Jigsaw Puzzles and Our Minds…

Working on a jigsaw puzzle can be extremely gratifying. The fact that there is a conclusion to a puzzle, unlike some of the puzzles that we confront in our daily lives, is part of the gratification. Since solving a jigsaw demands so much intensity, it can actually shut off the neurological pathways that can lead to anxiety. A demand for puzzles has grown especially during this pandemic. They are available in everything from wood to cardboard to acrylic. Whenever there is a severe crisis, the last one was the Great Depression, there seems to be an upswing in demand. Because they are tactile, they provide a different sensation then just visual entertainment. There appears to be a hit of dopamine every time a piece fits into place. Puzzles encourage participation from either family members or friends which make them more collaborative as opposed to competitive and therefore relaxing. Putting together a puzzle can develop skill sets such as visual-spatial reasoning, short-term memory, pattern matching and patience. There are even companies such as “Completing the Puzzle” that can rent you a puzzle if you do not have space to store puzzles. Jigsaw sets can begin at 100 pieces and go up to as many as 32,000. They are available in every category which makes it easy to put together a visual you truly enjoy. Lastly, they can be extremely meditative if you just want to sit quiet and be alone.