Puzzles are a great hobby for those cold rainy days when you’re stuck inside. Not only are puzzles a fun leisure activity, but they also have a variety of benefits of puzzles that you may not have realized… So clear off the kitchen table, put on your favorite album and find those corner pieces!
What are the benefits of doing jigsaw puzzles?
1.) Improved Memory
One of the biggest benefits of puzzles is that they help us to build connections in our brains and improves cognitive function.
Regularly looking for the correct piece and picking up and setting down different pieces increases short-term memory recall in both shape and color recall.
2.) Improved Hand-Eye Coordination
Picking up puzzle pieces and connecting them together is a repetitive hand-eye, fine-motor activity.
This activity is regularly used by recreational and occupational therapists to help patients gain strength and coordination back as part of rehabilitation treatment.
3.) Delay Dementia and Alzheimers
Regularly doing puzzles, crosswords and brain-teasers is similar to lifting weights and working out for your mind.
Regular mental stimulation improves your brain function and reduces the risk of cognitive decline.
4.) Reduce Stress
Puzzles are a naturally quiet and relaxing activity. Sitting still and focusing your attention on one simple task is a great way to practice mindfullness and calm your mind and body.
The reduced stress and calmness can also have positive effects on your mood.
5.) Increase Attention to Detail
Focusing on the minor differences in pieces, the various colors and how things connect and interact, bleeds into other aspects of our lives.
Regularly working on puzzles increases your ability to recognize details elsewhere.
6.) Increase Productivity
Doing puzzles is an excellent way to practice goal setting in a manageable, low-consequence leisure activity.
Set-up your puzzle on the table and set a goal of getting 20 pieces in before going to bed, for example.
This practice of goal setting has been used in therapeutic settings and gets you into an accomplishment mindset.
7.) Better Collaboration
Working on a puzzle with someone is a great way to collaborate and subtly improve your verbal and non-verbal communication skills.
Working on puzzles together is an excellent opportunity to work on a creative project together and improve your teamwork ability with your friends and loved ones.
Where can I buy puzzles?
You can buy puzzles at just about any retail store such as Target, Walmart, K-mart etc…
For a more cost effective option, check local listings on Craigslist, garage sales or thrift stores.
Be sure to check that you have all the pieces before purchasing!
Another great option would be online at amazon.com or apps like OfferUp and Ebay.
If you want to do a bunch of puzzles without having all the clutter, another option is to play jigsaw puzzles online. Many of the websites available are free to solve or create your own puzzles. In addition, you can customize the style of the pieces, the number of pieces, and the theme.
This is a great option for those who like to mix it up and not rely on one large jigsaw puzzle to complete over the course of days or weeks.