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Jigsaws, Brain Fitness and the Healing Power of Puzzles

Alice In Wonderland Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle

Jigsaws have been around since the 1700's. And ever since, people have grown to love the mental stimulation that solving a good puzzle provides. But did you know that mental stimulation of this kind is actually fundamental to your wellbeing?

In fact, a good mental workout is as important to the mind as exercise is to your physical health. As such, jigsaw puzzles can help you to develop all-important brain fitness.

Here comes the science bit…

After decades of research, scientists agree that the brain benefits of puzzles come from two main things. The first is that when you are solving a puzzle the brain produces dopamine – a chemical that helps with learning and memory. And the second is that solving a jigsaw puzzle causes you to use both sides of the brain simultaneously.

To illustrate the second point: the left side of the brain is the analytical side, and is the side used to separate and sort all the pieces of a jigsaw in a logical fashion. Conversely, the right side of the brain is the creative side, and it is used for seeing the individual jigsaw pieces as part of the same whole.

Exposing the brain to both types of mental stimulation simultaneously helps to create 'connections' between the left and right side of the brain. These connections are fundamental to developing brain fitness, which produces several long-term benefits.

Although the brain benefits of puzzles would apply to anyone, the effects are most profound in the developing brain of a child. Below you will find an outline of the three core brain benefits that solving jigsaw puzzles provide:

Physical skills – Completing a jigsaw helps to develop hand-eye coordination, as the brain gains an understanding between what your eyes see and what your hands are doing. In addition, jigsaws can help develop fine motor skills, which can help with handwriting and typing.

Cognitive skills – Simple jigsaw puzzles built from triangles, squares and circles can help young children with shape recognition. Meanwhile, the problem solving involved in completing a jigsaw puzzle can help develop better skills in critical thinking and memory formation.

Emotional skills – Jigsaw puzzles help you learn about setting goals and forming strategies to complete those goals. In addition, jigsaw puzzles help instil the value of patience when attempting to achieve goals.

It has been widely accepted for some time that living a healthy lifestyle can help fight mental decline and slow the development of illnesses.

Now, however, a research team at the University of Toronto have revealed that any approach to a healthy lifestyle should extend to treating the mind as a muscle too. Moreover, the Canadian University's research revealed that regularly completing puzzles such as jigsaws can help combat the onset of mental illness such as Alzheimer's.

It would seem that jigsaw puzzles can play an important part in developing brain fitness and encouraging mental well-being. Wentworth Puzzles stock thousands of wooden jigsaws, suitable for all ages and abilities. To start browsing our varied and stimulating collections now, click here. 

PinkLining.com will be launching a competition running from the 9th to the 12th of January where you can win a gorgeous Wentworth wooden puzzle- head over to their website to find out more.