Hobbies that calm you down: Jigsaw puzzles

Jigsaw puzzles: those things that make up a giant picture by putting together many weirdly shaped small pieces in the correct way.

Puzzle Krypt-2

By Puzzle_Krypt.jpg: Munsderivative work: Schlurcher (Puzzle_Krypt.jpg) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

You probably played them when you were a kid and most likely your parents helped you solve them (I know mine did), maybe you are one of those people who played them so much that it came to a point where you thought you could solve any jigsaw puzzle in the world. But then you found out that there were jigsaw puzzles that had something like 100 pieces, 500 pieces, 1000 pieces and that those puzzles had pieces so small you had to hold them up to your eye to see the little picture part it made up. And that was when you realised that you are not the greatest jigsaw puzzle solver in the world and that your dreams of becoming a professional jigsaw puzzle master were crushed forever.

There are all sorts of jigsaw puzzles and they have a long history. The concept of jigsaws have been there for more than a hundred years (apparently they started sometime in the 1700’s), and the fact that they are still here today means that they must be doing something right. It is a fact that puzzles are a great way to distract the mind, there a few therapists who use puzzles as a means of distracting their patients and treating them. You need to really use your brain to solve a good jigsaw, since they require a lot more concentration and work than most other puzzles to solve. Not only are you trying to work out how the pieces fit together in your head, you’re also physically manipulating the pieces so that they may come together and make a nice picture.

Here’s a little article titled “How puzzles help the mind,” from ebay of all places, which talks about some of the psychological benefits of puzzle solving.

In short the article talks about (among other things) the following benefits puzzles have:

  • Improves memory
  • Increases creativity
  • Makes you use your entire brain
  • Increases dopamine (alertness) production
  • Act as a form of meditation

They probably just made this article to help sell their stuff, but they still make valid points, so go and spend your money on ebay (this post is not sponsored by ebay so please don’t think I am actually promoting them. That being said if ebay does want to sponsor me, I wouldn’t mind terribly).

For the sake of variety, here’s  another article from jigsawjungle.com titled, “The healing power of jigsaw puzzles,” , which kind of talks about the same thing but they go into a bit more detail and they mention some other things that are not mentioned in the previous article. Some of the other benefits they mention are:

  • Improves your ability to learn
  • Helps you develop your problem solving skills
  • Helps slow the onset of dementia

You can see the rest of the benefits in their article here.

So there you go, if you’re a jigsaw fanatic then I’ve just armed you with some good excuses to continue your fanaticism (is that a word? I’m not sure). And if you’re not a fanatic then the next time you walk into a store and see a jigsaw puzzle you may want to consider getting it. But if you’re not up to going to the store and spending money on a jigsaw puzzle don’t worry, there are a ton of jigsaw sites on the internet. I’ll leave a list of links to some of them below.

I hope you liked this post and I hope to see you again in my next post. Till then, happy jigsawing!

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