18 Best Puzzles For Adults To Keep Your Brain Busy
Solving Jigsaw puzzles is a naturally motivating cognitive leisure activity. You can execute this low-cost activity either individually or with others. Furthermore, you do not have to make use of any digital devices to solve these puzzles.
Studies showcase that undertaking cognitively challenging activities is linked with reducing the risk of cognitive impairment in the future.
Accordingly, solving jigsaw puzzles is a cognitively challenging activity that involves certain cognitive functions. These include perception, processing speed, working memory, flexibility, reasoning, and episodic memory.
As compared to the other cognitive activities, Jigsaw Puzzling is a low-cost, cognitive leisure activity that encompasses a lot of positive outcomes.
These positive outcomes include enhancing visuospatial cognition, everyday functioning, and psychological outcomes.
In other words, lifelong jigsaw puzzling experiences may contribute towards delaying the clinical manifestation of neurocognitive disorders.
Therefore, we have come up with a list of a few of the best puzzles for adults that can go a long way in enhancing visuospatial cognition and psychological functioning.
Best Puzzles For Adults
1.Buffalo Games – Darrell Bush – Canoe Lake – 1000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle
It is a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle manufactured using premium quality materials ensuring minimal puzzle dust. Each piece is designed using a precision cutting technique, thus allowing it to fit perfectly.
Plus, the Puzzle Box comes with a Full-Color Bonus poster that helps you solve the puzzle. So, you can refer to it while you work on a puzzle.
Thes best part is that Buffalo Games replaces your missing pieces with the same image, provided the jigsaw puzzle has been produced within the past 4 years. All you need to do is fill out a missing piece form on their website.
2. Ravensburger Tropical Waters 500 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle for Adults
Ravensburger is one of the best-selling puzzle brands in the world. To date, it has sold over 1 billion puzzles crafted in premium quality content and material.
This is a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle that will engage your mind in placing the right piece at the right place to generate the alluring Tropical underwater life scene.
So get immersed in building the sea life experience using unique shaped and precise interlocking pieces. Each piece of the puzzle is handcrafted using a thick and durable blue board combined with fine, linen-structured paper to develop a glare-free puzzle image.
There are in total 500 pieces in the puzzle that will map out a completed puzzle that would be 19.5 inches long and 14.25 inches broad. So preoccupy your brains in a creative and fun-filled experience with Ravensburger Tropical Waters Jigsaw Puzzle.
3. CubicFun 3D Puzzle for Adults Moveable Notre Dame de Paris Church Model Kits Large Challenge French Cathedral Brain Teaser Architecture Building Puzzles
The CubicFun Master Collection is is an architecture building puzzle comprising 293 pieces crafted from green paper EPS foam board. It’s a 3D puzzle model kit that was launched in 2018 with its first product, the Notre Dame de Paris.
ClubFun has attempted to present the masterpiece of the landmark of Paris in a 3D lifelike replica. This is an exciting and stress-relieving way of undertaking the tough challenge of assembling the pieces together.
Besides relieving stress, this model kit also helps you to feel accomplished once you assemble all the pieces correctly. Additionally, this 3D toy puzzle can help the elderly relieve fatigue and prevent dementia by training hand-brain coordination.
Plus, this kit is also great for those who experience high stress or anxiety or those who simply want to pass their time.
One of the features that make this model kit unique is the upgrade and creative moveable wall. This openable wall feature allows you to view the interior of the entire church as well as its awe-inspiring rose windows. The view is so real-life that it makes you feel as if you were traveling in Notre Dame de Paris itself.
After you complete the gothic France model, you can use the replica to decorate your home and office.
Also, there is no need for glue to assemble the pieces together. This is because each piece is crafted from a green paper foam board. Furthermore, each of the pieces gets interlocked perfectly with the other pieces, thus giving you a chance to build the majestic piece of history.
4. Bits and Pieces – 500 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle for Adults
For the past 30 years, the Bits and Pieces company is designing and manufacturing high-quality and innovative jigsaw puzzle creations. And one of its most sought-after Jigsaw puzzles is Frank’s Friendly Service.
This 500 piece puzzle is designed by the artist Kay Lamb Shannon. Each piece is die-cut using recycled PC cardboard. Thus, each of the pieces is easy to handle and no two pieces are alike.
