We know that jigsaw puzzles are a great gift and loads of fun to play with family and friends, but did you know that they also help to strengthen your brain, improve memory and ward off illnesses?
Let's dive into five of the many reasons why puzzles are our new favourite things....
1. Sharpen the Mind
Studies show that when we work on a jigsaw puzzles, we are giving the parts of our brains that recognise and remember things visually a great work out. Kind of like hitting the gym, only for the brain rather than the body. This makes puzzles the perfect tools for helping to sharpen the mind. They help us to improve our overall concentration, memory and attention to detail.
2. Keep the Brain Healthy
Our brains are the centre of all of our physical and mental workings, and we only get one, so it’s essential that we take good care of it. A whole number of factors contribute to brain health, including diet and exercise, but did you know that puzzles are also hugely beneficial in keeping your brain functioning smoothly and warding off memory-related illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and dementia?
Puzzles are the perfect tool to help to develop concentration and memory. This type of problem solving activity strengthens existing connections between brain cells and helps to form new ones. Studies have shown that the growth of these new brain connections even help reduce the amount of brain damage in Alzheimer's patients.
Engaging in puzzle-related activities is also great as a way of warding off the possibility of developing memory loss in years to come. Have fun now, reap the rewards later, it’s a win win.
3. Improve Visual and spatial reasoning skills:
The parts of our brain that we are activating and strengthening when we do a puzzle are those that give us our visual and spatial reasoning abilities. Spatial reasoning is the ability to imagine, visualise and differentiate objects in two or three dimensions. These skills are essential for people working in any visual or manual field, such as visual arts and photography, design, engineering and construction.
They are also crucial when completing daily tasks such as driving a car or stacking objects, and developing these areas will help you do carry these activities out more creatively, safely, efficiently and effectively.
4. Quiet the Mind
The intense focus required when solving a jigsaw puzzle brings our minds into a meditative-like state. This not only helps us to relax and switch off from the constant chatter in our heads, it also does our brains and bodies a world of good. Meditation and mediative-like activities help us to improve focus and productivity, reduce anxiety and think more creatively.
They also slow down the central nervous system, and in doing so, reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease and countless other stress-related illnesses.
5. Lift your Mood
Each time you fit a piece into place while solving a puzzle your brain sends out a little chemical reward in the form of dopamine. Dopamine represents one of the brain’s neurotransmitters, and it helps regulate mood, motivation levels, attention to detail and to promote feelings of optimism.
On top of all this, jigsaw puzzles offer the ultimate reward at the end, a competed piece of art to hang on your wall!
So next time you’re feeling a little foggy, bored or a little blue, why not reach for the ultimate mind-sharpening activity, the jigsaw puzzle!
Check out our puzzles below featuring stunning works of art: