Benefits of Doing Jigsaw Puzzles

Kids doing red panda jigsaw puzzleJigsaw puzzles, often seen as a simple pastime, offer a surprising range of cognitive and emotional benefits. Research suggests that putting puzzle pieces together isn’t just about the final image; it’s a workout for your brain with positive impacts on memory, focus, and even mood.

Enhancing Cognitive Function

One key benefit of jigsaw puzzles is their ability to enhance cognitive function. A study published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience found that completing puzzles activates several areas of the brain associated with visual-spatial reasoning and short-term memory [1]. As you search for connecting pieces, your brain forms temporary connections and strengthens existing neural pathways, promoting cognitive flexibility and problem-solving skills.

Benefiting Mental Health

Jigsaw puzzles can also be a powerful tool for stress reduction and relaxation. Research suggests that focusing on a calming and methodical activity like puzzling can induce a meditative state, lowering stress hormones and promoting feelings of peacefulness. The repetitive nature of searching for and fitting pieces allows the mind to quiet down and focus on the present moment, offering a welcome respite from daily anxieties.

Improving Mood and Emotional State

Furthermore, completing a jigsaw puzzle can boost mood and feelings of accomplishment. A study found that puzzle completion triggers the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward. Each successful piece placement provides a small burst of satisfaction, motivating you to continue and ultimately leading to a sense of accomplishment upon finishing the puzzle.

The benefits of jigsaw puzzles extend beyond individual well-being. They can be a wonderful social activity, fostering connection and communication. Working on a puzzle together with family or friends encourages teamwork, shared problem-solving, and a sense of camaraderie.

 

From improved cognitive function and stress reduction to enhanced mood and social connection, jigsaw puzzles offer many benefits for people of all ages. So next time you’re looking for a way to unwind, challenge your mind, or simply connect with loved ones, consider grabbing a jigsaw puzzle.

Happy Puzzling!
Cortney & Val

 

[1] Fissler P, Küster OC, Laptinskaya D, Loy LS, von Arnim CAF, Kolassa IT. Jigsaw Puzzling
Taps Multiple Cognitive Abilities and Is a Potential Protective Factor for Cognitive Aging. Front
Aging Neurosci. 2018 Oct 1;10:299. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2018.00299. PMID: 30327598; PMCID:
PMC6174231.

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