Jigsaw puzzles have been a calming presence during the coronavirus outbreak. But the question is, are jigsaws good for anxiety?
Anxiety can consume you. That horrible, tense feeling; a racing mind; constant worry; breathing issues. Jigsaw puzzles may be the serenity in the chaos that you desperately need to assist your condition.
If you’re looking for a way to ease anxiety, try turning to hobbies that quiet the mind. Doing jigsaw puzzles is one of my favorite ways to de-stress and provides what I like to call “jigsaw puzzle therapy.”
Are Jigsaws Good for Anxiety?
Do jigsaw puzzles help with anxiety and stress? I know from personal experience that the answer is a resounding yes! Jigsaw puzzles have helped me immensely by reducing my stress and anxiety levels on a daily basis.
The novel coronavirus has left the world in a state of mourning and stress. With countries coming to a screeching halt and an increasing death toll, it’s no surprise that my anxiety has spiked. This virus is all over the news and social media platforms–it feels inescapable.
While many people have been buying groceries in mass quantities, I’ve been busy stockpiling jigsaw puzzle games; enough to last a few months while quarantined. Jigsaw puzzles have become such an integral part of my mental health that stocking up is really the only logical solution. They help to keep me calm during this global pandemic.
Why Are Jigsaws Good for Anxiety?
With so many people being glued to screens, it’s important to take some time for yourself and do something that disconnects you from the world. Something as simple as a paper or cardboard puzzle can be therapeutic and good for your brain health because it allows you to focus on one task without any distractions.
Jigsaw puzzles have been shown to be an effective way of managing stress and anxiety. They can help take your mind off of real-life worries and focus on the task at hand, which can be very relaxing.
Jigsaw puzzles provide me with a much-needed mental break from my everyday stressors. Not only that but the benefits of puzzle-solving can be felt for hours afterwards. In fact, scientific research has shown that when we do jigsaw puzzles, our brain’s dopamine levels increase – dopamine is the body’s natural feel-good chemical, often referred to as the “happy hormone.”
By increasing dopamine levels, we can chill out, feel happier, and enjoy ourselves more.
How Jigsaw Puzzles Help Me Deal With Anxiety
Provides a continued sense of achievement
The sense of achievement I feel when completing a jigsaw is incomparable to anything else, though there are also other moments during the process which boost my morale. For instance, finding the final piece to an area I’ve been stuck on for some time or figuring out how to complete a particularly tricky section – like skies, water and snowscapes where all the colors blend together.
Having some ME time
I mostly work on jigsaw puzzles by myself so that I can have some quiet time to think. I have a dedicated space in my house where I can close the door and just focus on the puzzle. I find that this time away from life’s noise is necessary for me to relax and de-stress.
Puzzling is a tactile hobby
The act of touch has a calming effect on me, even from the first moment I place my hand inside the puzzle box. To someone who’s never done jigsaw puzzles, this may sound silly. However, simply feeling the individual pieces can be very satisfying.
Jigsaw puzzles from different brands have distinct feels to them, such as a slightly textured matte finish or smooth and glossy. Additionally, some are smooth on one side while being slightly rough on the other side. However, all jigsaw puzzles have a satisfying feel between my fingers which does help me to start calming down as soon as I begin holding the pieces. It is possible that it is also the hand-mind association that jigsaw puzzles make me feel better overall.
Sorting and organizing gives a sense of control
Separating the edge pieces of a puzzle and organizing the rest helps me to feel like I have some control back in my life. My thoughts may have been chaotic, which only increased my stress and anxiety, but sorting through the puzzle pieces helped to give me a sense of peace.
This feeling of control allows me to quell my stressful, anxious and racing thoughts. I can’t necessarily control everything in my life, but being able to manipulate the pieces of a puzzle helps me feel calmer and more in control of my worry. As a result, puzzles are an effective way for me to reduce anxiety and still my thoughts.
Jigsaw puzzles shift the mind’s focus.
When I get anxious, my mind gets chatter with a bunch of worrisome thoughts which makes it hard to focus. My breathing gets heavier, and I start sweating and feeling hot all over. It’s like having a hot flush. Often, I pace around the room or chew my nails when this happens.
I know I need to start calming myself down when I get worked up because of the bodily signs I experience. Luckily, since I work from home, this is as easy dropping everything and going to do a jigsaw puzzle. If you have an office job, See if it’s possible to take along a portable jigsaw puzzle holder with you so you can work on one during your break times.
Solving puzzles helps me to take my mind off of other things and focus on a single task. It is a quick way to calm my thoughts and mental state.
When I do jigsaw puzzles, I feel like I’m in another world where everything is calm and happy. It’s a great way to take my mind off things that are bothering me and contributing to my anxiety. The artwork on the puzzle helps too. A fun or peaceful looking design can put my mind in a better place. My mind is soon taken away from all the worrying thoughts and provides wonderful therapy like no other.
Focusing on the artwork can be meditative and relaxing
I often take the time to examine the artwork of a jigsaw puzzle before beginning. I’ll study the design on the box or poster, getting familiar with the scene so that I have an inkling of where each piece goes.
I often find myself going into a sort of trance state when I spend time studying artwork, much like meditation. In fact, research has shown that daily meditation can lower blood pressure and calm the body. Because I know Meditation is an effective relaxation method, I can trust that spending time doing jigsaw puzzles is also physically calming my mind and body.
Enjoying some quality time together
On the weekends, my husband and I often spend some quality time together working on a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle. It’s a fun way to bond with each other and helps me relax and feel happier. We usually grab for the same pieces or argue over who gets to fit the last piece, but we always laugh about it in the end.
Jigsaw puzzle retail therapy
Many people overlook how much fun it can be to buy and collect puzzles, especially once you get hooked on them. We all know about the brief relief that retail therapy can provide and the rush that comes from buying – sometimes called comfort buying – which can help ease anxiety, stress and depression.
Well, let me tell you, buying jigsaw puzzles can get quite addictive. I enjoy the whole process from searching for puzzles-both old and new ones-to collecting them. I set myself up with personal challenges, like seeing how fast I can complete a puzzle or if I can find all of the pieces to a limited edition Puzzle without looking at the image on the box first.
Jigsaw Puzzle Stress Relief
So, Are jigsaw puzzles good for anxiety? I find jigsaw puzzles to be an essential part of my daily routine in reducing anxiety and promoting calmness. I’ve discovered how I use these puzzles to take my mind off stressful things and create a sense of peace each day.
Jigsaw puzzles provide a welcome distraction from my current anxieties by refocusing my attention on a single, calming task. Right now, during this anxious time of living with the Coronavirus, jigsaw puzzles can really help to take your mind into a more pleasant state and transport you somewhere nicer.
If you haven’t already given jigsaw puzzles a try, I recommend starting with a 500-piece puzzle. Thanks to the people who are in the puzzle business for providing problem-solving games that can relieve stress and help people with anxiety issues.