Are puzzles good for you?, I mean puzzles are just a bit of fun, right? Yes, puzzles are fun but they have many benefits beyond, some of which you may find quite surprising.
Puzzles Are Good For The Brain
Puzzles are very good for the brain and have lots of cognitive benefits.
Loosely speaking the main section of the brain is split into two parts, the left (functions include logic and analysis) and the right (functions include creativity and intuition). Trying to solve puzzles involves both sides of your brain working together, giving your brain a workout and helping to promote the growth of new nerve cells.
Improves short-term memory
Puzzles often involve you having to scan and memorise numbers, colours, facts, etc. Jigsaw puzzles and Sudoku are good examples of this. This again reinforces connections between brain cells and sharpens our minds and memory.
Stress Relief and Mental Health
When we get fully immersed into completing a puzzle we begin to forget what else is going on in our lives, our focus is on our goal of completing the puzzle. Hours can go by without us even realising and we feel much calmer. When we make progress or complete the puzzle we feel great, we have accomplished our goal. Our brains are also busy releasing dopamine, a lack of dopamine has been linked to various mental health problems and obesity.
Sometimes conversation can be awkward if you do not know someone well or perhaps you have just ran out of things to say. Completing a puzzle with someone encourages conversation and interaction whilst working as a team.
Problem Solving Skills
In order to solve a puzzle we have to gather a multitude of information and process many different possibilities. We mentally analyse a great deal of information without realising it and put it all together to find the solution. Improving our problem solving skills through puzzles will help us to carry out the same process in everyday life and solve problems more easily.
Studies from the University of Michigan concluded that just 25 minutes a day solving puzzles can increase your IQ by 4 points.
Attention Span and Concentration
Once you start a puzzle it is hard to stop before you complete it, even if it takes you hours. Doing puzzles regularly will improve your ability to naturally concentrate on a task in hand and work through it more thoroughly.
Independence and resilience
Puzzles are a fantastic solo task when you are alone, as time just flies by. There is a great sense of achievement when you reach your goal. This sense of achievement helps encourage the mindset to keep going and accomplish other goals you have.
If you have children then puzzles are a great and beneficial way to keep them occupied and increase their sense of independence, with the added benefit that you get a little time to yourself and a chance to partake in your own puzzles!
Eye for detail
Puzzles are meant to be tricky and complicated and the key to solving them is often the attention to detail. We learn to take everything in and analyse our findings. A great skill to use in many other parts of our lives.
Yes, puzzles are good for us, they are good for our brain, concentration, productivity, stress management and can enhance numerous important skills, and unlike a lot of things that are good for us, they are FUN!
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