There are mental health benefits in playing a jigsaw puzzle than seeing a psychologist.

Do you want to raise your IQ? Difficulty remembering where you parked your car? You suck at the dance class? Trouble with route navigation when driving? Reading the map? Let’s play a real tangible game that its benefits will surprise you! This game is away from the phone and surely, the internet. Moments away from the screens and technological devices is vital to both physical and mental health. You do like jigsaw, right? Jigsaw puzzles is the workout for your brain, the left side and the right side. The bigger, the better, the harder, and the more fun!

Related media: 10 Expert-Level Tips For Doing A Jigsaw Puzzle


Whence Cometh Jigsaw?

The jigsaw puzzle dates back to the 1760s, when a British cartographer and engraver, John Spilsbury was credited for inventing the jigsaw puzzle. He made the ‘Dissected Maps’ for educational purposes. Jigsaw is a tiling puzzle that requires the assembling of often oddly shaped interlocking and mosaicked pieces to produce a complete picture. During the Great Depression in the 1930s, jigsaw became popular for being a cheap, long-lasting, recyclable form of entertainment.


The Jigsawing Benefits

Jigsaw puzzle is beneficial to both adults and children. It helps children develop fine motor skills which could enable them learn to write, read, draw, and learn to play instruments faster and with ease. (It is advisable to get larger pieces for children and younger children should be supervised when playing).

Playing jigsaw helps with the development of decision making skills for it is a game that requires determination, attention and consistency. It improves your short-term memory and mental speed by strengthening connections between brain cells. It challenges you to solve a problem that is solvable, and sometimes difficult to crack for the very first time.

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Jigsaw puzzles game is the one-stop shop to fix any visual-spatial reasoning disorder. Regular fitting of jigsaw puzzles will improve your visual-spatial reasoning and awareness because the game requires you to identify pieces, figure out where they fit best, and fit it rightly. Visual-spatial reasoning and awareness is the ability to visualize, imagine or do what the brain pictures and determine the position of objects, their shapes, their spatial relations to one another and the movement they make to form new spatial relations.

Battling with depression or stress? Did your doctor recommend an aquarium but you cannot afford? Don’t worry, jigsaw puzzle got you. You may opt for fishes design, or any other you fancy … garden, holiday decoration, geographical maps, wide life or your favorite animal, island, building, mountains, castles, or puzzle without a picture to make your own design — creativity.


O Jiggy! That’s What I Saw

Looking at beautiful stuff — what you see to be beautiful — is an effective to relieve stress. Admiring a completed fitted puzzle adds extra euphoria because you made what was broken and scattered whole and beautiful. Working on fitting the puzzle or admiring it afterwards is a great way to meditate. You focus on one time without other things coming into your mind. That is serenity, and added advantages include improved good mood, positive energy, alertness, attentiveness, lowering of blood pressure, and a sense of fulfillment and achievement. The delight of fitting the last piece is indescribable, making you more confident.

Persons who frequently play jigsaw and crossword puzzles, studies have shown, have reduced risk of developing dementia, memory loss or Alzheimer’s diseases. Jigsaw is ideal for that individual who wants to be alone to enjoy some solitude. Here, the fewer the merrier, especially with attentiveness and concentration. Jigsaw is equally perfect for the family and friends who want to connect. Two heads are better than one. Parents who are trying to have a conversation with their teens can start by inviting them (teenager or any children) to play the game together.


I Learn; Therefore I Can Play

Image: Shutterstock / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Jigsaw is a game of principle and honor. It teaches you about life – patience, determination and consistency. It teaches that ‘you-may-fit-but-do-not-belong-there.’ A piece may fit almost perfectly somewhere but does not belong there. Jigsaw teaches you to relax sometimes, take a break, and continue later.

The bigger whole picture is always needed in jigsaw puzzle, especially when stuck. Your bigger picture could be your parents, mentor, books, Torah, Quran, Bible, God, or any bigger picture you depend on for hope and motivation. Play hard, but know when to take a break. Relax, persist, fit rightly and not just fit anywhere, and ask for help when you need to. Too much of everything is bad. It is important to take breaks fitting jigsaw puzzles, no just when you are stuck. Obsession of jigsaw is possible and equally dangerous leading to addiction. 

Many autism awareness societies and organizations’ logos and promotional materials uses jigsaw puzzle pieces to represent the ‘puzzling’ nature of autism and the inability to ‘fit in’ and ‘incomplete’ due to social differences. Other proponents think otherwise that it evokes negative perceptions towards people with autism.

Give us feedback on your journey with jigsaw. Tag or mention us on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with your jigsaw journey scattered pieces, half way through, completed.


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Written by: Adjoa Manu, Wed, Aug 19, 2020.


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