Let’s face it, we live in a stress-inducing world. But there are ways to tame the monster. I’ve found that working on a puzzle is something that really works well. That’s because a challenging puzzle gets your mind going in a completely different direction.
Think about it: It’s pretty difficult to worry about business or personal problems when you’re trying to solve a puzzle that requires your full concentration.
HOW PUZZLES WORK
Life’s day to day challenges -- there’s no doubt they can be stressful. Solving puzzles can actually help you deal with them. One reason is that it teaches you to try this and try that; trial and error in its purest form.
Think about a recent problem you faced. You try one way to solve it and it doesn’t work. You don’t want to give up, so you try something different. After a few more attempts, inevitably you arrive at the solution.
Puzzles encourage get you to try different solutions to solve given problem. That’s a technique that works in business or on a personal level.
PUZZLES ARE GOOD FOR THE BRAIN
Studies have shown that puzzles have a positive effect on the brain by changing its function from a beta mode to an alpha mode -- the mode when we’re dreaming. This mode allows for deeper, more creative thinking which is usually necessary to solve a difficult challenge.
PUZZLES ARE DOPE!
The other benefit of puzzles is that during a puzzle game, dopamine is produced by the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that creates positive feelings in us, especially when we solve the puzzle, or even just get one step right.
KIDS AND PUZZLES GO TOGETHER
Puzzles are a great way to develop hand/eye coordination and refine motor skills in children of all ages. Handling small pieces or manipulating tiny parts of a puzzle can be difficult for little hands.
WANT TO BE SMARTER?
How’s this: a good puzzle can actually make you more intelligent! Puzzle games improve memory, increase your vocabulary, and strengthen your spelling. In fact, Dr Susanne Jäggi at the Centre for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory in Irvine California, discovered that playing puzzle games 25 minutes every day will raise your IQ by up to 4 points.
Healthwise, it’s been shown that problem-solving puzzles help those afflicted with Alzheimers by stimulating the growth of new brain cells. Activities like this can also offset the development of the disease.
TYPES OF PUZZLES
Puzzles can come in a variety of forms: mechanical, mathematical, visual, analytical to name a few. Take Tantrix or Mathable, two visual and mathematical puzzles which I touched upon in previous articles.
On the mechanical puzzle side, Kapowee, Metal Meltdown, and Metal Madness will sharpen your dexterity and engage your mind. We have a terrific selection of all kinds of puzzles and puzzle games for all ages, including wooden puzzles which are popular with kids.