How Jigsaw Puzzles can improve your Mental Health
14th May 2018
Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year and in England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week (Mind.co.uk, 2018). Mental health problems can range anywhere from anxiety and depression, to PTSD and bipolar disorder, and worries about things like money, jobs and benefits can make it harder for people to cope.
Mental Health Awareness Week (14 to 20 May 2018) was established to educate and increase awareness about mental illness, and this year the focus is on stress and anxiety and what we can do to feel less overwhelmed.
Completing a jigsaw puzzle has many health benefits, including brain-training and hand-eye-coordination improvement, but it also 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.
A recent study by The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) declares that solving jigsaw puzzles is a “low-cost, intrinsically motivating, cognitive leisure activity”. The beauty of a jigsaw is that it can be an excellent solo activity but can also bring people together and combat loneliness when solved with in a group. Mind UK reports that loneliness and mental health are intrinsically linked, as having a mental health problem increases your chance of feeling lonely and feeling lonely can have a negative impact on your mental health (Mind.org, 2018).
Another mental health benefit that jigsaws provide is the separation from digital devices. Smart phones and social media has a huge impact on our mental health, with a 2017 study by The Royal Society of Public Health reporting that 7 in 10 participants felt that Instagram made them feel worse about body image and half of 14-24-year-olds reported Instagram and Facebook increased feelings of anxiety (BBC.co.uk, 2018). With these stats growing every year, people are recognising the importance of having a regular digital detox and dedicating time to take a mental break away from online pressures to refocus the mind. And jigsaws provide just that.
Solving a jigsaw works both of the brain’s hemispheres which enhances our ability to focus and successfully placing a puzzle piece to create the wider picture encourages the production of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that regulates mood and affects concentration, motivation, memory and motor control (Dr Newton, 2017). Piecing together a jigsaw is a great way to combat stress, but it is also beneficial for your physical health too. By refocusing the mind away from negative and stressful thoughts decreases your cortisol and blood pressure levels, making both your body and mind healthy (Dr Newton, 2017).
As an independent jigsaw puzzle and board game company, we are looking to encourage people to start puzzling during Mental Health Awareness Week, which is why we have teamed up with online jigsaw website, Jigsaw Puzzles Direct, and are holding a Half Price promotion from 14th-20th May 2018. Simply head over to www.jigsawpuzzlesdirect.co.uk and spend over £10 on Gibsons branded jigsaw puzzles to redeem your half price puzzle!
Mental Health Awareness Week is a great opportunity to open up and start a discussion about mental health. There are lots of ways you to get involved, head over to Mind’s website to find out more.
For further help, Rehab 4 Addiction offers a free hotline dedicated to helping people suffering from drug, alcohol and mental health problems. Rehab 4 Addiction was founded in 2011 by people who overcame drug and alcohol addiction themselves. You can contact Rehab 4 Addiction on 0800 140 4690.
• Offer ends 20th May 2018 at 11:59pm
• Offer only valid when a Gibsons branded jigsaw puzzle is ordered
• One half price puzzle can be purchased per person
• BBC Online - Is social media causing childhood depression? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-42705881
• Dr Newton’s Naturals - Why Puzzles are Good for Your Brain https://www.drnewtons.com/blog/why-puzzles-are-good-for-your-brain/
• Mind.org – Living with Loneliness https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/loneliness/#connect
• Mind.org – Mental Health Awareness Week: https://www.mind.org.uk/workplace/mental-health-awareness-week-2018/
• NCBI Study - Jigsaw Puzzles As Cognitive Enrichment Study https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5588550/?report=classic#Sec19title