And the research says…….
I am a huge fan of mental wellness and have done jigsaw puzzles throughout my life. During my own life span, I too have needed to find ways to destress, unwind and relax.
And there was not always endless hours or space to do jigsaw puzzles so I had to find other ways. During my research I have discovered the following information on how our brain works and how it applies to working jigsaw puzzles…..it’s interesting….ok, so check this out……
Our mind has two separate hemispheres or lobes called right and left-brain which you have probably already heard of this. Each side does different functions.
The Right side brain deals with emotions and performs tasks like mental and social factors. The Left side brain functions in language and movements.
Using both the sides of the brain is like the ‘non-food flexing’ brain exercise and jigsaw puzzling helps you to exercise BOTH the sides of your brain.
Here’s briefly how it works (I’ve been ‘schooled’ on this).
The left brain does the thinking, likes to make the lists and be organized.
The right brain takes care of the creativity and emotions.
Now look at the jigsaw puzzle - the left brain likes to organize the loose pieces into their respective positions and the right brain sees the creativity of the puzzle image unfold right in front of our eyes, caressing our emotions with enthusiasm and a sense of achievement and accomplishment.
You will not notice your left and right brain cells actively working together at the same time but the continuous activity of thoughts in the brain that involves ALL the cells of the brain actually increases the brain's capacity and efficiency (so the Experts say).
Research and studies are constantly being produced showing how doing jigsaw puzzles (for the brain) and maintaining a fully active lifestyle (for the body) may gain you a longer lifespan and reduce or delay future long term old age problems such as Alzheimer’s, memory loss and/or dementia.
Now this is important! Our brain produces dopamine which gives us the capacity to learn and maintain our memory level. That said, while solving a jigsaw puzzle the brain increases the production of dopamine - it’s like watering your own brain seeds….the jigsaw puzzle being the ‘water’ and the brain cells being the ‘seeds’.
And there’s more benefits! First, talk about increasing our concentration or keeping us alert! BUT - don’t forget the visualization.
Doing the constant focus of the next piece to create the bigger picture provides us with a high level of mental activity which in turn rewards us in the form of physical health by lowering our breathing, reducing our heart rate and decreasing our blood pressure - which is kind of a form of meditation in itself.
You can reap these benefits by doing jigsaw puzzles on a daily basis even if it is for only a half hour. It will give your brain a well deserved break from the chaos spinning in your mind/life. It will help increase and/or maintain your memory levels, it will improve how your brain functions and will assist in decreasing your daily stress levels.
Like meditation, it takes some time to recognize the changes in how you feel by doing jigsaw puzzles but in my opinion, not as long as meditation does. That’s why I like ‘quick-fix’ jigsaw puzzles.
And lastly, here’s my tip to you……DO BOTH!……a daily solid half hour of meditation and another daily solid half hour of jigsaw puzzling is THE best NATURAL solution that has proved to provide THE most positive results for me…….
*******(noting the Disclaimer here - I am not a Doctor…..this is based on information gathering….. only YOU can prove it to work for yourself).
ps….the jigsaw puzzling usually does not end in a half hour.....just sayin'......
So assembling jigsaw puzzles is doing wonders for our mental health and wellness. I am a firm believer in the mind-body connection and I believe the information I have discovered in my research to be extremely helpful to me......I hope you consider it for yourself and pay it forward to others.
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