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The positive power of puzzles

One of the pleasures of puzzles is the sheer scale and variety that can be enjoyed making them a leisurely hobby that can be used to pass time that also has benefits to our physical and mental health. No matter what type of puzzle there are many advantages to this hobby that allows us time to sit and be still in our hectic lives which eases our stress levels and promotes calmness and tranquillity. 

Puzzles can aid promote emotional wellness by granting us an opportunity to be more mindful and more relaxed by slowing down to focus on something that is both enjoyable and leaves us with a sense of accomplishment – a calming pastime in an uncertain world that can cause anxiety and a great pastime to enjoy during lockdown.

So what are the benefits of puzzle making and how can you use them to boost your mental and psychological abilities? Read on to discover more.

Improve your memory

Working with puzzles helps reinforce connections in our brain and also helps us to build new ones. This develops our mental strength, thinking speed and thought process. This benefits people regardless of their age. Younger people have brains that are elastic in regards to learning and can benefit from the stimulation, while older people can use them to improve recollection and cognitive ability, which can benefit us into old age.

Puzzles are great for improving short term memory through the process of remembering colours and shapes, and boost imagination and problem-solving skills thanks to the processes involved in picturing the completed image and determining how the pieces fit together.

Improve hand-eye coordination

One of the physical benefits to puzzles as a regular hobby is that picking up puzzle pieces and fitting them together is a repetitive fine motor activity that is excellent for improving hand-eye coordination in children and adults alike. For this reason, puzzles are often used in recovery therapy to help people build their strength and coordination. 

Train your mind

Puzzles challenge people to see things from different perspectives people and this can help train yourself to approach issues differently and find new solutions to problems. Even if an idea does not solve an issue that we face, puzzles promote out of the box thinking (pun intended) that will help to generate alternative approaches. Puzzles also utilise trial and error, encouraging the use of systematic approaches to problem-solving.

Boost your thought processes

Puzzles are a unique activity that requires us to consider both individual parts and the whole picture at the same time – requiring logic and ingenuity. Studies show that subjects such as geometry and arithmetic, which have practical applications in every aspect of daily life, require enhanced function which is achieved when the entire brain works in unison. Isolated parts, however, can focus on specific areas of any given scenario. 

Reduce stress

Quite simply, one of the joys of puzzles is that it is a quiet and peaceful hobby. It gives us a moment of stillness, allowing us to slow down and relax. Focusing on a specific task promotes mindfulness and calms the mind and body, and this can have positive benefits on your mood which promotes mental wellness. They are a great way to spend time productively during lockdown.

Develop attention to detail

Focusing on tiny details, colours, shapes, patterns and how things connect also impacts other areas of our lives and by regularly working on puzzles enables us to recognize details and patterns elsewhere in life – a valuable skill.

Increase productivity

Puzzles are useful as they allow us to practice setting goals but in a leisurely more relaxed way.

You can do this by perhaps setting up a puzzle and allocating a number of pieces to accomplish or a particular part of the picture to complete, and this helps to establish – and reach – achievable goals and break a bigger challenge into achievable milestones. This helps to foster a positive mindset that can dramatically improve productivity.

Boost your collaboration skills

Working on a puzzle with others is a wonderful way to collaborate and is great for boosting your communication skills. Doing puzzles as a shared activity is a fantastic way to work on a project together and to build connections and improve your teamworking abilities as you work towards a common goal.

Lara Edwards
Community Manager and Editor of Motiv8.Me Woman. A photographer, radio presenter, poet and spoken word performer, Lara recently graduated from university with a joint honours in History & Creative Writing.

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