In this chaotic time when many people are cooped up in their homes, it’s hard to find interesting ways to pass the time. Puzzles can help fight boredom at a time when many people are struggling to find something to do. Once you’ve started a puzzle, you might find that your late-night Netflix binge has turned into hours of the usual methodical and relaxing.
The advantages of the puzzle
The benefits of doing puzzles are many, which may be surprising for such a quiet activity. Sitting down with an engaging puzzle is beneficial not only for fighting boredom, but also for your mental health.
Many people turn to puzzles to take a break from the stresses of everyday life, which can include work, schoolwork, socializing, and social media. Puzzles provide an enjoyable alternative to time spent with unproductive activities.
For people with anxiety, puzzles can create an overall calming feeling to help deal with worrying thoughts. Whether as a form of distraction or as a way to cool off from some of the passionate intrusive thoughts that plague many people, doing a puzzle creates a calming effect on those who choose the activity.
Although some turn to confusing as a break from socialization, it can just as well be used to increase socialization between family members. When a teen usually on the phone takes the time to do a puzzle with siblings, parents, or grandparents, the conversations and connections that can result create bonds that last longer than they last. takes to put together a puzzle.
The bonds with family members that are created over a short period of time can serve as a gateway to talking about bigger issues, such as mental issues that some may not have felt comfortable talking about before.
How to start
Getting started is not always easy. For some, starting a new hobby can be daunting. Puzzles, however, are not like other hobbies. You cannot fail a puzzle, and no puzzle is impossible. If you keep these two things in mind, a beginner can easily avoid frustration and be able to reap the aforementioned benefits.
The first step in anyone’s journey with puzzles is to find an image that speaks to you. For example, if you’re an art fan, try this Norman Rockwell puzzle. For those who feel moved by the panoramic views, this landscape of Santorini is a beautiful place to start your new hobby. No matter what you choose to put together, let the beauty of the finished image inspire you to get through any frustrating moments.
One consideration when selecting a puzzle is the number of pieces. If the first puzzle you choose contains 1500 pieces, which can take a beginner months, you may not find yourself repeating the activity.
If, however, you choose a puzzle with enough pieces to build confidence, and you take the time to learn what makes the puzzle fun for you, then you will find your experience much smoother and significantly less frustrating. Start with 100 or 250 coins, then increase to 500 coins or more from there. In no time, you’ll be completing 1000 piece puzzles in days.
The second step is to find what appeals to you the most in the puzzles. Is the sorting calm and methodical? Or could it be the accomplishment of overcoming a challenge? Whatever the motivation behind starting it, find your motivation to finish it. It’s true, puzzles can get a little boring, but putting on your favorite playlist or listening to that podcast you wanted to browse can make the time pass.
Working on a puzzle opens the door to many multitasking activities. You can even paint or draw while you do your puzzle, switching between activities as you hit a wall in one or the other. Sometimes it’s best to just sit back and think, not worrying about how many coins you have left, just focusing on what you’ve done and are still doing. Assembling a puzzle is more than just the puzzle pieces and can be a time to expand your mind and gain a new perspective.
Tips to avoid frustration
With all its benefits for your mental health, doing a puzzle won’t help you if all you’re feeling is frustration. To avoid this, and really get the most out of your experience, here are some tips for not feeling endlessly frustrated with your new hobby.
At first, sort out the interior pieces by looking through the box for the edge pieces. If you notice an area of the puzzle that has bright yellow flowers, search for as many pieces as you can with those bright yellow flowers to make that section a breeze when you decide to go there. Remember that not only are all the pieces connected, but the sections of the puzzle are too.
This brings us to the next tip: look for transitional pieces. As mentioned earlier, puzzles increase your perceptual abilities. Use this tip to help you develop this skill. Find the pieces that connect the flowers to the sidewalk and the sidewalk to the building. Just like assembling the edge of the puzzle first, find the edges in the sections of the puzzle to make it easier to fill in the gaps.
Sometimes it can be helpful to examine the cover, memorize a part of the puzzle, and find all the pieces related to that part. Assembling large sections not only helps you feel a sense of accomplishment as you go, but also makes the puzzle more doable.
If after following these previous tips, you find yourself unable to reap the calming benefits of a puzzle, take a moment to gain a new perspective. This may mean changing positions, looking at the puzzle sideways or upside down, or even bringing in someone to help you. Maybe some parts were overlooked that a newcomer would instantly recognize.
Another way to gain a new perspective is to simply walk away. Take a day off from your puzzle and come back to it with a fresh mind. Built-up frustrations can be released and forgotten simply by taking a break. If you find puzzles extremely frustrating, this activity may not be for your interests. Overall, putting together a puzzle should be fun and motivating, and constant frustration won’t help clear your mind.
Make meditative puzzles
What makes assembling a puzzle meditative is your state of mind when working on the puzzle. Take a few deep breaths and start sorting and placing the pieces, focusing not on the big picture, but on each piece and section you want to find a place for.
After a few minutes, you may notice your thoughts begin to wander from the bits at hand to other bits of life. Embrace these new thoughts and continue the methodical sorting and placement of pieces, while listening to what your mind has to say.
Give yourself that time to think without the stress of having to act immediately. This puzzle is your time to relax, and any stressful or negative thoughts can be likened to a receding wave, only coming back with positive thoughts.
Go deeper into the meditative puzzle
Take a moment to notice how the pieces align, or how they don’t, and how this can apply to other areas of your life. A room that really seems to fit refuses to come in, but at least you tried to make it work. Maybe a piece that you never thought would fit in a certain position miraculously fits where you tried it on, not expecting a positive result, but still receiving a.
How in life do we match reality to our expectations and vice versa? How is each piece so different, yet all ready to fit into the same picture?
As you feel your thoughts come and go, revel in the small victories: pushing the negative aside, putting a piece back in its place, accepting the positive affirmations that come your way without trying.
The connections you make between the puzzle and other aspects of your daily life are not trivial. You may notice that after a few days of reflection, you have become more insightful. You may notice more detail on a panoramic view or even on a single object. Even when you take a break from the puzzles, these new perceptual skills stay with you and, like riding a bike, they will help you in future puzzling attempts.
Why puzzles are important
The puzzle is important, whatever your motivation to start. It expands your perceptual senses and allows you to notice subtle details, not only in puzzles, but also in life.
Activity provides a break from our daily stressors without the guilt of other unproductive breaks, like watching TV or mindlessly browsing social media. You can rejoice that your task at hand, the puzzle you have chosen, is benefiting your mental health.
Like being on a roll, working on a puzzle can be a motivator for other beneficial cognitive activities, such as reading and writing. Thoughts you have while meditating on a puzzle can be written down and pondered at a future date.
Once you’ve got your brain working with a few simple pieces, it’s harder to resist other productive temptations. During all the hustle and bustle, a puzzle may be just what we all need for a clear and positive mind.