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Hey, adult coloring books: there's a saucy new kid on the block. Jigsaw puzzles are the latest super-cool craze in de-stress activities. Sure, they're fun, but did you also know that are a ton of actual benefits to solving a puzzle? Not just a way to pass the time, these babies are good for your brain, your lifespan and your personal life. Let's break down why you should start puzzlin' immediately.
Keep reading to learn why puzzles are hella great for you, boo.
1. They Help You De-Stress and Enjoy #JOMO
Did you know that jigsaw puzzles can lower your blood pressure and heart rate? Not to mention you'll get to experience JOMO: the Joy Of Missing Out. News flash: disconnecting from devices, social commitments, and taking a break from staying up too late is good for you. Use this as time for self care: try skincare masks, listen to a killer playlist, meditate—these are all things that, when combined with doing a puzzle, will help you detox from the stresses of your life.
2. Teach You Mindfulness
If you've ever even been on Twitter, you know it's super easy to get wrapped up in BS. With all the craziness and worries, it can be hard to just be present. If you've been meaning to listen to those Eckhardt Tolle audiobooks, there's no better time than when you're sitting down to do a good puzzle. Let your daily worries melt away and just focus on one thing—during the here and now. After all, humans aren't really meant to multi-task. It pays to put your full attention and care into one thing at a time.
3. Raise Your IQ
Um, a fun activity that literally makes you smarter? Yes, please. Next time you take an IQ test, try doing a jigsaw puzzle first. Dr Susanne Jäggi at the University of Michigan found that 25 minutes of puzzle games could boost your IQ up to 4 points. It's not rocket science, Einstein.
4. Allow You To Get Some Alone Time
Whether you're an introvert who needs to recharge, or just want to take a break from your busy life, doing a jigsaw puzzle will help you get some "me" time. And if you're one of those people who gets antsy being alone, consider doing this as practice. Many of us have a hard time being alone—but it truly is important for mental health to have some time to reflect and be by yourself. You got this!
5. Help You Socialize
On the other hand, puzzles can also be a great activity to do with other people. We're big fans of hosting jigsaw puzzle party with some wine and a puzzle. It's an awesome way to catch up with friends or family, do something together and break away from your every day routines together. It's also perfect to take on weekend getaways when you guys are looking for some down time.
6. Makes You A Better Collaborator
A wise man once said, "teamwork makes the dream work," so why not engage in activities that help you collaborate better. It works even better when you do a puzzle with other people. You'll learn so much about each other's working styles and will get to practice communicating and interacting as a group. According to one Yale study, when puzzles are "done as a collaborative effort, building complex puzzles helps to build cooperation, interconnectedness and teamwork." Boom!
7. Promote Productivity
Move over, Adderall. There's a fun and totally natural way to concentrate better. When you de-stress and promote dopamine production, you'll potentially have an easier time focusing. If you're struggling to concentrate on something, try taking a break and working on a puzzle. You're sure to have better concentration and productivity when you get back on task.
8. They're Good For Your Noggin'
Did you know jigsaw puzzles were Krang's favorite activity when he wasn't going after the Ninja Turtles? OK, we may have made that up, but we're not kidding about all the ways a jigsaw puzzle is good for your soggy, pink power center. Here's what a puzzle can do for your brain:
- Engages both sides of your brain at once
Your right brain is your creative side and your left is logical. Working a puzzle makes them BFFs — engaging them both at the same time. According to neuroscience leader Sanesco Health, when the left brain "sees all of the separate pieces, it attempts to sort them out logically," while the right brain "sees the 'big picture' and works intuitively." When both of your brain hemispheres are engaged at once, it creates connections between brain cells. That's just science, boo.
- Improves your memory & concentration
When more of your brain cells are forming neurological connections, it produces dopamine—the chemical that improves your memory and concentration. That's pretty dope, if you ask us.
- Helps you problem-solve better
All that right-brain, left-brain mingling is also great for your problem solving skills. Puzzles require a lot of trial, error, forming and testing theories, and cause us to have to pivot strategies when things don't go as planned.
- Improves your visual-spatial reasoning.
We don't all just learn things by listening—we also learn via pictures and other visual info. Exercising visual-spatial skills via activities like puzzle help your brain organize that visual info and understand meaningful patterns. Why should you care? You need visual-spatial reasoning skills to do things like follow dance moves, pack a suitcase, or assemble that IKEA furniture you just bought.
9. Help You Avoid Dementia Later In Life
Studies have shown that people who do jigsaw and crossword puzzles regularly throughout their life live longer and have a lower chance of exhibiting memory loss or dementia in their golden years. They also found those subjects were less likely to get the brain plaque that has been linked to Alzheimer's.
10. Give A Sense Of Accomplishment
Did we mention dopamine also helps you control your mood? Getting a little dose after sliding that last puzzle piece into place feels great. And no matter what you decide to do with your finished puzzle, you can rest easy with the feeling of immense satisfaction that comes from solving one.Want to get puzzlin'? Check out Piece Out's latest collection of 500-piece jigsaws.