment is in its spot turn puzzles into a fulfilling activity. If you’re consistently anxious for whatever reason, puzzles for anxiety battles will help you feel happier and more satisfied. If you’re in the mood to complete your next masterpiece and combat anxiety, go for the nature jigsaw puzzle. After all, viewing scenes of nature has been found to contribute to human mental and physical well-being, including better sleep at night according to research done by Jim Horne, Ph.D., professor emeritus of psychophysiology at Loughborough University.
Solve Jigsaw Puzzles for Stress Relief
More than 40% of people reported having behavioral and mental health issues during the global pandemic, according to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s when a lot of home “prisoners” chose puzzles as calming activities that could take away this sense of hopelessness and despair. Amazingly enough, doing jigsaw puzzles reduces the level of cortisol known as the stress hormone. When you get busy with a brainteaser, you feel relaxed mainly because you don’t do several things at a time. You don’t watch TV shows. You’re off the screen. You’re not writing a business report. In other words, you don’t multitask. It’s just you and a wooden jigsaw puzzle at hand. Your mind is 100% occupied with a brain game leaving no place for other worries and stressors at that particular moment. You just start doing jigsaw puzzles for stress relief, and your brainpower is focused on identifying two fragments that piece perfectly together. Let’s face it, distractions from hectic routine is both an emotional and mental necessity, right?
Are Jigsaw Puzzles Good for Your Brain?
One thing we can be sure about – assembling small interlocking pieces has many benefits for the human brain. This wonderful family or solo activity stimulates the brain and prevents Alzheimer’s disease. Based on the brain scans of people who were solving brain teasers between the ages of 25 to 75, the results of older people were quite similar to those who were less than 30 years old.
While jigsaws exercise both the right and left sides of the human brain, they also let them reboot. The right side is intuitive and creative while the left is where your logic is stored. Thus, with every puzzle session, your mind has the so-called mental workout. The latter boosts your ability to solve problems and focus. It’s no wonder that Bill Gates is said to be a huge fan of puzzles.
So, are jigsaw puzzles good for your brain? Absolutely! Cognitive decline prevention, adaptability, critical thinking, and spatial reasoning improvement are just a few benefits to list.
How to Improve Your Concentration Skills by Doing Jigsaw Puzzles?
One of the key reasons to buy puzzles for mental health is that they can hold the attention of the most impatient dialectologists! You piece together the first fragments and…that’s it, you can’t stop! When juggling very similar pieces, you need to pay attention to the tiniest details to catch the slightest differences in shapes, colors, and characters. That’s how your concentration muscles start working in the process! As a result, you learn to capture the minor details in the other areas of life, such as the office environment, college classes, etc. When we get more precise and detailed, our academic progress and the quality of work improve as well, no matter our gender, ability, or age.
If you wonder how to improve concentration skills, take the following simple steps with puzzles as an integral part of the process:
- Choose wooden jigsaw puzzles for adults with many small details.
- Pick the jigsaws with smaller images blended and combined to create a bigger image.
- Assemble brain teasers that comprise randomly cut pieces with no edges!
Jigsaw Puzzles for Dementia Patients
If there are perfect pastimes for people suffering from dementia, jigsaws definitely top the list. In addition to brain stimulation, brainteasers are also a safe social activity that connects patients to family members or caregivers. It works well for dementia patients because it’s calming and gives a pleasant feeling of accomplishment. Besides, they stimulate dopamine release upon finally finding the right fragment and lower blood pressure.
To pick the jigsaw puzzles for dementia patients, ensure you do it right:
- No kid's variants with huge pieces (the simplest jigsaws should be given only to those suffering from late-stage dementia).
- Pick jigsaws that evoke memories. Order personalized items so that people with the above-mentioned diagnosis could recognize their loved ones or even selves.
- Choose pleasant images.
Finally, ensure your dearest someone has a well-lit and comfy spot to assemble the puzzle.
Improve Short Term Memory Doing Jigsaw Puzzles
So, you’ve just hung up and can’t remember what the phone conversation was about? It’s time to get busy solving the puzzle and, as a result, improve short term memory. The process of assembling boosts neural connections between brain cells. This, in turn, stimulates the generation of more connections. Sooner than you know, it will be easier for you to find the right piece among the others with the same shape or color and see the image on a large scale to piece fragments together. As you store this information in your mind, your mental speed increases and so does your short-term memory. Who knows, maybe now you will finally remember the name of your boyfriend’s mom?
How Long to See Results from Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles?
Whether we sweat like hell in a gym, undergo loads of procedures to get rid of acne, or start attending dance classes, we hope to see immediate results. The same with solving puzzles and similar activities.
“How long to see results of the puzzle game?”
One of the most popular questions after the very first jigsaw session. You’ll be most likely disappointed by the answer.
As stated above, designed to test and polish your logic, wooden jigsaw puzzles for adults give you a real mental workout. However, just like in the case of gym training, you have to challenge your brain regularly to see the desired results. Something more than just successfully killing time comes after a range of assembling sessions. What is more, it is important to change the intellectual load by switching from simple ribbon-cut items on a grid to random cuts. Are you done with standard jigsaws? Don’t stop at the top! Go for the single color or clear puzzles to break exercise your brain more effectively. After all, the sky is the limit.
Puzzles have been with us in various forms since ancient times. Now, they’re almost endless and, it’s no doubt, will keep on rocking during our digital era as well. Besides being a fun pastime when we feel a sense of boredom, jigsaws put our brains to work and help us relax. Whether you are 3 or 73, remembering pieces, shapes, and sizes, as well as visualizing where each fits in is useful for both mental and physical well-being. So, get rid of that messy pile on your table, make some coffee, and tune in to some brain workout.