6 Reasons Why Doing Jigsaw Puzzles is Good for You

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 jigsaw has leapt 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 colouring books and the resurgence of board games, doing puzzles is relaxing and has many benefits for your brain too.

What these three hobbies have in common is the ability to completely switch off and to become mindfully involved in doing something else.

No apps or electronics are required, just some time to engage in an absorbing activity that takes us away from the strains and problems of everyday life. What's not to like?!

Jigsaws require 100% commitment and attention, otherwise you get nowhere, and maybe that's why we love them so much! The perfect mindful activity that requires our full attention.

Whether you do jigsaw puzzles on your own, with your partner or with your family, jigsaw puzzles for adults have become a fun and popular hobby.

Here are 6 reasons why doing jigsaw puzzles is good for you:

1. Whole Brain Activity

Unlike many activities, jigsaw puzzles exercise both the left and right sides of your brain at the same time.

This gives your whole brain a mental workout and helps to improve your problem-solving skills and to boost 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 jigsaw puzzle engages both sides of your brain as you identify both shape and picture clues to solve the puzzle. This workout can help to prevent cognitive decline.

2. Improves Short-term Memory

Jigsaw 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 to create new connections which boosts mental speed and thought prrocesses, which helps to improve and maintain short-term memory.

So grab yourself a couple of 1000 piece puzzles and get stuck in!

3. Improve Visual-Spatial Reasoning

Looking at each puzzle piece to work out where it will fit into the bigger picture helps to improve your visual-spatial reasoning. 

These are the skills that we utilise when driving the car, packing a suitcase or the car boot, reading a map, and learning or following dance moves, amongst other things.

In fact, doing jigsaw 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

Jigsaws are a process of trial and error, so you have to take different approaches as your try different pieces out.

This helps the brain the value of formulating theories, testing hypotheses and changing your opinions and perspectives when something doesn't work.

These skills can make your 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 jigsaw puzzles is a mindful almost meditative activity, which has huge benefits including stress relief.

Focusing on one image, without allowing extraneous thoughts to crowd in to your mind, is a form of meditation, one that occurs naturally when you complete jigsaw puzzles.

This helps the stress of everyday life to 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 to 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 together also releases dopamine, the feelgood 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 to stimulate the brain and actually ward off the plaque that is a marker of Alzheimer's.

The brain scans of 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 jigsaw puzzle for an older person, choose a puzzle with plenty of colour and a pleasant picture that will evoke happy memories.

Perhaps a place they love or you could even get a personalised jigsaw made with this photo to puzzles service.

As you can see, doing jigsaw puzzles is good for your mind, body and soul.

So buy a new jigsaw 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!

All puzzles shown are available from Fine Art America. Local and worldwide shipping is available in USA, Canada, UK, Europe and Australia.

Article created in association with Fine Art America

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