Additionally, the jigsaw puzzle has a thick chipboard backing thus making puzzle pieces solid. Further, it prevents the prices from bending when you assemble the jigsaw. Besides this, this chipboard backing also ensures a lock-tight fit between each of the pieces.
The Bits and Pieces company creates beautiful designs that are both fun and educational for you, your family, and friends. So, be ready to engage your mind in assembling together this challenging yet exciting 9.41 x 9.29 inches jigsaw.
5. White Mountain Puzzles The Eighties – 1000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle
White Mountain celebrates the 80’s pop culture with its 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle. The puzzle showcases the 80s fashion, sports, celebrities, politicians, and some of the most recognizable characters of that era.
Each of the pieces is unique and interlocks with the other pieces perfectly. Furthermore, the jigsaw pieces are crafted using sturdy blue chipboard on recycled paper. In addition to this, the pieces are extra large in size for you to handle them quite easily.
Further, the Pittsburg native and freelance illustrator James Mallet designed the Eighties Jigsaw puzzle. Jim has completed 22 jigsaw puzzles for White Mountain Puzzles. Further, he has been recognized for his impressive sports art.
Remember that art jigsaw puzzles are full of fun and are an inexpensive way of engaging your mind. In addition to this, there is evidence that jigsaw puzzles develop hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and boost cognitive abilities. These include problem-solving, shape recognition, memory, and task completion.
So bring home long hours of fun and thrill. Challenge your family and friends in assembling this 24 x 30 inches scene of the 80s pop culture.
6. Springbok’s 500 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle Sweet Tooth, Multi
Get home a kaleidoscope of colorful candy bars from your favorite brands in the form of Springbok’s Sweet Tooth Jigsaw Puzzle. This is a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle for adults featuring a finished size of 23.5 inches by 18 inches.
Further, each piece is crafted using a thick-cut 75 point board which is 18% thicker than the industry average. Besides this, the puzzle is manufactured using organic, non-toxic, and soy-based inks. So, you do not have to worry about the chemicals causing any sort of harm to you as well as your kids.
In addition to this, each piece interlocks with every other piece precisely thus allowing you to lift your puzzle without falling apart.
Plus, a jigsaw puzzle helps you to sharpen your cognitive function, deepens your connections with your loved ones, and relieves stress. Neurologists are of the view that puzzles restore neuroplasticity and even slow down progressive memory loss.
Furthermore, puzzling for at least 20 minutes a day can relieve stress and reduce anxiety.
Also Read: 20 Best Bubble Baths of 2021 To Relieve Stress
So occupy your mind and engage in the complete entertainment of assembling your favorite brands’ colorful candy bars with your friends and family.
7. Buffalo Games – Cinque Terre – 1000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle Multi
Cinque Terre 1000 piece Jigsaw is another challenging and fun-filled puzzle from the house of Buffalo Games. The Cinque Terre is a string of five fishing villages located on the Italian Riviera in Liguria. Liguria is a coastal region of north-western Italy.
The bonus poster of the puzzle image showcases the medieval fortresses, vibrant colors, breathtaking views of harbors, and cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
So, refer to the poster and solve this scenic view while working on your puzzle. As mentioned earlier, each piece in the puzzle is crafted using a precision cutting technique. This makes each of the pieces fit soundly with the other set of pieces in the jigsaw.
Additionally, the pieces are designed using premium quality 100% recycled cardboard.
Also, Buffalo Games replaces the missing pieces for you. Provided the jigsaw puzzle has been produced within the past four years. Plus, it also offers Puzzle Presto along with the puzzle kit for you to seal your puzzle permanently.
Last but not the least, the finished footprint size of this awe-striking puzzle image is 26.75 x 19.75 inches.
8. Bgraamiens Puzzle-Blooming Color-1000 Pieces Color Challenge Blue Board Round Jigsaw Puzzles
Challenge your family and friends with Bgraamiens 1000 piece Blooming Color Puzzle. Blooming Color Jigsaw Puzzle by Bgraamiens is the right choice for all those looking for n advanced level of challenge in solving the puzzle.
Each petal in the puzzle image comprises at least two colors. Furthermore, each petal has a different color combination. Thus, these features make this advanced-level jigsaw puzzle unique.
