It’s no secret that puzzling is our favorite pastime. It’s a fun way to spend an afternoon and can even be very relaxing. But aside from the pure joy we get from placing that final piece, another great thing about working on a puzzle is the brain benefits.
Although our brains are fully developed by the time we reach our mid-20s, they’re constantly changing as we grow older. Fortunately, there are things we can do to keep our brains young and sharp. And one of those things happens to be doing puzzles!
3 Brain Benefits of Puzzling
Works Both Sides of the Brain
Our brains are composed of two hemispheres: the right brain, and the left brain. The right brain is associated with creativity. People that are right-brain dominant are typically more imaginative, visual, and intuitive. The left brain, on the other hand, is associated with logic. People with a more dominant left brain tend to be more analytical, linear thinkers.
Many tasks we do in our day-to-day lives are more one-sided when it comes to engaging our brains. Reading, paying the bills, or doing a crossword are activities that focus almost exclusively on the left brain. Whereas watching a movie, listening to music, or cooking tend to engage your right brain.
Puzzling, however, engages both sides of your brain. The left brain uses its logical tendencies to focus on patterns and sequences in order to piece together the individual parts. The creative right brain is satiated by the colors, shapes, and holistic “big picture” of the completed puzzle.
If we’re regularly doing activities that only engage one side of our brain, we can create an imbalance. But when we incorporate activities that stimulate both sides of the brain, like puzzles, into our daily lives we can experience better focus, improved mental health, and overall brain function.
Increases Natural Dopamine Production
Dopamine is a chemical neurotransmitter that helps our brains correspond with the rest of our body. In particular, dopamine can help to improve motor skills, enhance concentration, and increase optimism and confidence. Dopamine is also associated with reward-driven behavior.
Puzzles, in and of themselves, are rewards. We all feel a sense of accomplishment when we complete a difficult puzzle. As we work on a puzzle, our levels of dopamine increase, which raises our motivation to complete the puzzle and “claim” our reward. Regularly tackling puzzles can help to increase your body’s production of dopamine, allowing you to reap the benefits!
Improves Our Memories
Wouldn’t we all love to be a little less forgetful? With regular puzzling, we can be!
As we work through a puzzle, it fortifies the connections between our brain cells that can help to improve our processing speed and overall thought process. Puzzles are particularly beneficial to our short-term memory, since we’re constantly having to recall specific shapes and colors in an effort to complete the puzzle.
Whether your young child is taking on their very first puzzle, or you’re a seasoned puzzler in search of your next challenge, anyone can experience the various brain benefits of working through and completing a puzzle.
If you’re eager to keep your mind young, crack open a puzzle and get to work! The more puzzles you do, the more benefits you’ll see. Ready to get started? Shop our puzzles now!
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