These days, many feel stressed with their fast-paced lifestyle. Perhaps your schedule is packed because of work, studies, or family commitments. Although it can be hard to do so, it’s crucial to find ways to relax and destress. “Relax” often makes people think of going to the spa or planning a vacation. However, these are often time-consuming and expensive, which might cause more stress later on (or cause them to simply not happen). So while there’s nothing wrong treating yourself to a good pampering session or a relaxing trip, it’s also good to find inexpensive and simple ways to destress. One activity that is effective is solving jigsaw puzzles.
To better understand how puzzles can help people unwind, read more about it below.
Chose Your Favourite Image
Long ago, jigsaw puzzles had limited designs and people had to settle with the image they liked the best. These days, it’s easy to get custom puzzles using pictures of whatever you want, such as your family, pets, or whatever it is that interests you (which is also a great way to get those photos off your computer and enjoy them!).
Solving a puzzle with an uninteresting image won’t exactly make anyone feel excited or willing to complete the puzzle. If it’s boring, then your to-do list may become more interesting than doing the puzzle and your attempts at relaxation will fail. And while you want the puzzle to be relaxing, you don’t want it to be too easy to solve, as then it becomes less interesting.
Finishing It Can Be Satisfying
Solving a puzzle is always satisfying, just like when you complete a task. When finishing a task, dopamine is released in the brain and can make a person feel happier. Solving a puzzle gives you that same hormone release. Plus, you have the satisfaction of having completed the puzzle—and bragging rights for doing so!
After solving the puzzles completely, they can be framed and displayed in your home, like one of the pieces of art from Pixels. This way, you could show it off and be proud of your hard work. My aunt and uncle had many Disney-themed puzzles on display in their summer condo, which they’d spent hours solving together and then framed and displayed.
Puzzles can also come with different difficulties. For instance, adult puzzles can have thousands of pieces, and kid’s puzzles have fewer and larger pieces. So one can always choose the level of difficulty appropriate for you. The harder the puzzle, the more satisfying it is when it’s finished because it took a lot of time, effort, and patience to solve.
There’s No Rush
As mentioned, more people live a fast-paced lifestyle these days, so it’s essential to take it slow from time to time. Jigsaw puzzles are great for this because there’s no deadline for when you need to have it finished (unless you have a toddler in the house who is going to destroy whatever you’ve put together as soon as you walk away from it). You can simply stop whenever you want and continue it in your next free time or when you feel like doing it. This way, you don’t have to buy a new puzzle whenever you feel like doing a puzzle.
If you don’t have a second table on which to work on puzzles (or can’t leave the puzzle out because of said toddler), then a puzzle mat is a great option. Simply unroll the puzzle mat before starting on the puzzle. When you need to take a break, gently roll the partially-completed puzzle into the mat. Next time you’re ready to work on the puzzle, unroll it again and continue where you left off. We’ve done this many a time.
Puzzles are a Fun Way of Exercising the Mind
Another reason why puzzles are relaxing is that they help exercise your mind without too much pressure. Puzzles are fun, unlike other activities that can wrack your brain at work or school. The challenge doesn’t require too much skill, aside from finding the right puzzle piece. However, even this simple task can tap into your mind more deeply. Through this activity, memory, creativity, and problem-solving can be improved. As a woman who has dementia in her family history, I do try to be aware of ways to exercise my mind and stay sharp.
Solving puzzles is also meditative because it requires silence, focus, and repetition of looking and examining pieces. This can drown out restless thoughts or anxious thoughts. If you aren’t too fond of just sitting and meditating, this activity might be more effective. This is because the puzzle gives you something else to focus on if you can’t empty your mind and just focus on your breathing.
If regularly done, people can start feeling the benefits of jigsaw puzzles as a meditative activity. It can specifically help people feel calmer by improving emotional control. It’s common for people who feel stressed and restless to feel irritable. So if you’re easily angered because of stress, meditating through puzzles could help manage all kinds of negative emotions. This way, you can react more appropriately and control how you interact with others and situations.
You may also want to work on your puzzle while listening to music or an audiobook. My kids have done puzzles together while I’ve read aloud to them. They don’t usually like to just sit still while I’m reading, so the puzzle gives them a quiet activity do enjoy while listening to the story. Thus puzzle-making and storytelling become a family activity that everyone can enjoy together.
Jigsaw puzzles are commonly used for preschool play kits because they can help kids develop their minds. But the benefits don’t have to stop after preschool because jigsaw puzzles are still effective for adults. Getting the right size level of difficulty would help challenge people no matter what age they are. It’s also fun, slow-paced, and meditative, which can be one of the most relaxing activities you could do at home.