In 2015, Cheryl’s Birthday, a mathematics brain teaser that was one of the questions in the Singapore and Asian Schools Math Olympiad took over the internet for being surprisingly hard. This puzzle gave a challenge not only to the participants of the Olympiad, but also to everyone who saw it in the internet. Puzzles, overall, can do wonders for the brain and benefit us in a lot of ways, even if each individual has a different approach to solve a problem.
Jigsaw puzzles, particularly, can help improve our memory. It trains our short-term memory because we try to recall what the complete image would look like if the puzzle is completed. We also use our memory to recollect the shapes and colors that would go together and form even just a part of the image. Improved memory also comes as a result of the growth of new nerve cells and the reestablished connections between our brain cells.
2. Reduces the risk of degenerative disease
By regularly doing puzzles, we keep our brains active which means it’s healthier and will not likely be affected by disease. Again, this is because puzzles strengthen the connection of our brain cells. Doing puzzles has also been seen to be beneficial as we age. It has even been found that doing puzzles can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia, where both can come as we get older and older.
3. Enrich our problem-solving skills.
Doing puzzles help develop our ability to think critically and creatively to come up with solutions to the problem. There are also many ways to solve a puzzle and usually, trial and error is unavoidable and should be used. This can teach us to change perspectives when we make mistakes and also form more theories and strategies to approach the given problem.
4. Improves focus
Solving a puzzle, whether it be crossword, jigsaw, or even a Rubik’s cube, takes a lot of concentration. When we constantly play practice and play puzzles, our minds can get used to focusing on the task at hand. Our brain also boosts production in dopamine while we work on puzzles. This results to an increase in our ability to concentrate on understanding the puzzles.
5. Success and relaxation
Nothing beats the feeling of finally completing a jigsaw puzzle or a Sudoku game. Specially in the hardest difficulty. Even before finishing, puzzles can help clear your mind and relax. While you’re working on puzzles, most of the time you’ll be very immersed in it that can ignore your worries and all the stress. Puzzles promote relaxation because unlike a lot of games these days which are all fast-paced, a puzzle can always wait.