You would need a great imagination to come up with ways that a jigsaw puzzle could be bad for you. But you can’t help wonder if the opposite is true. Are jigsaw puzzles good for your brain or are they just another time passing hobby?
It doesn’t take long to find articles on how jigsaw puzzles are good for your mind. There are a host of them out there all extolling the benefits of doing jigsaw puzzles. Some even claim doing jigsaws often can help alleviate some typical age-related problems.
Marcel Danesi PhD in Psychology Today states that after much research and life experience it is his ‘opinion that puzzles are beneficial to brain activity’.
He said that this was first indicated in 1982 when ‘psychologists Sternberg and Davidson argued that solving puzzles entails the ability to compare hidden information in a puzzle with information already in memory, and, more importantly, the ability to combine the information to form novel information and ideas’. Believing that ‘the thinking involved in solving puzzles can thus be characterized as a blend of imaginative association and memory’ which employs both the left and right hemispheres of the brain.
Others say that jigsaw puzzles ‘engage the brain to retain information on shapes and colors in order to choose pieces that will fit together properly.
‘This hunt for pieces requires your brain to memorize what each piece looks like or should look like and what kinds of pieces you are searching for in order to complete the picture,’ they add that doing that repeatedly ‘reinforces short-term memory’.
Doing jigsaws improves your visual-spatial reasoning. Visual spatial reasoning is ability to visualize and understand spatial relations among objects. You use the ability when driving a car for example.
They can provide stress relief and be a source of meditation. Focusing on that one goal and taking your own time to get there, and often in a place of comfort, all help jigsaws to provide you with a certain amount of stress relief.
By focusing on the jigsaw you are stopping any negative or intrusive thoughts from entering your mind much in the same way you would whilst meditating. The results gained from meditation and doing jigsaw puzzles can be quite similar.
There are even studies indicating, as reported by CBSNews, ‘that people who regularly do jigsaw puzzles have longer life spans with less chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia’.
There is no doubting that jigsaw puzzles are much more than a harmless hobby. As we have seen they are great at keeping the mind active, utilizing both hemispheres of the brain, and help us get a peace of mind and some stress relief. If the studies are to be believed, and why shouldn’t we believe them, not only is doing jigsaw puzzles giving us less chance of developing Alzheimer’s but they are seemingly helping us to live longer also.
So are jigsaw puzzles good for your brain? I guess that answer is a resounding yes!