* Jigsaw puzzles exercise the left and right sides of your brain at once.
Your left brain is logical and works in a linear fashion, while your right brain is creative and intuitive. When you’re doing a jigsaw puzzle, both sides are engaged, according to Sanesco Health, an industry leader in neurotransmitter testing. Think of it as a mental workout that improves your problem-solving skills and attention span.
* Jigsaw puzzles improve your short-term memory. Can’t remember what you had for lunch yesterday? Jigsaw puzzles can help with that. Doing a puzzle reinforces connections between brain cells, improves mental speed and is an especially effective way to improve short-term memory.
* Jigsaw puzzles improve your visual-spatial reasoning.
When you do a jigsaw puzzle, you need to look at individual pieces and figure out where they’ll fit into the big picture. If you do it regularly, you’ll improve visual-spatial reasoning, which helps with driving a car, packing, using a map, learning and following dance moves, and a whole host of other things.
* Jigsaw puzzles are a great meditation tool and stress reliever. Focusing on one image for a long period of time, without extraneous thoughts entering your mind, is in itself meditation.
By doing a jigsaw puzzle, you’re getting the same benefits as if you meditated. The stress of everyday life evaporates and is replaced by a sense of peace and tranquility that lowers your blood pressure and heart rate.
* Puzzling is perfect for people who want a quiet, solo break from the bustle and unrelenting stimulus of today’s digital lifestyle.
Studies show that people who do jigsaw and crossword puzzles have longer life spans with less chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss or dementia. Puzzling stimulates the brain and actually wards off the plaque that is the marker of Alzheimer’s, according to a recent study published in the Archives of Neurology. The study compared brain scans of 75-year-olds to 25-year-olds.
The elderly people who did puzzles regularly had brain scans comparable to the 25-year-olds.