Additionally, each piece in the puzzle is crafted from sturdy blue chipboard on recycled paper. And all the pieces when assembled together turn out into a beautiful round-shaped blooming color puzzle.
Therefore, unlike the traditional puzzles, the Bgraamiens Blooming Color puzzle pieces have a different cut as well as shape. The artist Kudryashka is the one who has illustrated the design of the puzzle.
This design is a Mandala form of art that is quite popular because of its beautiful and complicated color and pattern. However, the Blooming Color jigsaw puzzle is quite remarkable as it is separate from traditional Mandala art.
This is because the Blooming Color design is asymmetric. In other words, every petal in the design is similar but not exactly the same. Thus, this feature makes this jigsaw puzzle perfect for an advanced-level puzzle.
In addition to this, each piece in the puzzle is sturdy and bend-resistant. Plus, the backsides of the pieces are divided into separate areas and are marked with English letters. This makes your work easier. However, you can choose to ignore the letters in case you believe that you can solve the puzzle without any help.
Besides this, the puzzle box comes with a high-definition puzzle poster for you to take reference while assembling the pieces together.
So, you can either use this puzzle to decorate your home. Or, you can use it to boost cognitive skills, relax, problem-solving, enhancing thinking, and level of patience.
Finally, this beautiful Mandala art design has a finished size of 26.6 x 26.6 inches. No wonder why this would act as a perfect piece of decor for one of the central walls of your home.
9. Moruska Round Jigsaw Puzzle 500 Piece for Adults- Zodiac Horoscope Puzzle
Moruska presents a DIY Zodiac Horoscope Circular Jigsaw Puzzle that involves both challenge and fun. The artist Raphael has designed the image on the jigsaw puzzle that showcases a sense of mysterious and symmetrical beauty.
This Constellation Circular puzzle comprises 500 pieces crafted from premium quality and sturdy recycled cardboard.
Besides this, each piece in the puzzle is treated with a special surface film. This keeps the color of the puzzle fresh and intact even if it has been stored for a long period of time.
In addition to offering fun and beautiful aesthetics, the puzzle also contributes towards enhancing your brain capacity. Additionally, the game strengthens your eye-hand-imagination coordination.
Furthermore, solving the puzzle allows you to forget work stress and other unhappy things or events happening in your life.
Besides, the level of complexity lends you a sense of accomplishment once you finish solving the puzzle.
Plus, the puzzle box comes with a high-definition poster of the image on the jigsaw puzzle. You can refer to this poster when solving the puzzle.
So, it’s a perfect fit for your living room, dining room, bedroom, bathroom, or office.
10. HUADADA Jigsaw Puzzles for Adults
The HUADADA company manufactures Jigsaw Puzzles both for adults and kids. These puzzles lend color as well as challenges your puzzle-solving passion.
Further, the puzzle box comes with 1000 pieces each crafted from sturdy, 100% recycled, non-toxic, and durable paper. Also, each piece in the puzzle is crafted using precision cutting technology. This ensures that there exists a tight interlocking fit between any of the two pieces.
Plus, the puzzle box comes with a glare-free puzzle poster for you to take reference while assembling the pieces in the puzzle.
The great thing about the jigsaw puzzles is that it enhances hand-eye coordination, develops problem-solving skills, logical thinking, and patience capability.
Besides this, it’s a great and inexpensive way of connecting with family and friends and develop a close relationship with them.
Also, solving jigsaw puzzles is an excellent way to meditate and relieve stress.
Though, the 1000 piece puzzle from Huadada is quite challenging to solve. However, engaging yourself in such a challenge enhances your brain function. Moreover, it’s a great way to build deep relationships with your family. Additionally, it will also help you to improve your short-term memory.
Finally, the finished puzzle size is 50cm x 70cm. Thus, you can also use it as wall art once you finish assembling the puzzle.
11. Better Co. – Milky Way Puzzle 1000 Pieces
This is one of the toughest of all the puzzles mentioned in the list. So those of you all who want to put your cognitive skills to test, this is the perfect match for you.
Better Co. Milky Way Puzzle captures an intricate photo of our galaxy shot from the Nasa Hubble Telescope. Both kids and adults would find this puzzle as one of the hardest to solve. In fact, it’s a tough one even for a skilled puzzler.
The Milky Way Puzzle comprises 1000 pieces. Each piece has a unique precision cut shape and is crafted from durable recycled paper. These features allow each piece to fit into the next one perfectly.
