Happy National Puzzle Day
They’re great for de-stressing, excellent for staving off boredom, and the one thing Bill Gates always takes on holiday: jigsaw puzzles.
In the past few decades, the humble puzzle has leaped from the toy box to become a hobby enjoyed by millions of adults worldwide.
And it’s not difficult to see why. Following in the footsteps of adult coloring books and board games’ resurgence, doing puzzles is relaxing and has many benefits for your brain.
Here are six reasons why doing puzzles is right for you:
1. Whole Brain Activity
Unlike many activities, puzzles exercise both the left and right sides of your brain simultaneously.
Doing puzzles gives your whole brain a mental workout, improves your problem-solving skills, and boosts your attention span.
While your left brain is logical, objective, and methodical, your right brain is creative and intuitive. When you do puzzles, both sides must work together.
Doing a puzzle engages both sides of your brain to identify both shape and picture clues to solve the puzzle. This workout can help to prevent cognitive decline.
2. Improves Short-term Memory
Puzzles help to improve your short-term memory.
Doing a puzzle reinforces the neural connections between brain cells, improving mental speed and short-term memory.
It can also help create new connections, which boosts mental speed and thought processes, improving and maintaining short-term memory.
So grab yourself a couple of puzzles and get stuck in!
3. Improve Visual-Spatial Reasoning
Looking at each puzzle piece to work out to fit into the bigger picture improves your visual-spatial reasoning.
These are the skills that we utilize when driving the car, packing a suitcase or the car boot, reading a map, and learning or following dance moves, amongst other things.
Doing puzzles for 25 minutes a day can increase your IQ by 4 points.
Try to do your puzzle in a place with plenty of light and on a light service such as a white puzzle board or table cloth.
4. Improves problem-solving ability
Puzzles are a trial and error process, so you have to take different approaches as your other try pieces out.
Puzzles help the brain the value of formulating theories, testing hypotheses, and changing your opinions and perspectives when something doesn’t work.
These skills can make you more innovative in other areas of life, such as work, improve critical thinking and make you better at adapting to change.
Having a significant break away from screens can also help to boost health, improve mood and help you to wind down.
5. Relieves Stress
Doing puzzles is a mindful, almost meditative activity, which has enormous benefits, including stress relief.
Focusing on one image without allowing extraneous thoughts to crowd into your mind is a form of meditation that occurs naturally when you complete puzzles.
This helps the Stress of everyday life evaporate and can create a sense of peace and tranquility that will lower your blood pressure and heart rate.
It can also improve concentration and productivity as a result. A quick break to solve a puzzle can help reset your brain and help you come back to work refreshed and ready to try something new.
The act of connecting two of the right pieces also releases dopamine, the feel-good hormone, which positively affects mood, memory, and motivation.
6. Increase Life Span
Several studies have shown that people who do jigsaw and crossword puzzles have a longer life span and have a decreased chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss, or dementia.
One study even found that puzzles help stimulate the brain and ward off the plaque that is a marker of Alzheimer’s.
Brain scan performed on 75-year-olds were compared to those of much younger adults. The elderly people who did puzzles regularly had brain scans comparable to the 25-year-olds’.
When choosing a puzzle for an older person, choose a puzzle with plenty of colors and a pleasant picture that will evoke happy memories.
Perhaps a place they love, or you could even get a personalized jigsaw made with this photo to puzzles service.
As you can see, doing puzzles is right for your mind, body, and soul.
So buy a new puzzle and grab some time to put up your own personal do not disturb sign. Turn off your phone and get involved in a puzzle.
It’s a retro revolution!