Playing jigsaw puzzles is one way to escape the stress and fast-pacing reality of the real world.
As you all know, there’s a lot of “benefit of jigsaw puzzles” articles that you can read across the internet.
Most of them are backed up with scientific pieces of evidence which give us true confidence about it.
As one of the members of the health professionals myself, I will also share first-hand insight into what benefits of jigsaw puzzles I have experienced.
Here are the 10 benefits of jigsaw puzzles according to a health professional’s first-hand experience:
- Increases focus and concentration
- Speeds up problem-solving skills
- Relieves stress and mild anxiety
- Improves decision-making skills
- Enhances soft skills
- Lengthens attention span
- Relieves eye strains from blue light
- Reconnects one’s inner self
- Improves spatial reasoning
- Boosts creativity and imagination
1. INCREASES FOCUS AND CONCENTRATION
Focus and concentration are hard to do these days. One of the main reason is our increased exposure to social media.
Most often than not, we tend to check our phones for frequent notifications to our social media accounts while we are trying to study or doing our work.
I, too, am a victim of social media distractions, and then one day, I realized that I should take full control of my actions.
And so, I tried to do 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzles immediately for I foolishly thought it was “easy”.
Of course, I wasn’t able to finish it all in one sitting, but the thing is, I happen to notice that I have increased my focus and concentration in my work after several days of playing with it.
This benefit is backed up by the study of Siti, Kholifah and Nurilla, Kholida and Ely, Rahmantika Nugrahani and Amalia, Kusumaningsih in 2018.
In their study, they wanted to see if patients with mental retardation could improve their concentration by play therapy using jigsaw puzzles. It turned out to be good!
You may want to check this study out by clicking this link for more information: Effect of Play Therapy With Puzzle On The Level Concentrations of Mental Retardation Children In SLB C Ruhui Rahayu Samarinda
You see, rewiring our brain to stimulate our concentration can really be done using this game. Amazing isn’t?
PLUS POINTS TO JIGSAW PUZZLES!!!
2. SPEEDS UP PROBLEM-SOLVING SKILLS
As the name of the game implies, it is jigsaw “puzzles“. We all know that puzzles are created not only to kill some spare time, and to bring entertainment in a boring situation we are in, but also to tease the cognitive part of our brain.
You see, problem-solving skill is an inborn talent that all of us have. This is true, based on our human history of survival.
During the time of our ancestors, they need to live on every single day.
They need to learn how they will build fire, how they will hunt for food, how they will survive if there is a lion that will like to eat them, and many more.
The main catch for that is not all of us have the chance to speed up that skills especially nowadays where all information can easily be get through one tap or one click on our mobile phones or computers.
We tend to use technology as much as we could rather than rely on our inborn problem-solving skills talent.
Luckily, we can go back again and exercise this talent by playing jigsaw puzzles from time to time.
When I started playing my 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle, one of the main problems I needed to solve was “how on earth I will finish this?”
Funny as it may sound but I am pretty serious as to how will I do it alone? HAHA!
Well, fortunately, my problem-thinking skills had been activated in that time of “danger and need”.
I have come up with an idea to arrange all the possible ways and steps to organize my plans in finishing this one. So far, I think I am doing a good job.
3. RELIEVES STRESS AND MILD ANXIETY
The hustle and bustle of the surroundings make our minds noisy most of the time, right?
We keep on thinking of our “what if’s” and other daily life dilemmas. It keeps on using up our brainpower which is why we feel down at times.
I’m also like you, Puzzlers.
My nature of work tends to eat up my brain energy leading to stress and sometimes activating my anxiety when things get bad. To make the noise stop in my head, sometimes I do yoga and play jigsaw puzzles.
When I play jigsaw puzzles, the noise inside my head just stops.
Peace and quiet are all that I can feel. Maybe you think I am exaggerating things up in this one but no.
In fact, there was a study in 2019 that used jigsaw puzzle therapy and pet therapy to see if it will both reduce the anxiety levels of the patients. It turned out that both of them are effective!
