Over the past couple of years I have solved a lot of jigsaw puzzles and it may surprise you to learn that there can actually be a lot of health benefits when doing so. I have always enjoyed doing a variety of different types of puzzles and especially ones that can be somewhat challenging but nowadays it’s best that I find activities that can benefit my mental health and not overwhelm it which is why I turned to jigsaw puzzles.
Trust me though when I tell you that jigsaw puzzles can still be quite challenging and sometimes overwhelming, I mean have you actually spent time just choosing a puzzle itself these days? There are 1000’s upon 1000’s to choose from for starters and then to top it all off, having to decide how many pieces you want to try or if you would prefer a puzzle of a beautiful landscape, an adorable collage of puppies or maybe it’s a scrumptious basket filled with donuts that tickles your fancy.
Well once those hurdles are behind us then the fun part begins by unwrapping the puzzle box, opening its packaging and spreading the 1500 jumbled pieces of adorable puppies across your dining room table which can really get your adrenaline pumping. That’s when the first of many benefits fall into place.
Jigsaw puzzles help me develop and improve upon many important skills. They help with my creativity, my short-term memory, my organizational skills, my problem solving skills and my critical thinking skills which of course are all beneficial to our mental health. Anytime we are exercising our brains we are also strengthening our ability to focus outward which helps to distract me from those unrelenting negative thought patterns.
Not too many activities these days can do all that and more for me so any chance I get I try to do a jigsaw puzzle, many of which I have proudly displayed upon my walls (and my favourite is of course the one my kids gave me for Mother’s Day which was a picture of them!). But sometimes after spending countless hours enjoying the peaceful benefits of creating these puzzles (and oftentimes have even sparked some togetherness among certain family members) I’ve reached the end of a puzzle only to be left with a missing piece.
That’s when I find myself “puzzled” by the parallels between that missing piece and the rest of my life in general. It’s as though that missing piece is a metaphor for what seems to always be standing in my way, preventing me from ever feeling complete again and that all my tiresome efforts are for nothing. Sometimes however, the missing pieces do eventually turn up whether it had been stuck under a chair leg or even once I found a piece in the washing machine and let me tell you that there is nothing more gratifying than when those “missing” pieces just seem to all fall right into place.