Once you complete the puzzle, it turns into a vibrant Milky Way shot having a finishing size of approximately 27.5×19.7 Inches.
There’s no doubt that you can engage yourself in hours of entertainment and enjoyment appreciating the wonders of the universe. So, you can solve this puzzle either independently or with your family and friends.
Besides acting as a tool for entertainment, the Milky Way Jigsaw Puzzle can act as a great tool to increase hand-eye coordination, motor skills, and problem-solving kids. Plus, you can also use it as a team-building exercise to help encourage patience and cooperation among your teammates.
In case any of the pieces go missing, you can contact the Better Co and they will send you a replacement puzzle right away.
12. Ingooood Rainy Night Walk Wooden Puzzle 1000 Pieces
Ingooood manufactures Jigsaw puzzles using illustrations including landscapes, paintings, photographs, and imagination works of various artists.
These illustrations are vividly printed on InGooood series puzzle pieces. One such illustration is the Rainy Night Walk designed by artist Leonid Afremov. The artist is well-known for featuring comforting, warm landscapes.
The Rainy Night Walk is a 1000 piece Jigsaw Puzzle crafted using sturdy blue chipboard on recycled paper. Each piece in the puzzle has a unique shape and interlocks with other pieces perfectly.
So occupy your mind solving this vivid and color-balanced puzzle. Or just have fun, relax, and forget about stress assembling this puzzle with family and friends.
You can also use the final assembled puzzle as a piece of art to decorate your home.
13. Ravensburger Cozy Retreat 500 Piece Large Format Jigsaw Puzzle for Adults
The best-selling puzzle brand worldwide has another masterpiece to its 500 Piece Jigsaw Puzzles for Adults. And it is the Cozy Retreat.
It’s a large-format puzzle from Ravensburger featuring an oversized easy and cozy mountain cabin with a person reading a book by the fire.
Since it’s a large-format puzzle, the pieces are large in size and hence are perfect for both young and old.
Thus, Ravensburger Cozy Retreat is a perfect fit for you whether you are new to puzzling, an avid puzzler, or a puzzler requiring easier to hold pieces. So, it’s fun solving this fantasy puzzle with your friends and family.
Furthermore, each piece is a steel-cut piece offering a perfect interlocking fit with the other pieces. Plus, the pieces do not tear and leave dust so you get a positive, frustration-free experience while solving the puzzle.
Besides this, the jigsaw puzzle is crafted from exclusively developed, extra-thick cardboard. Moreover, it is combined with linen-structured paper to give you a glare-free puzzle image.
Thus, the Cozy Retreat Jigsaw puzzle gives you the best experience. In other words, it is fun to solve the puzzle. Plus, you get an opportunity to develop your logical thinking and problem-solving skills, memory, focus, and concentration, and confidence.
Additionally, solving this jigsaw puzzle is an inexpensive and effective way to relax and destress.
14. CubicFun LED 3D Puzzle Titanic Ship 3D Puzzles for Adults
This is CubicFun’s Titanic Ship LED 3D model that gives you a perfect opportunity to relax your mind, reduce stress, and get away from the day-to-day hustle.
What makes this 3D puzzle unique is the under-the-deck LED lighting operating with 2AA batteries.
Furthermore, each piece in the puzzle is crafted from high-quality paper and EPS foam board. Plus, each piece fits precisely with the other set of pieces. So, there is no need to use glue to assemble the 3D puzzle.305.
And once you finish assembling the puzzle, you get a sense of accomplishment. Besides this, you immerse yourself in recreating the majestic cruise with a scale of 1:305.
The final size of the puzzle is around 34.6 x 3.77 x 11.57 inches. So, it can be a perfect piece of decor for your home or you can simply enjoy assembling the puzzle with your friends and family.
It takes more than 4 hours to assemble the puzzle. So, challenge your brain with this complex CubicFun puzzle.
15. ROKR 3D Wooden Puzzle Mechanical Model Kits for Adults DIY Craft Kits Vitascope
This is the world’s first battery-free 3D wooden model of a vintage movie projector. It comprises 183 laser-cut wood parts hen assembled together culminate into a real film projector with the hand crank generator.
So experience the magic of rotating the crank, listening to the motor sound, and the working of the motor and the hand generator.