Well, even both therapies are effective pet therapy is said to have greater effects than playing jigsaw puzzles.
For me, there are pros and cons to that.
The pros of having a pet are you can interact with a living creature while playing jigsaw puzzles don’t. On the other hand, playing jigsaw puzzles is indeed cheaper than having a pet, right? Well, the bottom line is still they are beneficial in reducing anxiety levels. Here is the link for this study that you may want to check on: The Effect of a Pet Therapy and Comparison Intervention on Anxiety in Hospitalized Children
Are you now having the urge to play one to experience this peacefulness I have experienced? Go on! Do it! I will wait for your story to share!
4. IMPROVES DECISION-MAKING SKILLS
I did my 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle alone in my room.
All I have is myself to finish it and with that simple scenario, I began to use and improve my decision-making skills by choosing which side to do first, which piece should match the other one, which strategy should I use to speed up my game, and more.
Making decisions is our daily task.
From the time we decided to wake up and make our bed to the food that we want to eat at lunch and to which transportation vehicle we wanted to ride home and more.
The decision-making tasks are endless and sometimes it is tiring that we often not weigh in things anymore and just decide right then and there. After which, consequences are right before our eyes that we need to deal with if it is not in our favor.
The same goes for jigsaw puzzles.
A study in 2020, about a mobile jigsaw puzzle game, states that the mobile game does improve the decision-making skills of the participants. Here is the link for more information: Potential Effects of Mobile Jigsaw II Activities on Teamwork, Language Performance and Language Anxiety
Playing jigsaw puzzles for children makes their brains make up decisions on their own and learn how to face consequences smoothly when the pieces didn’t match.
This is not only applicable to children because it can also be applicable to adults especially for patients with Alzheimer’s disease as studied by this link: Weaving the Non-pharmacological Alzheimer’s Disease Therapy into Mobile Personalized Digital Memory Book Application
How fascinating is that!
5. ENHANCES SOFT SKILLS
Attitude, personality, flexibility, and motivation are some of the soft skill that I happen to improve while playing jigsaw puzzles.
Why? Because doing one makes you more of a humble person.
What I mean is, it’ll make you connect with your “soft” side as a person is doing an innocent game.
Well, there are no cheats and other ways to finish jigsaw puzzles, right?
The only thing that you need to do is to give it your best shot to make all pieces match. That’s it.
I learned that forcing things that are not right (forcing jigsaw puzzle piece that don’t match) will not give you the best results, same goes if we apply it figuratively in life.
6. LENGTHENS ATTENTION SPAN
This is the far most realistic benefit I have ever experienced, Puzzlers!
You know what, I have spent 5 straight hours on my first day doing my 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle!
To be honest, I didn’t realize that I can stay on a game for that long for my attention is not that strong too!
This one gave me a solid proof that I can still stand a long time doing something without any distractions at all. I am quite amazed by this.
7. RELIEVES EYES STRAINS FROM BLUE LIGHT
For me, this is the best thing I have enjoyed doing jigsaw puzzles.
Every single day, our eyes are exposed to gadgets and it hurts our eyes too much.
Doing jigsaw puzzles somehow relaxes my strained eyes from blue light exposure. To be honest, my headache from eye strain are fewer now than before.
Looking on real things with a good source of light made my eyes feel soft and smooth.
You see while doing jigsaw puzzles, you need to use a good amount of lighting in our “jigsaw puzzle room” for the obvious reason, of course. You need the right amount of light on your jigsaw puzzle pieces and not directly on your eyes.
This change of lighting exposure and focus is obviously the reason why our eyes will have a breather on straight light source.
8. RECONNECTS ONE’S INNER SELF
They say, we have two versions of ourselves. Our outer self, to which every person around us knew, and our inner self, to which we are the only ones knew about.
Most of the time, because of our busy life schedules, we tend to disconnect to our inner self.
Neglecting this part of ours puts us in a difficult situation.
