10 Surprising Benefits of Doing Puzzles as Adults

Did you know there are tons of benefits to doing puzzles as an adult? When we grow up, many of us tend to leave slower-paced activities behind for the hustle and bustle of adulthood, but puzzles are a fun and simple pastime that anyone can get into.

Whether you're tackling a 1,000-piece behemoth puzzle of the United States or putting together a 100-piece photo puzzle of dogs with your friends, there are a number of surprising benefits to puzzling it out—and that goes for people from 1 to 100.

From helping to raise your IQ to increased productivity, here are 10 benefits of doing puzzles as an adult.

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Improves Memory

If you tend to have difficulty remembering things, puzzles might just help solve that problem. Working on puzzles can improve your short-term memory and mental faculties by helping you remember shapes, details, and colors. That's what you do every time you pick up a piece and figure out where to put it! You may not realize it, but sitting down with a jigsaw puzzle is akin to training your brain with cognitive exercises, and the more exercises you do, the stronger your brain becomes.

Better Productivity

Having trouble concentrating and getting things done? Work out some puzzles! Whether you're sitting down with a jigsaw or doing word searches, puzzles help sharpen your attention to detail as well as your concentration. Start doing puzzles, and you'll start seeing results.

Lower Stress Levels

There's a reason why puzzles are recommended for times when you're stressed out. While putting them together, your brain tends to move from "beta" waves, or a more awake mode, to "alpha" waves, similar to the state you're in when dreaming. Moving from beta to alpha nets you benefits like lower blood pressure, lowered heart rate, and increased self-confidence as well as a better mood.

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Better Mood

Feel like you're in a funk? You might want to solve a few puzzles, because doing so can help to increase your brain's production of dopamine, a chemical that makes you feel good. Every time you find where a piece goes or solve a complete puzzle you're rewarded with a flood of dopamine, which can help to improve your mood. In addition, it can bolster your memory, ability to learn, and concentration.

Lengthened Lifespan

This is a big one! Scientific research has indicated that people who spend time completing puzzles end up with decreased risk for Alzheimer's disease, dementia, and memory loss. In turn, working on jigsaws, filling out crossword puzzles, and even Sudoku problems can help stave off the brain plaque that builds up when you develop memory loss and, in turn, help you live longer.

Claim Time for Yourself

Need to take some time out for self-care? Doing puzzles makes for a quick, quiet, and easy activity where you can spend time alone without needing to look at a screen or interact with others. It's just you, your puzzle, and solitude that can help you relax and recharge.

Improved IQ

Your IQ test results may not matter all that much in the grand scheme of things, but if you could raise it just by doing some puzzles, wouldn't you? Working on puzzles helps improve your memory and reasoning skills, which can in turn help improve your IQ by several points. All by placing a few puzzle pieces here and there. Easy-peasy!

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Better Vocabulary

You might already be an avid reader or a skilled wordsmith, but did you know that solving puzzles can help improve your overall spelling and vocabulary skills? You can learn new words by spending time working on a variety of puzzle games, like word searches or crossword puzzles. Getting those gears turning in your brain is always a good idea.

Exercises Left and Right Brain

The two sides of your brain have different functions. Your left brain focuses more on logic, while the right side is more creative. Putting together jigsaw puzzles helps to train both sides of the brain, no matter which one is your dominant side, improving overall cognitive skills.

Enhances Visual-Spatial Reasoning

If you ever find yourself memorizing images and patterns or learning complicated dance choreography, you rely on visual-spatial reasoning. Working on puzzles helps to strengthen this all-important mental muscle.