Jigsaw Puzzles Are Back: 5 Healthy Benefits of Doing Puzzles As a Family by 30Seconds Mom
With the continuous increase of gadgets and technologies, many people of all ages have become obsessed with cellphones and video games, and the convenience and enjoyment both provide. That's why it may come as a surprise to you that one classic pastime has resurfaced and increased in popularity in this digital world: puzzles. Why? Jigsaw puzzles provide a chance to detach yourself from the digital world and reduce screen time, which may have negative consequences in the long run.
Jigsaw puzzles are generally considered a wonderful hobby to pass the time and relax, but they actually provide more benefits other than just killing time. This is why puzzles are a wonderful family activity, and it may help kids develop or improve spatial cognitive skills and improve older adult's memory.
Here are some benefits of doing puzzles as a family:
1. Bonding With the Family
Doing anything together that the family enjoys can already be considered a bonding moment, and jigsaw puzzles are no exception. In fact, it’s a family activity that can benefit every member of the family, no matter your age.
Even if you’re not doing it as a group, you can leave the unfinished jigsaw puzzle in a common space in your hope to inspire both adults and kids to work on it in their spare time. For example, one can then notify another family member that they’re done with the corners, giving the other member a chance to contribute to the completion of the puzzle. Additionally, getting a jigsaw puzzle can also be a good conversation starter with your friends.
2. Enhances Your Attention to Detail
When doing a puzzle, especially if the individual pieces look very similar or you get custom jigsaw puzzles, it’s vital that you have excellent attention to detail. This is because you may find yourself scrambling for a piece if you can’t remember where a single piece should go. You need to keep sharp eyes to look for little differences in a piece, like colors or shapes.
3. Improves Your Problem-Solving Skills
What’s good about jigsaw puzzles is the fact that there’s no universal approach to finishing one, hence you can take different approaches to complete a puzzle – from starting with the corners or randomly finding pieces that match. This fact implies the value of trial-and-error, which goes a long way in testing different hypotheses, understanding conflicting theories and changing perspectives when you know you’re wrong.
These skills are important in work and school, as they can make you think outside the box when it comes to solving problems. This means you may be more critical and adaptive to any skills that come your way.
4. Promotes a Healthy Brain
Plenty of studies point to the idea that people who constantly work on puzzles, like crossword and jigsaw puzzles, may live a longer life and have a lower chance of experiencing memory loss and dementia. Research published in JAMA Neurology (formally the Archives of Neurology) states that doing puzzles engages the brain, helping avoid the buildup of plaque that’s often found in those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers studied the brain scans of 25-year-old and 75-year-old participants. The results show that the brain scans of the latter who enjoy doing puzzles regularly were somewhat identical to that of the former. This means that a senior who enjoys puzzles may have the same brain structure as a younger adult.
4. Develops Your Mental State
In addition to promoting brain health, doing puzzles is also known to boost your mental state. When doing jigsaw puzzles, the brain is said to go from the beta state (awake) to the alpha state. The alpha state occurs when you’re dreaming.
Here are some of the possible benefits when your brain’s state shifts from beta to alpha:
- Makes deep connections with other people.
- Enhances mood.
- Boosts self-confidence.
- Eases stress.
- Decreases blood pressure.
- Lowers heart rate.
Every member of the family may significantly benefit from enjoying jigsaw puzzles. In addition to promoting meaningful moments with the family, jigsaw puzzles also may stimulate your mental skills and even nurture the overall health of your brain, which is particularly important for seniors. You can consider puzzles one of the best gifts you can give to any family member. It’s easy to see why jigsaw puzzles are gaining in popularity amid the technologically-saturated world.