We like the way puzzles challenge us to solve problems and the feeling of accomplishment we get when we match the final piece of the puzzle. Solving jigsaw puzzles is a fun and relaxing past time. However, few of us are aware that puzzles can prevent mental illnesses and boosts our brain activity.
Doing puzzles is an extremely satisfying activity that helps us unwind. Luckily, working on a puzzle can also have amazing benefits to your brain. Below we listed 5 ways jigsaw puzzles help your brain stay in shape.
1. Puzzles improve your memory
Whenever you solve a puzzle, your brain cells retain information on patterns and colors that you use as clues to fit together puzzle pieces. This process demands that you activate your short-term memory, which tells you what pieces to look for to complete each part of the puzzle picture. By doing this repeatedly, you exercise your memory muscle to stock information, and improve your mental speed of recalling things.
The activity of puzzle solving stimulates, as a result, the growth of new nerve cells and builds up new connections between them, which can lower your risks of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
2. Working on a puzzle sharpens your mental focus
Trying to match all pieces together can give your brain a good workout. When solving jigsaw puzzles, you force your mind to study attentively the pieces you have on the board and compare it with the final puzzle picture. In this way, you eliminate distractions and clear your mind of unnecessary thoughts. As a consequence, the activity increases the strength of your focus gradually as you complete the puzzle.
3. Puzzles refresh thoughts and boost your mood
While your hands are busy doing the puzzles, your brain enters a meditative state. External worries from your everyday life vanish as your mind is engaged to something so satisfying as matching pieces together. Every time you manage to get one piece in the right place, dopamine is released in the brain. This chemical makes you feel good and experience bliss, as well as motivates you to keep on working on solving puzzles and challenge yourself.
4. Jigsaws enhance visual-spatial perception
When you solve jigsaws, you try to make sense where each individual piece fits into the big picture. Matching puzzle pieces together can have a significant influence on strengthening your visual-spatial skills. These are important when you park a car, when you find your way in a new town, or when you follow new dance moves.
5. Puzzle solving stimulates creativity
Solving puzzles require a dose of creativity and intuition. You have to use your creative right brain to visualize the big picture and apply different methods to solve the puzzle. Because you are trying to create order out of chaos, you also need to use your logical left-brain hemisphere to sort pieces out by certain patterns. However, a puzzle stimulates your creative side as you work on the puzzle more intuitively.
In conclusion, jigsaw puzzles are a great way to keep your mind active and ensure a better quality of life. Apart from being relaxing, solving puzzles improves your visual-spatial skills, exercises your memory and focus, and boosts your self-esteem and confidence with every puzzle completed.