Many people enjoy the challenge of putting together a jigsaw puzzle, but did you know that some significant mental health benefits are associated with working on puzzles?
In honor of May being Mental Health Awareness Month, we're sharing some of the benefits of doing jigsaw puzzles for your brain and overall well-being. Whether you're a seasoned puzzler or a beginner, there are many ways you can benefit from doing puzzles. We're going to share 4 of them with you today!
Working on jigsaw puzzles can improve your short-term memory. As you work on a puzzle, you constantly recall where pieces go and imagine how they might fit together in the bigger picture. This helps keep your mind sharp and improves your memory over time as you do puzzles regularly.
Working on a jigsaw puzzle is a meditative activity that gives you a time-out from daily stresses. Putting together a puzzle encourages mindfulness. When you focus on putting together pieces of an image instead of the stressful and anxious thoughts that would otherwise occupy your mind, you drop into the present moment, and your nervous system gets a breather.
Although you might feel some mild frustration as you figure out which pieces go together, your brain releases dopamine each time you find pieces that fit. This causes feelings of accomplishment that encourage you to keep going. Completing the puzzle brings an even larger sense of accomplishment that can help boost your mood and confidence.
Working on jigsaw puzzles can be a great way to socialize. If you work on puzzles with friends or family members, you have the opportunity to chat and connect. The teamwork and a shared sense of accomplishment when you finish a puzzle together also strengthen connections with others, which adds to your overall sense of well-being.
On the other hand, if you prefer working on puzzles by yourself, you can still benefit from a sense of community by joining online groups of your fellow puzzle enthusiasts. There are Facebook groups and subreddits on Reddit dedicated to jigsaw puzzling where you can join conversations with other puzzle enthusiasts. You can share photos of your finished puzzles, see what puzzles others are working on, and gain inspiration from them if you're looking for your next puzzle! The Completing the Puzzle facebook page and Instagram page are great places to share your finished puzzles and see your fellow puzzlers' work!
Working on jigsaw puzzles can help improve your problem-solving skills. While working on a puzzle, you need to use logic and reasoning to determine where pieces go. The more these abilities are practiced, the better they become, allowing you to use these skills in daily life.
Additionally, jigsaw puzzles can help improve analytic skills and attention to detail. Looking for pieces that fit together requires you to pay close attention to the pieces' shapes, colors, and other details. This can improve attention to detail, which helps in problem-solving because it enables you to see things that others might miss.
While doing jigsaw puzzles has many benefits, it's not a "quick-fix." However, when combined with having a support system, receiving counseling if you need it, getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and exercising, this brain-stimulating activity can be a beneficial and fun component of supporting your mental health.
What benefits have you experienced from working on jigsaw puzzles? Share your story in the comments below. We'd love to hear how jigsaw puzzles have positively impacted your wellbeing!