How jigsaw puzzles benefit you creatively and cognitively
After a long day, winding down with a puzzle is such a treat. Sitting down, allowing your mind to wander and letting a sense of ease and accomplishment rush over you as you make your way to the final piece. Quite a meditative reset, if you ask me.. Luckily for us, jigsaw puzzles are proven to not only be a playfully rewarding activity but one that does good to your body and mind as well.
The fact that jigsaw puzzles have been around for hundreds of years might be because they have something to offer to everyone, the young, the old and to those in between. Originally invented as a way to study geography, the way we use and enjoy jigsaw puzzles has truly changed. Over the years, technology might have taken precedent, but as we collectively grasp to slow down life and learn how to savour the moment, puzzles are a perfect addition to your routine in more ways than one.
Puzzles, the brain and cognitive functions
The jigsaw puzzle was invented in 1776 by British mapmaker John Spilsbury when he cut up a world map in pieces and intended it to be placed back together as a way to learn geography. So it’s no surprise that puzzles, originally invented as a means of teaching, have cognitive benefits to offer. Completing a jigsaw puzzle is an easy yet challenging task, and this combination taps into many of cognitive functions. It takes regular “puzzling” to keep the benefits, but if you do, you can experience increased reasoning, visual perception, constructional praxis, mental rotation and episodic memory. If you want to read more about the science behind this, please find a study on the impact of jigsaw puzzles on cognitive functions here.
Completing jigsaw puzzles is also known to help you get greater attention to detail and decrease your stress levels, something that on its own has plenty of well-researched health and cognitive benefits. Quite wonderful to get all those benefits from something as meditative and fun as completing a jigsaw puzzle.
Puzzles, play and creativity
Everyone who has ever completed a jigsaw puzzle understands the engaged focus required to do it. What you might have also felt is how this engaged focus allows your mind to wander, unblocking new thoughts. This allows your mind to engage in critical thinking and often inspires new creative ideas and solutions. As you don’t have to complete a puzzle in one go, it can be the perfect little break from work (if you’re still working from home that is) when you feel stuck on a problem and need your mind to open up to new solutions.
Completing a jigsaw puzzle is also a rewarding and fulfilling way to include play in your life. There’s the sense of achievement with each piece placed and placing the final piece, is nothing but happiness. It’s the perfect way to wind down, with a cup of tea or a glass of wine, after a long day or in the morning to get some strength. Do it alone or with a group of friends, with a cup of tea or a glass of wine, the sky's the limit with puzzles..
In the end, it’s this beautiful combination of creativity and cognitivity that has kept the jigsaw puzzle so popular since its inception. Even though ‘why’ we keep coming back to jigsaw puzzles never stops changing, I’m certain that puzzles will continue to be something we keep and treasure for generations to come. What do you think?
PS. Don’t miss out! Mai mo’s first jigsaw collection is soon out, so sign up to the launch-letter here to receive a special gift when it’s out
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