Why Are Jigsaws Relaxing?
Why are Jigsaws relaxing?
Jigsaws are a popular pastime for all ages. From the simple peg puzzles, we give to toddlers to 3500 piece monsters that will take over the kitchen table for weeks, jigsaws all have something in common. They can’t be done badly. Completing a jigsaw can take time but you can’t get it wrong which is appealing to all ages.
The positive effects of joining both sides of the brain
Completing a jigsaw requires the left and right-hand sides of your brain to work together. We need both sides of our brain to work together to build the neural pathways that make focus and recall easier and better. Improving “whole-brain synchronisation” has also been seen to positive effects on mental health and the good news is these effects are cumulative over time and can be achieved by both children and adults.
Mindfulness and relaxation through jigsaws
Mindfulness is a bit of a buzzword at the moment. Practising mindfulness in schools has been shown to have benefits to both learning and behaviour, and there are plenty of studies to show the benefits for adults too.
Mindfulness is the practice of purposefully focusing your attention on the present and accepting it without judgement. Completing jigsaw puzzles or other activities such as colouring in, provide a distraction for the mind and a way to focus on the present moment.
Completeing jigsaw puzzles is an absorbing task, so much so that you can lose hours to it and completely forget anything else that was troubling you. And it is this meditative effect that makes puzzles so good for relaxation. It’s interesting that one of the reasons meditation has so many benefits is that it causes both sides of the brain to work together just like a jigsaw.
A calming sense of control
Focusing on a puzzle calms the brain. Focussing in this way, on a challenge with only one solution where you have pieces in front of you can give a sense of control and act as a great way to relieve stress and anxiety. As you slowly complete the puzzle you are bringing order to the chaos which can have a calming and uplifting effect on the mind.
But the challenge can also help to develop patience and resilience. You won’t always get it the right first time and it might take many attempts to find the right piece and get it the correct way round so it fits. But, as already mentioned, it might be slow progress but you can’t get it wrong, meaning anyone can complete a puzzle with a bit of perseverance. A great life skill to learn.
Completing a puzzle, whether you are young or old also brings with it a sense of achievement. Puzzles are a great way to build self-confidence in children as they feel the sense of pride they get from fitting the last piece into the puzzle.
Puzzles are also great as they can be either a solo or social activity. They are a great way to zone out and have a bit of quiet time but they can also be a family or social activity, bringing people together to connect. If you’re looking for puzzles for kids here are some of the best jigsaws for young children.