1) A Chance to Escape the Digital World
In the age of smartphones, we often spend a lot of hours with our faces lit by the soft glow of screentime. Puzzles give us a much needed break from the digital world. In a time where so much is online, there’s something reassuringly simple about doing things with our hands.
And it seems we’re not alone. According to John Mercer, a lead analyst at Fung Global Retail: “British shoppers are showing a renewed appreciation of physical products.” We have a newfound appreciation of things we can touch and feel – of products that bring back memories of nostalgic childhood exploits – and the jigsaw puzzle is certainly high on the list.
2) Like a Workout, but Less Sweaty
Puzzles are a good mental workout as they make use of our visuospatial skills. To put simply, jigsaws are a right and left lobe kind of deal, as the left brain loves a challenge and the right brain is partial to a bit of bigger-picture perspective. The mental stimulation required helps with the production of dopamine which works to control our moods as well as helping with memory.
For little ones, puzzles can help develop cognitive skills like shape recognition, problem solving and memory. Research has also credited jigsaw puzzles as a way to decrease the chance an elderly person will develop Alzheimer’s, memory loss or dementia. This improved brain function can help give you a clarity of mind that stays with you long after you’ve slotted in the final piece.
3) A Sense of Achievement
In our world of constant striving, it’s easy to feel like we’re facing an endless abyss of potential opportunities. Puzzles give us a manageable task to complete in an enjoyable way, providing a much needed sense of achievement. A puzzle wants only one thing from you: to be completed. You know, that little buzz; that happy place you get to when you finish a puzzle? Well that sense of achievement is so important for our self-esteem and mental well-being – and yes, getting it from completing a jigsaw is just as valid as handing in a big project or renewing our car insurance!
4) A Chance to Relax
In our fast-paced, tech-filled lives, jigsaw puzzles are a way to focus our minds and nurture a sense of calm. There’s a special sort of silence associated with doing a puzzle. It’s a quiet hum. Something like the noise we’d imagine a brain making if we could hear it whirring. The concentration required for jigsaw puzzles is sometimes described as ‘meditative’, helping us tackle anxiety and stress.
5) Pay Attention
There’s a whole cornucopia of studies out there about how our attention spans are going down the pan. But puzzles, they allow us to really immerse ourselves in the task. Find those edge pieces! Does that bit go there? What does the box look like again? Puzzles flex our creative muscles, meaning that they can actually help nurture and develop our creativity. As well as building on our short-term memory (as we need to keep track of all the pieces and where they could fit), it also helps stretch your ‘bigger picture’ thinking, which is used to help fuel your imagination.
6) A Health Kick for your Hands
From little, growing hands that need practice holding things, or older, more distinguished hands that have seen the world, and everything in between, puzzles can help give our fingers a gentle workout. For kids, puzzles can help develop hand-eye coordination, gross motor skills and fine motor skills. For older puzzlers, the gentle movements can ease arthritis and help with dexterity issues. And for big kids like us, forget the gym; we’re counting it as exercise!
So there we have it! Puzzles are a timeless classic. They appeal to all ages, are relatively inexpensive and can help hone your cognitive abilities – what’s not to love? Take a look at our selection of jigsaw puzzles online and in stores.