The benefits of jigsaw puzzles

Posted by Kirsten Lynch on

Originally designed by John Spilsbury as a geographical teaching aid, Jigsaw puzzles have been a popular pastime for decades, and for good reason. Not only are they a fun and relaxing way to spend an afternoon, but they also offer a number of benefits for your mental and emotional health. 

  1. Boosts cognitive function

Jigsaw puzzles require you to use both the left and right sides of your brain. This means that you'll be exercising your spatial reasoning, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills. Over time, doing puzzles can improve your memory, attention to detail, and overall cognitive function.

  1. Reduces stress

Jigsaw puzzles can be a great way to unwind after a long day. The repetitive motion of sorting and fitting the pieces together can be soothing and meditative, helping to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Additionally, completing a puzzle gives you a sense of accomplishment and can boost your mood. Of course, cats love doing jigsaw puzzles too (read: sitting in the box, swatting the puzzle pieces on the floor), so if you have a favourite feline, you're guaranteed to be spending quality time with them too (not sure about the impacts on stress levels then.)

  1. Encourages socialization

Jigsaw puzzles can be a great activity to do with friends or family. Not only does it provide an opportunity for socialization, but it can also improve communication and teamwork skills. Working together to complete a puzzle can be a fun bonding experience. Of course, there's always the challenge of choosing who gets to be the person to pop the last piece in.

  1. Enhances creativity

Jigsaw puzzles come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and images. Choosing a puzzle with a unique image or design can encourage creativity and imagination. Additionally, some puzzle enthusiasts even create their own designs or modify existing puzzles to create a personalized challenge.

  1. Improves patience and perseverance

Completing a jigsaw puzzle requires patience and perseverance. It can take several hours or even days to finish a puzzle, but the satisfaction of fitting that last piece into place is well worth it. This can help improve your ability to stick with a task and see it through to completion, which can be a valuable skill in other areas of your life.

6. Good quality jigsaw puzzles (like Ravensburger or Heye) are designed to be rebuilt time and time again - which means that once you've completed a puzzle, if you don't wish to display it, donate it to someone else (like Variety the Children's Charity) and keep the circular economy going. 

In conclusion, jigsaw puzzles are more than just a fun activity. They offer a number of benefits for your mental and emotional health, including improved cognitive function, reduced stress, socialization, enhanced creativity, and improved patience and perseverance. So, next time you're looking for a relaxing and rewarding activity, consider picking up a jigsaw puzzle.

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