In other words, there is no need for batteries or any other power source to play the film.
The feature that makes it unique is that it is not just a model assembly projector. It’s a real projector that plays old stories the moment you turn off the lights and turn the handle. Plus, you can also adjust the focal lens to change the size and quality of the images.
Remember to keep the projector about 11 inches from the wall to project the images properly. Further, it takes 4 to 6 hours of continuous work to assemble the 183 pieces into a real projector.
So, this means it’s a great opportunity for you to interact with your family, friends, and your partner. Besides this, you also get a sense of accomplishment once you complete the puzzle.
Thus, this 3D model puzzle is great for both teenagers as well as adults. It helps teenagers to enhance their level of focus and concentration. While adults can enjoy and relax watching the 58 frame snippet of the legendary Charlie Chaplin’s “Modern Times” that comes with this 3D model.
So, enjoy the purity and the beauty of the good old days when every scene was black and white.
16. CubicFun 3D Puzzles for Adults and Kids with National Geographic Booklet Germany Neuschwanstein Castle Architecture Model Building Kits
Another 3D puzzle for adults from the house of CubicFun is the Neuschwanstein Castle Architecture model.
The Neuschwanstein Castle is a 19th-century historicist palace. It is located on a rugged hill above Hohenschwangau village near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany.
King Ludwig II of Bavaria commissioned this palace as a retreat and in honor of Richard Wagner. Richard Wagner was a German composer, theatre director, polemicist, and conductor who is known for his operas.
So, it’s a perfect opportunity of owning your own replica of the Neuschwanstein Castle with CubicFun’s Architecture Model Building Kit.
This 121 piece 3D model will give you a sense of accomplishment once you complete assembling the puzzle. Besides this, you can also use it as a piece of decor both at your home or the office desktop.
Not only this, you can even relax your mind and stay focused. And to make things simpler, the box comes with detailed illustrated instructions that helping you to assemble the puzzle step-by-step.
Note that the architecture model puzzle is high in complexity. Thus, you need to maintain your focus and relax your mind. Besides this, you can use the detailed illustrated instructions to assemble the puzzle step-by-step. Still, it may take more than 3 hours to assemble and solve the puzzle.
Further, each piece in the model is crafted from pre-cut paper and foam board. Thus, each piece interlocks with the other set of pieces precisely. This means there is no need for you to use glue.
So, immerse in the experience of creating your own replica of the Neuschwanstein Castle.
17. Amy&Benton 3D Wooden Puzzle Clock Model Kits for Adults
Amy & Benton manufacture DIY 3D wooden puzzles using engineered wood. And one of the exquisite 3D model building kits for adults is the Baroque Desk Clock.
This kit comprises 41 parts that are cut using exquisite laser technology. Besides these parts, the kit also includes a description and an assembling video for you to take reference when assembling the clock. You can power the clock using a 1AA battery.
And the best part about this 3D model kit is that there is no need for you to use glue or any other tools to assemble the clock.
So, once you assemble the parts together, it will turn into a silent, non-ticking clock. Thus, it offers a good sleeping, studying, and working environment for you and your kids.
You can use this clock as a desk clock or a wall clock. In case you want to use it as a wall clock, you will have to prepare a hook and fix it behind the clock.
Further, it’s a parent-child toy which means that it’s a good fit for both parents and children. Thus, it enhances your kid’s hands-on ability as well as communication between you and your child.
18. Rowood 3D Wooden Marble Run Puzzle Craft Toy
This is a 3D wooden puzzle perfect for both adults as well as kids to craft their own mechanical Marble Run model.
The 3D wooden Marble Run kit is one of the “Mechanical Model” series products from the house of Rowood. Rowood creates creative 3D wooden puzzles using designs that best embody the beauty of machines.
Thus, the 3D Wooden Puzzle Marble Run Kit comprises 254 pre-cut small wooden pieces. You just need to take out the pieces from the wooden stencil and assemble them into a Waterwheel Coaster all by yourself. And the entire process of assembling the mechanical model will take around 6 hours or so.
Furthermore, to make this process easy for you, the kit has pictures along with instructions in English. Besides this, everything inside the kit is clearly marked and labeled so that there is no compromise in your entertainment.