Why? Because it is the only part of ourselves where we anchor our life. What I mean is, this is the “truest” version of ourselves where our life values, morals, and beliefs are found.
"Our inner self is our life's oasis. "
When we disconnect to our inner self, we are lost.
We don’t know exactly what are we doing. We are like a boat freely floating on the ocean without direction.
Having some quality time with our inner self is essential in our existence.
We can have our “self dates” or “me time” from time to time too. As for me, I usually do it when I go shopping all by myself, doing yoga, and playing puzzles alone at home.
Aside from the increase focus, concentration, and attention span it gives me, this also bridge my outer self with my inner self.
I have come to think through the things I have done, I have felt, and more. It is like having a deep conversation in my inner me, my conscience.
I know I am being too critical in explaining this one to you, Puzzlers, but having this alone time with ourselves makes us feel more alive and present in the moment.
It is more of a psychological communication thingy of some sort. I think it is better if you experience it for yourself too for you to understand what am I talking about.
The key is, embracing quietness and boredom with additional activation of the focus will open the gates of our inner thoughts for in-depth self-connection.
9. IMPROVES SPATIAL REASONING
While playing my 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle, I realized that I am doing some self-bargaining.
What I mean is, I am trying to convince myself to put this piece on instead of the other one for various reasons.
I noticed that I feel like I am giving myself some options to this and that to make myself agree that this is correct and that is not for these “reasons”.
At first I thought I am getting crazy for starting a 1,000-piece alone that ends up talking and convincing myself one way or the other, but the thing is I am not crazy! (Oh! What a relief that I am not!)
This is one of the benefits of doing puzzles as stated in a study on “Developing spatial visualization and mental rotation with a digital puzzle game at primary school level“.
The reasoning is a part of our thinking skills to make things more sensible in a logical manner.
It is stating the possibilities of several outcomes depending on which “reasons” or “causes” you are in. Meaning, playing jigsaw puzzles helps us connect the dots of different information we have in our heads!
How cool is that!
Maybe that is why some of us are good at making up “reasons” not to go to schools when we are young. Just kidding! HAHAHA
10. BOOSTS CREATIVITY AND IMAGINATION
As the word of it implies, the root word of creativity is “create”, and the root word of imagination is “image”. With that, we can apply literally apply it to our favorite jigsaw puzzle game!
In a jigsaw puzzle, we tend to “create” bits by bits all the broken “image” into one piece. It literally boosts our creativity and imagination as to what to expect and what to see when we match it piece per piece.
As for my experience, I have created my expected image in my mind as I was doing it along the way. I carefully check if the color matched correctly, if the shape fits perfectly, and if the image is somehow similar to that of the box.
You see I am not an artistic person. I am more on a logical type of person that is why I am more inclined in science related stuff than arts but playing jigsaw puzzles somehow awakens my “artistic side” a bit.
And it makes me happy that I somehow be able to connect my logical and artistic side in one game.
Small joys bring full package satisfaction, you know.
DISCLAIMER!!! The lists of benefits in this article are all my PERSONAL experiences to which some of them are already backed up with scientific studies while some are not. You may or may not want to consider all of these but all of the things I stated are all 100% honest and true based on my FIRST HAND EXPERIENCE as a member of health professional.
The benefits of doing jigsaw puzzles all boils down to the rewiring of some circuits inside our brain making it more healthy and relaxed.
These can be seen in the following benefits I have mentioned above to which some are my personal proofs that are backed up with scientific studies.
Making our brain healthy is more important more than ever especially in our present times where technology is mostly eating our precious time just by endlessly scrolling all day long.
If we do physical exercise by going to the gym and all, our brain should do as well. Mental exercise using games, such as jigsaw puzzles, is one way to de-stress, reset, and strengthen our brain to make it more fit and healthy.
Why don’t you try to play alone or with others and share what are your personal experiences too? I would gladly read all of your stories in the comment section below. Hope to hear from you soon!