We know what you’re thinking. Puzzles? What am I, 80? Well, I hope you will one day. So why not mentally prepare for it. Admittedly, puzzles have the reputation of being the domain of the very old, the very young or the incurably nerdy. To which we say: Yeah, so? Some have started a podcast and made sourdough during the pandemic; we started a healthy addiction to puzzles. And for good reason : Doing puzzles has a myriad of health benefits, some of which might surprise you.
Help with puzzles improve memory
Puzzles require our left (logical, analytical) and right (creative, intuitive) brains to work together. Picking up a piece and imagining where it might go in the bigger puzzle is like a trip to the mental gymnasium. It requires neural connections between the two hemispheres and accelerated thought processes that improve short-term memory. (That’s why they’re often used to combat cognitive decline in the elderly.)
According to a 2012 study published in the Neurology Archivesolder people who kept their brains active with cognitively stimulating activities like games and puzzles had less beta-amyloid protein in their brains (a major component of plaque that indicates Alzheimer’s disease).
They sharpen problem-solving skills and attention to detail
Solving a puzzle takes a lot of trial and error. You can try fitting a room first by color, then by shape, while constantly forming and revising little theories in your mind, while strengthening the connections between brain cells. This results in a better reviewthinking skills.
Sometimes the only way to solve a puzzle is to stare at the same 50 pieces for an hour to discern tiny differences in hue or shape, or find the missing tenth. of a person’s face. Going through these items requires extra attention to detail, which can help you the next time the Legal Department sends you a 30-page document to review.
Puzzles also improve visual-spatial reasoning; Mentally calculating where the pieces go in the bigger puzzle flexes our brain’s visual-spatial reasoning muscle, a skill that’s used for packing, reading maps, driving, and learn choreography.
They decrease stress levels and improve your mood
Did you know that the brain enters a dream-like state when assembling a puzzle? According to Sanesco Healthan evidence-based medical researcher:
Exercising both sides of the brain simultaneously also allows the brain to shift from a beta state, the waking mind, to an “Alpha” state, the same mental state one experiences while dreaming. The Alpha state is where we tap into our subconscious mind. Puzzles naturally induce this state of creative and focused meditation, where connections can be made on deeper levels.
The rush you get from making and completing puzzles isn’t just in your head. Well, it is, but the pleasure and satisfaction you experience is backed by science.
While individual puzzle moments can be temporarily – and mildly – frustrating, the overall puzzle-solving experience is moody.booster. Every time you put a piece in the right place, your brain releases dopamine, the neurotransmitter that makes you happier and more alert. Sanesco Health adds, “Dopamine improves motor skills, increases concentration, optimism, confidence, and improves memory.”
An inexpensive, mood-boosting, memory-enhancing, and stress-relieving activity that can give you a sense of happiness and accomplishment, without leaving your home? If you don’t do puzzles, what do you do?
They also have cognitive benefits for children
Puzzles can also help children’s mind development in many ways.; from spatial and organizational skills to patience and self-control. They also help with concentration and improve dexterity. (Anything that can help them learn to tie their own buttons, laces, and the zippers? Winner.)