Also, there is no need for power to operate the Marble Run Waterwheeler Coaster since it works mechanically. In other words, the movement of the gears and levers as per the physical principles drives the steel balls down the water wheeler coaster.
All you need to do is rotate the crank. This will make the gears run. Then, the principles of gravity, magnetism, and kinetics will play their part to propel the ball to the finish.
Thus, it’s a perfect fit for both adults and kids to spend meaningful time with each other. Remember, there are 254 parts along with pre-cut Wooden sheets, illustrated instructions, 10 x metal balls, and miscellaneous hardware & accessories inside the kit.
1. Do Puzzles Reduce Stress?
As per Stefanie Veno, Outpatient Therapy Manager, UNC Hospital, puzzles are all excellent ways to hone our attention on one task. These puzzles can be of any sort – jigsaw, crossword, and Sudoku puzzles to name a few.
According to research, puzzles can put our minds into a meditation-like state. As a result, it has a positive effect on our mood. How? Well, a positive reinforcement cycle of finding solutions begins when you solve a puzzle.
In other words, your brain enjoys finding solutions and patterns. Let’s take the example of the jigsaw puzzle. While solving the puzzle, you select a piece, reason out possibilities where to place the piece, and finally put it at its proper place.
Thus, this entire process involves handling one piece at a time and making strategies to solve the puzzle. So, once you complete the puzzle, you get a sense of accomplishment.
Thus, small wins like these help in releasing dopamine in your brain that further results in a positive mood.
Dopamine is a naturally occurring chemical in the human body responsible for motivation, memory, attention, and even regulating body movements. This chemical creates feelings of pleasure and reward when released in large amounts. As a result, you get motivated to repeat a specific behavior.
Other studies suggest that solving puzzles help us to focus our attention on a single task. As a result, this helps to reduce stress and anxiety and relax your body.
2. Do Puzzles Help With Anxiety?
Anxiety becomes a problem when it occurs repeatedly with no real threat or it prolongs even when the stress has diminished. Furthermore, anxiety develops like a habit. In other words, thinking and behavior become natural and automatic in a variety of situations.
Now, there are three reasons that keep the problem of anxiety going: association, anticipation, and avoidance. However, there are several useful ways to gain control over the physical symptoms of anxiety. These include controlling breathing, relaxation, distraction, and safety behaviors.
Though, the most effective techniques are controlling breathing and relaxation. However, even these techniques do not work at times. In such situations, you keep on thinking about and get worried about the physical symptoms of anxiety. Therefore, it is useful to distract your mind and think about something else in such anxious situations.
As per a Primary Care Mental Health Team based in the South of Glasgow, mental games are quite useful in distracting your mind and hence reducing your anxiety. This is because such games require a lot of concentration, attention, and focus. As a result, it distracts you from stress and worry.
Thus, solving puzzles are one of the effective distraction techniques that can keep your worries and anxiety at bay.
Besides this, the Department of Veterans Affairs, USA, in collaboration with the Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC) published a manual. This manual was published to help in managing anxiety in veterans with memory impairment.
As per this manual, there are various tools that help in coping with anxiety. These include awareness tools, breathing tools, increasing activity tools, peaceful sleep tools, and calming thoughts tools.
The increasing activity tools include an intervention that involves increasing the pleasurable activities leading to increased positive moods and behaviors.
In other words, the increasing activity tools help to break the patterns of inactivity and boredom. Furthermore, such tools also improve your thoughts, mood, and overall quality of life. Additionally, these tools are more effective when carried out on regular basis.
So, the department has come up with a list of pleasant activities that can help you cope with anxiety. These include excursions, social activities, health and wellness, physical activity, spiritual acts, and recreational activities.
Under recreational activities, the department suggests that doing puzzles can help in dealing with anxiety effectively.
3. Do Puzzles Help Depression?
Depression occurs due to suffering a big loss, a stressful situation, or a change in your life. It brings along negative emotions that are quite distressing and make you want to withdraw back. These emotions may include sadness, anxiety, stress, and embarrassment.
As a result, these negative emotions further lead to certain behaviors like avoiding people and isolation. Thus, all such behaviors make your situation worse and you feel all the more negative. This is the first vicious cycle of depression.
Then, the behaviors like avoidance and isolation cause further negative events thereby making you feel all the more depressed. This leads you to the second vicious cycle of depression.
