I’ve always quite enjoyed doing jigsaw puzzles with the kids, and the husband and I often joked that we would do puzzles when we were retired. Then 2020 arrived and took away our social lives and left our mental health in tatters. With little else to do we decided not to wait until retirement, I purchased some jigsaws from The Works, and we soon discovered the benefits of doing a jigsaw puzzle.

benefits of doing a jigsaw puzzle

There are so many benefits of doing a jigsaw puzzle that I never realised…

1 Brain Exercise

Doing a jigsaw puzzles is a great work out for your brain and there’s no Joe Wicks in sight! The skills required to do a puzzle utilise both the left and right side of your brain. The left side for the logical aspects and the right side for the creative aspects.

2 Improves Attention Span & Problem Solving

In fact Bill Gates always has a jigsaw puzzle on the go and swears by benefits such as these. If it’s good enough for Bill….

3 Improves Short Term Memory

Doing a jigsaw puzzle reinforces connections between brain cells and improves mental speed. As a result short term memory is improved.

4 Improves Visual Spacial Reasoning

Which in turn will help you park the car and learn dance moves. You’ll be the next Tik Tok sensation before you know it!

5 You can live longer

Studies have shown people who regularly do jigsaw puzzles have a longer life span and you are less likely to develop dementia.

6 Improves your attention to detail and problem solving skills

Always great skills in any walk of life.

7 Increases IQ

Doing a puzzle for 25 minutes a day can increase your IQ level by 4 points.

8 Reduces anxiety & stress

Jigsaw puzzles are a great way to distract your mind from worries and over thinking things. Focusing solely on one activity such as a puzzle is a great way to reduce anxiety and stress. Puzzles allow you to forget about everything else for a while. I’m someone whose brain is always pretty much in overdrive, but the Corona virus pandemic sent it into warp speed. Being able to switch off has been one of the biggest benefits of doing a jigsaw puzzle for me.

9 Makes You happy

Every-time you place a puzzle piece correctly dopamine is released in your brain, therefore increasing your happiness. Combine a puzzle with some chocolate and you will be on cloud nine. I would anyway!

10 Reduces your blood pressure

Doing a puzzle switched your brain from beta mode to alpha mode. Alpha mode is a more dream like state in which our blood pressure and heart rate is reduced. Puzzles have a huge calming effect on our bodies and minds.

11 It’s a great mindfulness activity

The effect of doing a jigsaw puzzle on our bodies and minds is the same as doing a meditation. Jigsaw puzzles are a great alternative if you find meditation hard.

12 Time away from screens

I love a goof Netflix binge, but sometimes it is great to leave the screens and the scrolling, chuck some chilled out tunes on, and get lost in a jigsaw puzzle.

13 Gives you much needed connections

Completing a jigsaw puzzle together is a great way to re-connect.

I know it sounds corny, but some of my favourite memories from what has been such a tough year are Summer evenings in the garden with the husband doing a jigsaw puzzle. Chiminea burning, our boys asleep upstairs, everything quiet and still around us. And it didn’t matter what was going on outside of our little bubble, because we were together and happy, and as long as we had each other it would all be OK.

So, yeah, jigsaw puzzles have been my lifeline in 2020.

Fancy giving one a go?

Fine Art America have a huge range of 500 and 100 piece puzzles designed by independent artists all over the world. You can even create your own custom puzzle by uploading your own design or photograph.

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Claire Kirby

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