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Mental Health Benefits of Jigsaw Puzzles

Mental Health Benefits of Jigsaw Puzzles
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Jigsaws aren’t just a fun family pastime – completing them generates an array of benefits, both mentally and physically:

  • Improves problem solving skills: There is one task when puzzling – to join the pieces up to create the image. Although there are many different options, there is only one correct solution which motivates all to see the challenge through.
  • Meditative benefits: Completing a jigsaw has a similar affect to meditation as it generates a sense of calmness and peace. Because our minds are focused, we find ourselves concentrating on the puzzle alone, which empties our brains of the stresses and anxieties we face every day. Puzzling reduces stress by occupying and engaging the mind to create a sense of calm and serenity (SPBH.org, 2017). As a puzzle is pieced together, external worries and stress decreases as the mind focuses on an activity that is both meditative and satisfying.
  • Improves your attention: Jigsaw puzzles are known for the addictive affect they have on those who try to complete them. Once you start, you simply can’t stop! The varying colours, shapes and sizes of the pieces hold the attention of even the most impatient of people.
  • Harnesses brain power: completing a jigsaw works both sides of your brain, the left hand-side that thinks logically and the right, the creative, intuitive, and emotional side. So, when you piece together a jigsaw puzzle, you harness both brainpowers.
  • Fine motor skills: Jigsaw puzzles are fantastic for improving fine motor skills which is why they are often completed by toddlers and young children. Yet this is still relevant for adults as the small pieces require people to work carefully to slot the pieces together.
  • Memory improvement: Jigsaws have been proven to sharpen our memories as puzzlers must remember where a certain piece fits within the wider picture, which can be tricky if you have had a break for a week or two. Completing a jigsaw puzzle not only reduces the risk of developing dementia but is also beneficial for those who have already been diagnosed with the disease. The charity, Unforgettable Foundation, report that in a Cochrane Review of different studies, scientists looked at 718 men and women with mild to moderate Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia. The results revealed that mental stimulation such as completing a jigsaw, improved scores on memory and thinking tests, which is the equivalent to a 6-9 month delay in worsening of symptoms. Some of the studies also found that those living with dementia who engaged in such activities had increased feelings of well-being and a better quality of life, including improved communication and interactions with those around them.
  • Perseverance and resilience: Jigsaw puzzles are hard to complete and the satisfaction one feels after slotting in the final piece of a frustrating jigsaw is second to none. Completing a jigsaw requires persistence and is an important lesson for all ages.
  • Traditional fun: In 2021, we are swamped by technology and there are now very few hobbies that don’t require an app, TV or element of digital technology to enhance them. Completing a jigsaw puzzle is a fun and entertaining pastime that is enjoyed without any kind of electronic involvement. It can completely segregate you from the digital world which, in a world dominated by tweets, trends and stories, can be essential to our mental well-being.
  • Social skills: Completing a jigsaw with a friend or family member promotes discussion and interaction as teamwork is essential for finishing a tricky puzzle!
  • Independence: Completing a jigsaw puzzle is also a fantastic solo pastime, especially for those who live alone. The hobby is so absorbing that hours can whizz by without you realising!

At Gibsons, we pride ourselves on entertaining generations, which means we have a jigsaw puzzle for just about anyone, no matter your age, gender, or ability. If you or someone you know is looking to improve any of the above aspects of mental health, then we might just have what you are looking for.

Our Piecing Together range is targeted at adults living with dementia as the extra-large pieces are easy to handle and the images are great for reminiscence and sparking conversations.

Our Little Gibsons range is perfect for improving children’s hand-eye coordination and to start developing their memory. The puzzles are available in as little as two pieces, so children as young as three can start to develop these skills.

With the recent wave of young adults wanting to take a digital detox and refrain from using their devices, puzzling is becoming a popular pastime as (it is) an excellent way to relieve stress and focus on the present moment. Our White Logo Collection is perfect for the new wave of puzzlers who are looking for more contemporary designs rather than traditional puzzle scenes.

If you would like to read some examples of how jigsaw puzzles have benefitted people mentally during the Coronavirus pandemic, then please click here.  

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