Jigsaw puzzles: A hobby that’s great for your brain | The Optimist Daily
Today’s Solutions: June 21, 2024

In our ever increasing digital society, puzzling is the perfect activity to unplug and improve your mental and physical wellbeing. If you’re looking for some motivation to start a puzzle, whether it’s 20, 250 or 1000 pieces, here are six benefits of doing them.

Simultaneous exercise for your left and right brain

In general, the left hemisphere of our brain is responsible for linear thinking and logic, while the right is responsible for more creative and intuitive tendencies. Studies from Sanesco Health have actually shown that neurotransmitters are being fired all over the place when we’re completing a puzzle, meaning our whole brain is getting a workout from fitting those pieces together.

Relieve stress though entering a meditative state

Although the mind is being stimulated through puzzling, it is also more relaxed. When carrying out this hobby, our brains are shut off from the rest of the world and our sole attention is on the jigsaw. This meditative state makes heart rate and blood pressure decrease, and leaves us in a calmer mind state than before.

Spending quality family time

As there are so many pieces to tackle in a puzzle, it’s the perfect activity to do in a group. To get everyone in the family involved, start the puzzle in a common area to inspire collaboration. Working together in this activity is a great bonding exercise and conversation starter.

Work on short-term memory

Through puzzling, brain-cell connections are strengthened, therefore speeding up mental functioning and improving memory. So if you’re having trouble remembering why you opened the fridge again, maybe a jigsaw is what you need to strengthen those synapses.

Improved visual-spatial reasoning

To assemble a jigsaw each individual piece needs to be assessed and then placed into a bigger picture of spatial organization. This improves visual-spatial reasoning as a whole, a skill important for operating vehicles, reading maps, and replicating dance moves, to name a few.

Decreased risk of neurological diseases

Research, published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, actually displayed an increased amount of puzzling lead to a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s. This is due to a depleted level of protein which builds up and causes the disease. Showing this activity has both short and long term benefits for one of our most important organs.

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