As per Michigan Medicine under the University of Michigan, one of the effective ways of dealing with depression is Behavioral Activation. Behavioral Activation is a specific CBT skill that helps you to understand the manner in which your behaviors influence your emotions.
Furthermore, Behavioral Activation is based on the ideology that depression often keeps you from doing things that bring enjoyment and meaning to your lives. Thus, this downward spiral causes you to feel even worse.
So, Behavioral Activation works on reversing this cycle using your actions and choices. The process involves understanding depression cycles, monitoring daily activities, identifying goals and values, and building an upward spiral through pleasure. Further, it also includes activity scheduling, problem-solving, reducing avoidance, making gradual systematic changes, and using assignments.
After understanding depression cycles, the next step is to understand which behaviors help us feel better and the ones that make us feel worse.
Then, you need to focus on the behaviors that improve your mood. And you can determine such behaviors through exploring your values, pleasures, activities that give you a sense of mastery, and goals.
Values give you direction and hence meaning in life. You can have your own set of values in areas like physical wellbeing, family relationships, community, spirituality, education, employment, etc.
Pleasure involves the activities that you enjoy. One of such activities that Medicine Michigan suggests is making jigsaw puzzles.
Then, mastery involves activities that develop your skills and hence help you to accomplish things. Thus, such an accomplishment gives you a sense of mastery over your environment.
So, all such activities increase your positive emotions and improve how you feel about yourself. Provided you enjoy such activities moderately and diversify well with other activities.
Finally, Goals give you targets to help you experience more pleasure, mastery, and value-driven behavior. In other words, goals are how you make your values, pleasure, and mastery activities real and practical.
And to do this, it is extremely important to schedule activities that enhance your mood give you pleasure, but are centered on values and mastery to feel more engaged and happy consistently.
4. Why People Turn To Puzzles For Stress Relief?
As per the National Library of Medicine, US, solving jigsaw puzzles is a cognitive activity that is low cost and an intrinsically motivating activity undertaken without operating digital devices. Moreover, you can solve the jigsaw puzzles either independently or with your family and friends.
Cognitive activities like cognitive training, video games, card, and board games, and educational programs have beneficial cognitive effects. For instance, engagement in such cognitively challenging activities reduces the risk for future cognitive impairment and dementia.
However, these activities involve relatively more financial costs, low intrinsic motivation, use of digital devices, and logistic problems in the case of group-based activities.
But, solving jigsaw puzzles is not only cognitively challenging. But, it is also a low-cost and intrinsically motivating leisure activity. Plus, you can solve jigsaw puzzles either alone or with others without operating any digital devices.
In terms of cognition, studies indicate that jigsaw puzzles promote visuospatial cognitive health. This involves perception, processing speed, flexibility, working memory, reasoning, and episodic memory.
Furthermore, it is also stated that lifelong engagement in solving jigsaw puzzles can be one of the cognitive activities that may delay the manifestation of neurocognitive disorders.
Dr. Claudia Luiz, a psychoanalyst, claims that solving jigsaw puzzles impacts your cognition in a positive way. This is because it allows you to have control over the positive outcome.
Further, you get a sense of accomplishment once you solve the puzzle. Such a feeling of accomplishment releases dopamine into your brain. As mentioned earlier, dopamine is a chemical that occurs naturally in the human brain.
It is a neurotransmitter that develops feelings of pleasure and reward when released in large amounts. Thus, dopamine releases in large quantities while solving a puzzle. As a result, your mind gets rid away of the feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness.
5. Why Are Puzzles So Calming?
Ravensburger, the market leader in the European Jigsaw Puzzle Market, claims that it is scientifically proven that solving jigsaw puzzles lift your spirit.
As per Dr. Stephan Lermer, a Communication Psychologist, you tend to achieve small goals while solving a puzzle.
Furthermore, you experience a sense of admiration and recognition when you finally solve the puzzle.
In addition to this, Dr. Lermer asserts that there are more psychological reasons why solving puzzles is a fascination for many people. He claims that we humans feel stressed when we are not able to succeed in performing a task. Also, we get bored if we do not have any task despite having the capability to do it.
Thus, Dr. Lermer says that solving puzzles helps you achieve a balance between competence and challenge. In other words, when you solve a puzzle, you have a task that you are capable of doing. Plus, you do not know the amount of time it will take you to solve the puzzle. Besides this, you are not even sure whether you will succeed in solving the puzzle or not.
