Puzzles and Games for Mental Health
Health/Beauty Mental Health/Wellness

Puzzles and Games for Mental Health

Taking care of a family is rewarding, but it’s also a huge source of stress. Often underappreciated, typically taken for granted, spouses who choose to stay at home and take care of their family often feel burnt out, and mentally drained. Self-care is the key to counteracting feelings of exhaustion and fatigue, and one of the best ways to do so is playing games and solving puzzles.

Jigsaw Puzzles

Yes, it’s not a soothing day at the spa, but solving puzzles is proven to counteract stress and train your brain to perform at its best. The act of putting your brain to work on a good puzzle keeps it working properly, and slows down mental decline as you age. So pull out your favorite jigsaw puzzle, make yourself a cup of green tea, and relax.

Make it an indulgence; instead of pulling out a flimsy cardboard based jigsaw puzzle, invest in a beautiful set that will inspire you to actually sit down and do it. If you don’t have the time to go to the mall, here’s where you can buy a jigsaw puzzle online.

Pick a puzzle that inspires you. Lovely puzzles are not only fun to figure out, they last for years when displayed as art on your walls. So not only are you making yourself feel better, you’re also being creative, completing puzzles perfect for display on your walls.

Puzzles And Games- How They Help

They’ve been around for centuries, and have endured due to their timeless simplicity. They are always challenging, and the very act of solving a puzzle is a huge boost emotionally, plus it exercises your brain.

But there’s a catch- Playing games and solving puzzles runs counter to the work ethic drummed into us as children. Aren’t puzzles supposed to be a waste of time? Turns out they are health supportive and learning tools no matter what your age. So how do they do this?

  • Jigsaw puzzles exercise both sides of your brain simultaneously, creating connections that increase cognitive functioning. These connections actually create new brain cells and prevent older ones from dying off. As we age, brain functioning declines, unless we use it, of course.
  • Solving puzzles shifts your brain from it’s usual “Alpha” state, to a “Beta” state. When your brain is in alpha mode, it’s wakeful, on the alert. When it’s in beta state, it’s dreaming, more creative.
  • Working with jigsaw puzzles have been proven to stave off certain mental illnesses, including memory loss and dementia. It does this by increasing levels of dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter that enhances mood and memory.
  • Studies suggest that brain plaques, prevalent in patients with Alzheimer’s Disease, are kept at bay in people who’ve spent their time playing puzzles, reading, and studying new things. Exercise is not only important for your body, but for your brain.

How to Choose the Right Puzzle?

Picking the right puzzle is all about preference. The benefits of doing any puzzle, no matter the cost, have been proven. But often we want more than just a simple way to pass the time. We also want something to take pride in, or that we can give as a gift. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the perfect jigsaw puzzle.

  • The subject matter is important because it’s what keeps us involved. Choose a picture of something you are interested in.
  • Puzzles come in varying degrees of difficulty, so choose one that is challenging, but not one that will make you give up in frustration. Here’s a hint- larger and fewer pieces are simpler to solve.
  • Quality is key. A simple paper puzzle is cheap and better than nothing. A well-made wooden puzzle is a thing of beauty and something you can leave to your children, or give as a gift.

Keep your brain busy with jigsaw puzzles, and enjoy hours of pleasure while knowing you’re doing something positive for your mental health.

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