7 benefits of doing jigsaw puzzles

benefits of doing jigsaw puzzles

The benefits of doing Jigsaw Puzzles go beyond simply spending some quality time performing a relaxing and harmless activity. Joining pieces to create and complete a bigger picture can seem inconsequential, but it hides deeper effects that can positively affect the lives of players in the short and long term. 

Get to know some of the benefits of doing jigsaw puzzles below and increase your repertoire of excuses to spend more time doing this pastime.

1. You exercise your mental skills

Doing jigsaw puzzles calls into action both the left and the right sides of the brain. While the first one is related to logical and methodical thinking, the second one is where creativity and imagination reside. 

The players need to be aware of the full picture, the colors and shapes it contains, and mentally imagine how the pattern of a certain piece might fit into it. They have to creatively think about how said pattern might alter or complete a portion of the jigsaw puzzle and if there is more than one position where it could go. Logical thinking is also involved in this process. Likewise, the player needs to be methodical, performing a sequence of trial and error movements, either physically or mentally, until they find the right placement for a piece.

2. Jigsaw puzzles make you happy

Doing jigsaw puzzles is a rewarding activity that triggers the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter often referred to as the “happy hormone”. 

This release comes in two stages. The first one happens during the process of assembling the puzzle. It is undeniably satisfying to find the right placement for a piece, especially if you were having trouble finding where it should go on the overall picture. 

The second and most powerful release of dopamine comes at the end of the task, hand in hand with the amazing sense of achievement that players feel when completing the jigsaw puzzle. 

3. It reduces stress levels

The benefits of doing jigsaw puzzles might not always be obvious, but any player will certainly recognize this one once they think about it. 

While focusing on the task at hand and engaging both the left and right sides of the brain at the same time, players enter a state similar to dreaming. Subconsciously, they are able to block distractions and all problems and sources of anxiety are put on hold for precious moments. 

This not only helps to reduce the overall stress levels that one might be feeling but also to clear the mind and reset the perspectives over a certain situation. Once you finish or pause your puzzle making, you might be able to look at troublesome thoughts in a new light and realize they are not as daunting as they first seemed. Maybe this new perspective can even help you find solutions that you were blinded to because of stress.

4. It improves concentration

The improvement of concentration is one of the benefits of doing jigsaw puzzles that most easily translate into daily life. It is almost impossible to solve a challenge absentmindedly unless it is notoriously too easy to the skills of the player.

Assembling a puzzle requires full concentration and the more you do them, the easier it will be to keep your focus for larger periods of time. This is one of the reasons why doing jigsaw puzzles is a very good activity for kids.

5. Improves visual-spatial skills

Jigsaw puzzles are often linked to higher degrees of intelligence due to the mental skills they involve and reinforce. Besides helping to improve creativity and logical reasoning, they also greatly engage and enhance visual-spatial reasoning. 

The puzzle itself comprises several small pieces, all with different patterns and shapes, containing only a fraction of the complete picture. The players need to analyze these pieces very carefully and then transpose this visual information to the bigger picture - where it might fit visually in it, where that piece’s space is located.

6. Improves short-term memory

Short-term memory refers to the ability to retain small amounts of information that is only necessary for the moment or for a short period of time. It is a type of working memory as it is intended for a practical and momentarily application, being completely erased afterward when the information is no longer valid or needed. For example, when you put down your pen and cannot remember where you placed it just mere seconds after, it means that that specific short-term memory was already wiped.

Although increasing the amount of information retained is not attainable, it is possible to train it so it can ignore data that is not useful at all and focus on what really matters. Jigsaw puzzles are an amazing way to do it.

Throughout the assembling process, you need to keep the overall image always in mind. While searching for a piece, you need to retain what kind of pattern and shape you are looking for or you will rummage through the pieces to no avail.

7. Your attention to detail gets better

Interpreting the pattern of loose pieces is only part of the process of assembling a jigsaw puzzle. Attention to detail is also fundamental. 

This includes, for example, noting that right at the edge of a connecting side of the piece there seems to be a change in the nuance of the color or traces of a different pattern altogether. These small details are the key to finding the right placement of the piece, even if you can already tell by its overall pattern where it might be located in the bigger picture.

The more jigsaw puzzles you do, the easier it will be to spot these minutiae. This enhanced skill will also spill over into your daily life and you will become more aware of the particularities that surround you.

As you can see, jigsaw puzzles may seem like a simple and straightforward fun activity, but they engage important mental skills and can even improve your overall well-being in more than one way. Just have fun assembling the pieces and collecting these benefits at the same time.