Are jigsaw puzzles good for you
What comes to your mind when someone talks about puzzles? For most of us, it is a quiet hobby, a way to kill time or entertain children on rainy weekends. But have you ever thought about the actual benefits of jigsaw puzzles?
Apparently, this popular hobby can preserve or even improve your mental and physical health, develop the creativity and troubleshooting abilities of your children. Also it can help older citizens train their cognitive skills to prevent numerous age-related illnesses.
In this article, we shall review the major health benefits of solving jigsaw puzzles for every age and lifestyle.
Visual-Spatial Reasoning – puzzles teach you to see the bigger picture
Spatial reasoning is a skill that allows you to think of separate objects in three dimensions and imagine their combination. For instance, people with highly-developed visual-spatial reasoning can look at a Rubik’s cube for several moments and mentally imagine every step they will have to take to assemble it.
Another great example is imagining where each tiny piece of the puzzle will go on the table. Then you can eventually get the complete picture. The development of spatial reasoning is important for all ages. It teaches us to think a long con and imagine various developments before taking action.
Jigsaw puzzles teach us to filtrate external stimuli and concentrate on a particular task entirely. This skill simply skyrockets productivity. It is also a great way to “reload” your brain. Sometimes you cannot concentrate on an important task because of noises, notifications on your smartphone, or a bad mood. After sitting on a puzzle for several minutes, you will manage to refresh your brain and get down to work with a new attitude.
This feature of puzzles is trendy among offices of world-leading companies and startups. They report an instant 24% increase in branches that adopted this practice and provide various puzzles in the resting areas.
Did you know all these benefits of solving jigsaw puzzles? More will come…
Mental benefits of solving jigsaw puzzles
Doing a jigsaw puzzle is the ultimate workout for your brain. Moreover, solving puzzles might be the only recreational activity that trains both left and right sides of your brain. The right side is in charge of creativity, intuition, and emotions. The left one is responsible for logical thinking and methodology. And solving puzzles instantly stimulates all those abilities equally.
Communication and balanced collaboration between two sides of your brain is called cognitive function. Both sides get equal stimulation and are frequently challenged in a relaxed and joyful atmosphere. They develop the proper function and preserve it for longer.
Another important mental feature of solving puzzles is that they force our brains to recognize different colors, shapes sizes and assume a correlation between them. It is the job of the occipital lobe – a part of our brain that is responsible for face and object recognition, movement, memory, and some other brain functions that often become victims of dementia and other mental deviations.
Train attention to details
While solving a puzzle, you often have to pay attention to the smallest difference of color or shape of numerous pieces. Above all, this ability is essential for the harmonic development of children. It teaches them that small details can make a great difference. Ignoring them will fail the whole task.
Of course, the ability to pay attention to details is highly-valued among people of all ages. It can help you in your career as being precise and accurate is a much-desired professional quality. This puzzle feature is quite popular in psychotherapy. Especially for people who struggle with depression and anxiety. It demonstrated to patients that even a small detail could make sense and difference. It is encouraging and inspiring them.
Proven IQ increase
So, what did we learn until now? Solving jigsaw puzzles helps you concentrate, improves your memory, and teaches pay attention to details. Aren’t those the fundamental categories of IQ testing? Many people believe that solving puzzles regularly can improve an IQ rate.
This assumption remained quite questionable until 2008, when researchers from the University of Michigan conducted an experiment. They proved that solving puzzles for at least 25 minutes per day throughout a month can boost your IQ by at least 4 points.
Communication and collaboration skills are also benefits of solving jigsaw puzzles
We have already described how solving puzzles can help you be more productive at work. But apparently, they can significantly upgrade your communication and collaboration skills.
The research held at Yale University proved that those co-workers who solve puzzles together as a recreational activity tend to find common ground easier and develop tremendous teamwork abilities. It raises the level of trust between employees, helps them coordinate work, detect and use the best features and talents of each other.
We all know that feeling of satisfaction, pride, and joy that comes once the last pieces of a puzzle come together. Apparently, there is a scientific explanation for this joy.
Solving puzzles stimulate your brain to produce dopamine – the so-called hormone of satisfaction. This hormone is crucial for mental balance and helps you fight stress and anxiety. In other words, dopamine is one of the key ingredients of a good mood.
By the way, nicotine is another stimulant for dopamine production. In other words, it is so hard to give up smoking sometimes because we develop an emotional bond with a cigarette. Arthur Aron, Ph.D., a Research Professor in the Department of Psychology at Stony Brook University, suggests that solving puzzles can help you quit smoking.
Now you know that solving puzzles is not just a hobby. It is the ultimate gym for your brain that can help it develop and preserve its best features. Solving puzzles is a helping hand for those who may notice the first signs of aging or have a genetic predisposition to age-related changes in their cognitive abilities. It is also a great way to help your child develop, detect his strong sides and talents, or boost skills.
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