Are jigsaw puzzles good for you? Hell yeah, Jigsaw puzzles are good for you. It’s scientifically proven baby.
And we don’t just mean good for you in a ‘pass the time because it’s Corona’ kind of way. No, Jigsaw puzzles are actually, properly good for the brain. Possibly even better then fatty fishes and turmeric (both rumoured to be good for the brain). Puzzles improve memory, reduce stress and are a great way to practice mindfulness.
MINDFULNESS – what even is mindfulness and how are puzzles related?
Mindfulness and self-care have been the buzz terms of the last 5 years. But what are they and how does puzzling relate? Mindfulness means being aware of your thoughts, feelings and your body in the present moment. Basically - you are in the moment. Anyone who does jigsaw puzzles will know that when you puzzle, the combination of your brain and hands working in sink, produces a semi mediative state. There is little room for thought of anything else. As such, your brain is effectively given time off from the millions of thoughts swirling around in it at any given moment. You are totally focused on the task at present whilst finishing that *cough cough* Journey of Something puzzle. This is an incredibly de-stressing activity.
So as far as we are concerned, puzzling is basically the same thing as meditating.
For more mindfulness tools, check out one of our favourite mindfulness podcasts by good friend of Journey of Something, Sarah Grynberg.
PUZZLES ARE GOOD FOR THE BRAIN
True statement. Figuring out where pieces go improves cognition and visual-spatial reasoning.
The other really interesting thing about jigsaw puzzles, is that by completing a puzzle, you are actually using the left side and right side of your brain simultaneously. The left side is logical and linear while the right side of your brain is creative and intuitive. Completing a jigsaw puzzle requires you to be both logical as well as use your creative intuition. This is really great for improving your problem-solving skills.
And don’t even get us started on the benefits of puzzling for your visual and special reasoning and short term memory… yeah, puzzles are pretty magical.
JIGSAW PUZZLES MAKE YOU LIVE LONGER.
Seriously guys, we aren’t joking on this one. Studies have shown that puzzle people (that’s us obviously) live longer and have less chance of developing Alzheimer’s. A study in the Archives of Neurology (that sounds proper yeah?!) compared the brain scans of 25 year-olds and 75 year-olds. The brain scans of the 75 year-olds who were keen puzzlers, were much more comparable to their 25 year-old counterparts then those of 75 years-olds who did not puzzle. Read more about it here.
See, we told you so!
Some other puzzle benefits include:
- Jigsaw Puzzles are great for having some screen free time. We know Netflix is good and all, but seriously, put the ipad down for a second square eyes.
- You time or social time. Puzzles are pretty versatile that way. Do one by yourself for solo, relax time or do it with the friends and family for social time. The former should obviously involve wine. Come to think of it, so should the latter…
- Who struggles to complete things in their life? While it might not be life changing, the sense of satisfaction you get from completing a puzzle releases good endorphins. You may not be able to finish that masters degree you have been working on for the last 6 years, but you can finish that puzzle all right…
If you are new to puzzling, we suggest starting with a 500 piece puzzle and working your way up to 1000 piece puzzles. Our favourite 500 pieces jigsaw puzzle at the moment would have to Memory Lane, by photographer Natalie Jeffcott who also took the cool brain picture above. If you are game for starting with a 1000 piece puzzle, choose a really detailed one like our Australia puzzle.