This means when you try solving a puzzle, you create a goal or a target for yourself. So, your self-confidence gets boosted and you get inner satisfaction when you are able to achieve your goal.
As per psychotherapist Jenny Maenpaa, puzzles are a surprising antidote to slower reaction times, poor emotional self-regulation, and difficulty in performing high-level cognitive functions.
Still, other psychologists are of the view that solving puzzles provide you with a clear goal and a sense of purpose when you are extremely anxious or depressed. In other words, solving jigsaw puzzles provides you with a challenge that gives a vent to your goal-seeking behavior.
As you fit piece after piece correctly, your level of dopamine rises thus soothing your brain and hence you end up completing the puzzle.
Additionally, it offers you an opportunity to interact with your family and friends and thus brings about a sense of belongingness.
6. Why are Puzzles Good for Mental Health?
Jigsaw puzzles have many health benefits as it is a great way to reduce stress and improve memory. It is immensely important to adopt self-care techniques as well as find ways to be mindful when experiencing mental illness.
Mindfulness is the practice to bring conscious attention to an individual in the present moment. And, it is claimed that puzzles are a great way to practice Mindfulness.
Besides this, studies showcase that solving jigsaw puzzles can enhance your cognition and visual-spatial reasoning. This is because while solving the puzzle, you have to recognize different pieces and find out ways to fit them in the right place.
Thus, such a skill helps you in a variety of day-to-day tasks like driving, organizing, etc.
Furthermore, solving puzzles also enhance your short-term memory and problem-solving skills. This is because solving puzzles require a lot of concentration. Furthermore, it also gives you an opportunity to find out different ways to solve the problem at hand.
In the case of children, solving puzzles can go a long way in building vocabulary, enhancing language, spelling, reasoning, logic, and research skills.
Additionally, keeping your mind engaged in solving puzzles can delay the onset of the symptoms of certain depressive mental disorders. These include mental illnesses like Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
In addition to delaying such symptoms, solving puzzles enhances our mental ability to generate dopamine. Dopamine is a naturally occurring chemical in the human body that is responsible for enhancing concentration, attention, memory, motivation, and positive feelings.
7. What are the Benefits of Doing Puzzles?
Solving puzzles has both cognitive as well as social benefits. These include:
- Helping patients cope with mental illnesses like ADHD, anxiety, insomnia, and PTSD
- Reducing stress as our brain gets distracted in finding patterns
- Getting our mind into a state of flow by focusing on a task
- Promoting interaction between friends and family and feeling of belongingness
- Combating loneliness
- Separating from digital devices
- Enhancing the ability to focus
- Helping in releasing dopamine, a neurotransmitter that enhances mood, concentration, motivation, memory, and memory control
- Benefiting physically by reducing cortisol and blood pressure as a result of reduced stress
8. Do Puzzles Help With Dementia?
As per NCBI, engaging in cognitively stimulating leisure activities such as solving crossword puzzles can delay the onset of memory decline in Dementia.
Further, medical research reveals that there exists a lesser chance of a decline in the thinking skills of people keeping their minds active. Thus, puzzles and other brain training techniques may help slow memory loss and other mental challenges.
Certain animal studies showcase that an active brain may:
- Reduce brain cell damage occurring in case of Alzheimer’s
- Promote the development of new nerve cells
- Stimulate nerve cells to pass on messages
In other words, a patient with Dementia may be able to develop new brain cells. Plus, such a patient may also be able to build a reserve of brain cells and links between them.
Also, solving puzzles is a therapeutic technique for patients suffering from Dementia and other mental disorders like Alzheimer’s. This is because puzzles provide a sense of control, relieve symptoms, and hence provide comfort to the patient.
Additionally, puzzles enhance brain functioning, especially with respect to short-term memory. Plus, it also improves mental speed and thought processes. In fact, certain puzzles help to reawaken the memories in patients.
Then, besides enhancing cognitive functioning, puzzles also stimulate the brain of patients with Dementia. Furthermore, solving puzzles with family and friends is an opportunity for the patient to connect with loved ones, thus giving him a sense of belongingness.
Also Read: Best Paint By Numbers Kit for Stress Relief
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