The surprising benefits of solving jigsaws for adultsRuth Roberts
It’s true that, nowadays, you’re more likely to see kids playing video games than putting together traditional jigsaws. But, adults are turning to jigsaw puzzles more and more, to unwind and to challenge their brains in a new way. Since the Covid-19 lockdown in March, sales of jigsaws worldwide have increased by over 300%.
What are the benefits of jigsaws for adults?
Benefits of Jigsaws
1. Improve your Mood
|One of the main benefits of jigsaws is that they increase our brains’ production of dopamine.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and feelings of optimism. It also affects memory, concentration, and motivation.
|Dopamine is released every time we successfully solve a puzzle — or even just get one piece in the right place. This encourages us to continue working on solving them and challenging ourselves.|
2. Lower Stress Levels
At the same time that jigsaw puzzles challenge us, they also help us to relax.
Our brains also go from a “Beta,” or wakeful, state to an “Alpha” state when we’re solving jigsaws. The Alpha state is similar to the state we’re in when we’re dreaming.
3. Improve your memory!
|Solving puzzles helps reinforce existing connections between our brain cells. It also increases the generation of new relationships. This, in turn, improves mental speed and thought processes.|
|Jigsaw puzzles are especially good for improving short-term memory. Our short-term memory helps us remember shapes and colors and visualise the bigger picture to figure out which pieces will fit together.|
4. Improve your problem-solving skills.
The ability to creatively solve problems and think critically is greatly valued in the workforce. Puzzles help us develop all of those important skills.
Puzzles require us to take different approaches to try and solve a problem since there’s a lot of trial and error involved.
We also learn the value of formulating theories, testing hypotheses, and changing our perspectives when something doesn’t work out according to plan.
All these skills can easily be transferred to our work life to make us more innovative and adaptable employees.
5. Delay Dementia and Alzheimer’s
Studies show that keeping the mind active through puzzles and other problem-solving activities can reduce the amount of brain cell damage that occurs in Alzheimer’s patients. It also supports the growth of new nerve cells and strengthens the connections between them.
Researchers have also found a correlation between the number of years someone has been solving puzzles and the likelihood that they will develop Alzheimer’s. So, the sooner you start making puzzles a regular part of your life, the better. It’s never too early to start protecting your brain.